An early doors exit from Cochabamba saw us departing the city and heading up into the hills once more, this time on our way to La Paz. We were heading to Lake Oruru but made a few stops along the way, the first of which was caused by a distant bird perched up on some rocks in the puna zone. After a slow walk closer it turned out to be the first of two Black-billed Shrike-tyrants seen this morning and the same area also gave us Cinereous Ground-tyrant.
The road then wound its way down into more arid country and we made a short walk around an old church where we were lucky to get a couple of Mountain Parakeets flying over. There was also a pair of Andean Hillstars and a male Black-hooded Sierra-finch here as well.
By late morning we were approaching the large town of Oruru and beside a smallish area of water we had great close views of Andean Avocet, Andean Gull, White-backed Stilt and dozens of Mountain Caracaras, plus a few Baird’s Sandpipers.
After a chaotic time crossing the town we eventually reached the lake which was very dry and had to drive several more kilometres to find any water at all. Eventually around the far side we found some ‘agua’ and a congregation of flamingos. The majority of the flock comprised the yellow-legged Andean and rosy-legged Chilean Flamingos.
After double-checking in the field guide it became apparent that there were several James’s Flamingo’s here as well – a big result for us. There were also plenty of ducks here and amongst the Puna and Speckled Teal we picked up a single Yellow-billed Pintail and a pair of Crested Ducks. An Andean Negrito was then spotted, and a Yellow-winged Blackbird perched up nicely in the rushes nearby and began to sing. A quick search for more open water drew a blank so we returned to the same area and had lunch which was interrupted by at least 4 Puna Plovers feeding out on the mud flats.
The last goodie of the day was found as we were driving back to the town when a Brown-backed Mockingbird appeared beside the road and prompted a hasty exit from the coach. All that was left was the long drive to La Paz and the ensuing traffic chaos but finally we arrived at a lovely hotel where we’d be staying for the next 3 nights.