|The approximate position of Pisgaua is indicated by the end of the red arrow, on the sea 40km west of the |
Pan American Highway, between the major cities of Iquique and Arica (which is almost on the Peruvian border).
|Pisagua huddled against the desert coast, from Punto Pichalo, north of the town.|
The waterless tracts hemming it in made it an ideal prison site.
|The road to Pisagua from the east, with the camanchaca - the sea mist produced by the |
cold onshore Humboldt Current - dominating the skyline.
|Guano (from cormorants, boobies, pelicans and terns) on an island off Pisagua.|
|Pisagua from a lookout by the road, which can be seen zig-zagging down the steep hillside above the town. |
Punta Pichalo is at the right of the picture; the track to it leaves from the hairpin bend
just past the town.
|The track to the point; the total lack of vegetation is typical of much of the Atacama.|
The effective rainfall for Pisagua is - zero...
|Peruvian Pelicans Pelecanus thagus, above and below.|
Formerly considered a sub-species of Brown Pelican, it is now recognised as a full species,
extending south from northern Peru.
|South American Sea Lions Otaria flavescens on an islet off Punta Pichalo.|
The only member of their genus, they are not closely related to other sea lions.
|South American Sea Lions and Inca Terns Larosterna inca.|
Inca Terns (below) also comprise a single-species genus, as well as
being arguably the most beautiful term in the world.
|With all the activity it was inevitable that there would be dolphins around and |
a small pod of Bottlenose Dolphins Tursiops truncatus swam past the point.
|Turkey Vultures Cathartes aura constantly patrol the shoreline and sea lion colonies.|
|The number of small fish to attract this number of birds - and there was a constant stream of cormorants |
and pelicans leaving the land to join the feast - must have been in the millions.
|Shell midden with charcoal, evidence of many cooked meals.|
|Neotropical Cormorants Phalacrocorax brasilianus are found throughout South America|
and north to the southern US.
|Peruvian Pelicans loaf about the port scrounging for scraps.|
|Band-tailed (or Belcher's) Gull Larus belcheri is readily distinguished from the |
more widespread Kelp Gull L. dominicanus by the eponymous black tail band.
|Blackish Oystercatcher Haematopus ater; its elegant white legs are highly distinctive.|
A pair patrols the rocks in front of the picnic shelters.
|Chilean Seaside Cinclodes Cinclodes nigrofumosus; the cinclodes form a group of ovenbirds, |
one of the two ancient groups of South American passerines.
Most of the 15 or so species are dwellers of the high Andes, but not this one.
|Lizards are also not generally found in the spray zone, but the Atacama Lava Lizard Microlophus atacamensis |
is at home there; it is common along the Atacama coast.
This one appears to have regrown an amputated tail.