We knew we were leaving with Herman at the next morning but had no idea where we were going. The day was listed as one looking for the endemic Bolivian Spinetail, which was a day trip from
We piled into the vehicle at dressed in thermals and winter birding gear, not knowing where we were going, what altitude or how long it would take. We were all tired and in need of good sleep. I did wonder where we were when I woke up an hour and a half later to see flat barren habitat with mountains in the distance, but was freezing cold so put on my hat and gloves, coat and Chris’s coat and waterproof trousers over me as blankets. Later still, we woke up to find ourselves in an Aymara town. It was -2 degrees outside and the women were dressed in typical highland indigenous dress, complete with bowler hats. As we left town, I saw a sign for Sorata. I told Chris that I thought we were near
Lake Titicaca and
did he know where we were. He said that
he had seen a beautiful lake an hour before but had assumed it was some other
lake. I then asked Sandro whether we
were going to Sorata? He confirmed that we were and that both endemics were in
fact at the same site. Just after this,
we again drove past the edge of Lake Titicaca, which
was very blue and beautiful and felt pretty foolish.
We headed back to the vehicle, for another lovely camp lunch. We noticed some mandarins had appeared in the vehicle and thought Herman had been very thoughtful getting them out of the boot for us. Over lunch, Herman pointed out a dent in the start of the barriers, protecting cars from a sheer drop on a bend 20 metres up from the car. A truck carrying mandarins had crashed into the barrier when the driver had fallen asleep at the wheel. Half a second earlier had he would have missed the barrier and gone straight down the cliff, killing himself and the two small children with him. Instead, all had been unhurt.
On the way back, we stopped at a small highland lake and saw Giant Coot and two Andean Geese.
We also stopped at an Aymara town square, where I bought a llama wool blanket and a brightly coloured blanket, worn to carry babies. These were sold to me by an old lady in traditional dress and brown bowler hat. Birdgirl noticed some children with purple cheeks and I explained that this was caused by living at altitude. Apparently, it is a problem with not being able to exhale carbon dioxide rather than not taking in enough oxygen.