Saturday, April 4, 2009

The High Andes

Feeling the thin fresh air around me I´m walking through valleys towards the High Andes. Here in Arequipa, over 2300 meters above the sea level, is where I born. The "White city" because of the materials used in it´s ancient buildings. It´s a place that besides being in the Atacama desert, you can find different and unique ecosystems such bofedales (puna wetlands), Polylepis forests, intermontane valleys and of course, the desert. You can see endemic birds as the Black Metaltail (Metallura phoebe), Black-necked Woodpecker (Colaptes atricollis), Thick-billed Miner (Geositta crassirostris) and Cactus Canastero (Asthenes cactorum). Also, in the polylepis forest you can find the Giant Conebill (Oreomanes fraseri), the beautiful Tit-like Dacnis (Xenodacnis parina), the D´Orbigny´s Chat-Tyrant (Octhoeca oenanthoides), Black-hooded Sierra-Finch (Phrygilus atriceps) among others. Sitting on the slope of the Pichu pichu volcano, after a good birding day, feeling the warm sun just before it dissapears behind the horizon, breathing this fresh, thin air, looking Arequipa and the world below me I can feel the peace of the quiet Andes inside me, that feeling that attaches me to the land, being another small mountain among giants, telling me "Don´t forget that you belong here, and we´ll always be with you wherever you go".

Blue and yellow Tanager

White-browed Chat-Tyrant

Rufous-collared Sparrow

Cesar in Yarabamba

Oasis Hummingbird