Thursday, 21 January 2010

A 'Scope, a 'Scope My Kingdom for a 'Scope

There was a little controversy over the taxi fare first thing this morning, soon overcome. The doorman at the hotel had told me 2 soles would get me to Laguna el Paraiso, which I considered extremely good value for what I thought was a 6Km ride. The first cab I hailed wanted 80 soles but this would include the taxi being with me for 3 hours. Nevertheless, this was a massive difference from the first estimate and that is when the hotel manager stepped in. He too thought the cabby was taking the Mickey and sent him packing, then explained the doorman had thought I was going by bus. Quickly, he arranged for another car and this time it was S/.60, just over a 'tenner', for the ride and 3 hour stay so I was happy with that. The initial plan had been to be dropped off, do my days birding then hail a return cab from there. The manager advised against that saying it would be impossible, when we got there I saw exactly what he meant.

Charles, the driver, had a decent command of English and put me in the picture about things on the way. The drive was closer to 20Km and on the way we must have seen at least a dozen chicken farms. Each consisted of about 20 extremely long huts, shrouded in canvas not allowing any light of day. By definition, there were the attendant chicken lorries, each overborne with small, plastic cages shipping the hapless birds to an early exit. At about 15Km we turned off the Pan American Highway onto a broken road, giving us about 5Km of discomfort. All the way had been desert and now either side were steep hills before the lake opened up in front of us.

Immediately we could seen many hundreds of Wildfowl, but none very close to the shore. We drove the full length, taking a few shots as we went, but nothing of any value. For the first time this trip I was wishing there was a telescope available, but had been able to identify the most prolific waterbird, Andean Coot (100's), the second White-cheeked Pintail (many dozens) and third Chilean Flamingo (about 100). There were also a few Snowy Plover, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Neotropic Cormorant, Blue-winged Teal, American Oystercatcher and a single juvenile Peregrine. All of these I had seen before, as was the case with an attendant Wren-Like Rushbird, but additions to the World List, along with the Andean Coot, were c2 Horned Coot and a Correndera Pipit.

The time was soon up, but so was the heat of the day so we were ready to leave. On the way back we stopped at a small bushy area where I found what look every bit like Pacific Parrotlet, Yellow-rumped Siskin, also new to me, and House Sparrows. This afternoon I went in search of DVD discs to download some of the 'thousands' of photos on my lap top, get more provisions and got acquainted with Peruvian coffee. Every bit as good as Colombian and Venezuelan I had 2 cups. Another day over, and the prospect of another birding site tomorrow, so talk to you then!


Lists Update

The 'Trip List' now stands at - 786
'World Lifers' - 522
'Endemics' - 57

These two seemed to be enjoying each others company, but were desperate to get closer to the shore.

Andean Coot

What I am considering to be the male bird was brave enough to get closer.

It soon became obvious there was a nest close by,

and Dad was determined to feed the nippers.

Job done, he swam out for more groceries.

Correndera Pipit

Some of the many Chilean Flamingos, with good numbers of Wildfowl in the background, and the Huacho Lighthouse in the far distance.

Adult Chilean Flamingos showing diagnostic 'half' black bill.

In flight the 'blueish' legs and reddish pink knee joints can be seen.

What a magnificent sight!

Wren-Like Rushbird

Almost certain these are Pacific Parrotlet, but seem out of range?

Can you confirm please Dave (Penney)

and this Pipit-like bird is presenting an ID problem, I think it's either a Miner or a Canastero??