|The upper Colca Valley and Chivay are indicated by the arrow, in the southern Andes of Peru;|
Chivay is at 3,600 metres above sea level, and the rim of the canyon at a similar height.
|Part of the remarkable vista from Abra Patapampa, looking west.|
From the left the volcanoes are Ampato (6300m), Sabancayo (6000m) and Hualca Hualca (6000m).
Some of the cloud is actually volcanic smoke.
|Looking back to the east; this is a tough forbidding landscape, formed from volcanic eruptions and mountain uplift.|
|Crested Ducks Lophonetta specularioides; these are old South Americans, the only one of their genus,|
lovers of the cold windy expanses of the Andes and Patagonia.
|Puna Teal Anas puna, another high Andes specialist.|
|Yellow-billed Teal Anas flavirostris; this little duck is widespread in the southern part of the continent,|
and north up the Andean chain. (Formerly lumped with the Andean Teal, from further north, as Speckled Teal.)
|Two other birds of the bofedales are also Andean specialists, with the range centred on southern Peru.|
This is the Puna Ibis Plegadis ridgwayi.
|Alpacas grazing in the bofedales near Chivay.|
|Black Metaltail Metallura phoebe on Opuntia Cactus. |
Mostly it looks all-black, until light catches the startling throat iridescence.
This magnificent Andean hummingbird was in a garden on the outskirts of Chivay, as
was the subject of the next photo.
|Black-throated Flowerpiercer Diglossa brunneiventris.This group of specialised tanagers, as the name and awl-shaped bill suggest, make a living by piercing|
the base of flower tubes and stealing the nectar without achieving pollination.
|Airplants, Tillandsia sp., bromeliads, growing on the road cuttings in no soil at all.|
|Puya sp, another bromeliad, west of Chivay.|
Many Puya species die after flowering, but it seems this is one of the lucky ones.
|Cushion Plants Azorella sp. (family Apiaceae), west of Chivay.|
These are hard to the touch and immensely hardy; mounds this big could be centuries old.
Curiously, the genus is also found in New Zealand and in Southern Ocean islands to its south.
|Andean Flicker Colaptes rupicola, a large, vocal and almost entirely ground-dwelling woodpecker.|
|Lookout, shelter and walking tracks above Colca Canyon at Cruz del Condor.|
|Colca Canyon, above and below; while nowhere near the 3,400 metres of the deepest|
part of the canyon, the river is 1.2km vertically below us.
|Puya sp. above Colca Canyon.|
|Calceolaria sp. growing from a rock crevice above Colca Canyon.|
|Cantuta Cantua buxifolia Family Polemoniaceae, above and below.|
This is a pretty appropriate place to encounter Peru's national flower!
|Black-winged Ground Dove Metriopelia melanoptera.|
|Slender-billed Miner Geositta tenuirostris.This is another of the ovenbirds; as suggested by their name, the miners nest in burrows.|
|Ash-breasted Sierra-finch Phrygilus plebejus.As with so many South American birds, the sierra-finches turn out to be tanagers.|
|Tabanid Fly, known as March flies in Australia, horse flies in some other places. |
Fortunately (for me, not her) this beauty was unable to get that proboscis through my trouser leg.
|To see one condor is a rare privilege; to see them in groups like this is utterly thrilling.|
|Adult above, and immature below.|
|Adult females, photos above and below; they lack the male's red facial skin.|