After the winds died down last night, I ventured out to brush my teeth and take in the stars. With almost no light pollution, and a cloudless sky, the brilliance of the celestial bodies is a treat.
The noxious smell of sulfur greeted us as we awoke and we both looked accusingly at the other. Since there was no scapegoat dog in the immediate vicinity on which to blame the foul smell, I pointed at the nearby volcano Sacabaya, where fumarole has been pumping out white puffs of smoke for the past few days.
We set out on the rough, sandy and bumpy road towards the pueblo of Macaya. On the southern end we were treated to large brackish lake filled with flamingos. Before this trip, the only wild flamingos I had encountered were Phoenicopterus ruber, the American flamingo and Phoenicoparrus plasticus, the lawn ornament flamingo. I also associated flamingos with the tropics, not the cold, high altitude plains of the Andes.
Three flamingo species (Chilean, Andean and Jame’s) were busy, heads down, in the the water, filtering algae and plankton. We took a cue from our feathered friends and busied ourselves, snacking on oranges and cookies before heading off again across the altiplano.