Sunday, 7 July 2013

Day three in the Andes: Lake Junin.

This day was not as successful as the day before as far as Wader Quest was concerned, we didn't add any new species and missed two rather important ones, Andean Avocet and Puna Plover.

Andean Negrito (Lessonia oreas).
Whether it was due to the altitude, or the poor night's sleep I had had, or possbly the lack of a decent breakfast, for some reason I seemed to have got out of bed on the wrong side that morning. I know that I tend to be a bit grumpy when I'm anxious about seeing birds, always was a bit like that on twitches until the bird was seen, but that morning even I was getting fed up with myself! To me there was nothing more important than seeing these waders, nothing else mattered, as the morning drew on with no siting I became worse and worse.

Lake Junin, where are those damn waders?
I was so intent on seeing these species that worse was to come. I wandered away from the others to scan the water when Elis called me. I thought she had said Giant Grebe. There is no such thing as far as I know, so I assumed she meant Great Grebe, which we had seen already. Dulled by the thin air it took me some time to put 2 and 2 together and realise she had in fact said Junin Grebe. I wandered slowly back up the incline I had descended, itself an error of judgement, I was thinking to myself that at least the bird wasn't going to fly away, being flightless and all that. When I eventually reached the others I found that I had indeed missed the bird,. It had dived and gone back into the reeds, never to be seen again (not by us anyway!).

Silvery Grebe (Podiceps occipitalis) I did see

White-tufted Grebe (Rollandia rolland) I also saw.
As with dips in the past, I remain grumpy while there is still a chance, but once the chance has gone I quickly return to my usual affable self and as we headed down the mountain and the air got more breathable I soon was back to my old self. Apologies to the rest of the party!

The glorious sight of Chilean Flamingos (Phoenicpoterus chilensis) and Andean Coots (Fulica ardesiaca) being spooked by a Cinereous Harrier (Circus cinerus).
The offending Cinereous Harrier (Circus cinerus).
In retrospect we saw some good birds, as you can see from the pictures, but to be honest at the time they meant nothing to me, I just wanted those waders!

Chilean Flamingos (Phoenicopterus chilensis).
There were a number of interesting passerines along the edge of the lake.

Male Ash-breasted Sierra-Finch (Phrygilus plebejus).

Female Ash-breasted Sierra-Finch (Phrygilus plebejus).

Female Bright-rumped Yellow-Finch (Sicalis uropygialis).

Male Bright-rumped Yellow-Finch (Sicalis uropygialis).

Black Siskin (Carduelis xanthogastra)
Apart from the harrier we saw two more raptors, Mountain Caracara and Variable Hawk.

Mountain Caracara (Phalcoboenus megalopterus).

Variable Hawk (Buteo polyosoma)
A rail, a couple of ducks, an ibis and a tinamou completed the scene.
Plumbeous Rail (Pardirallus sanguinolentus).

Puna Teal (Anas puna).

Yellow-billed Pintail (Anas georgica).

Puna Ibis (Plegadis ridgwayi).

Ornate Tinamou (Nothoprocta ornata).
The trip to the Andes was far too short but we saw some great birds, none more exciting than the Diademed Sandpiper-Plover and we witnessed some very spectacular scenery. Visiting the Andes was a life experience that we can recommend to everyone. We thank Renzo Zeppilli once again for his skillful guiding and good humour throughout our stay in Peru, Ivone for letting us stay at her apartment in Lima and also Augusto and Paula for their enjoyable company and for putting up with the quintessential grumpy birder!

The spectacular Andes

Paula, Augusto and Renzo at Junin, still smiling despite my efforts to hack everyone off.

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