2004 Bolivia 2

2004 Bolivia

"La Paz is the world's highest capital (El Alto is at 4000m). It's just conceivable that you could step off a plane here and die from altitude sickness, which would be a bad start to any holiday."

"La Paz may be the world's most alcoholic city: at night virtually everyone is staggering about in a drink-induced daze."

Mark Mann The Gringo Trail

These quotes indicate the madness of Bolivia. I spent 5 weeks there, with Paul Holmes, and the madness seemed to grab us a bit. We weren't too keen at first but it certainly grew on us and I fell in love with it. I will return,  but it's not a place to take the family! Photography was very low priority, seeing the wildlife was the number one reason for being there, although experiencing the nightlife became pretty important. This combination left very  little time for sleep.

Here are just a few pictures.

Although it has a huge range of habitats, the mountains of the Andes most stick in the mind it is a mind-bogglingly beautiful country. It is sometimes called the Nepal of South America and that is certainly the only country I've been to that so takes your breath away, literally and metaphorically. The two pictures below were taken in the Mountains above Cochabamba, at Cerro Tunari. We hitched, on lorries, into these a couple of times, a truly terrifying experience

as the drivers drove at terrifying speed, on gravel tracks, with certain death plummets next to the road. As well as the scenery this was a superb birding spot.



I didn't manage to photograph much of that wildlife, I only had my compact then, but here is a white-winged duika finch.


This burrowing owl was photographed at Las Lomas de Arena del Palmar, near Santa Cruz.

This was on the road to Sorato.  Where we saw two superb Andean avocets.


Mountain caracaras were a fairly common sight, in the mountains.


The trip to Toro Toro was a nightmare at the time, and a great story since; it was 64km of mind boggling track in a woefully inadequate

Suzuki 4WD.  At times we were taking turns moving boulders out of the way of the car.   When we arrived we literally drunk the village out of

beer in our two night stay.  The aim of the visit was to see the extremely rare red-fronted macaw.  We saw about 70, no photographs, but this

sign in the  village amused us.


As well as the areas mentioned we spent a while in the rainforest near Rurrenabeque and also the lowlands and Villa Tubari, both superb but

I didn't get any decent shots there. We finished in the Trinidad area, here we hired a guide: Lilian.  She usually organised trips to the pampas with others but, when she heard of our limited budget ,she decided the only way was for her to put together one  herself so off we went in her battered old Landcruiser.


This turned out to be a superb couple of days.  My **th birthday was spent in the Pampas and although one of my more sober ones it's

probably the best wildlife watching I've had on a birthday.


Neotropical river otters


Yellow armadillo - ok this was cheating a bit, he did quickly let it go.webarmadillo.jpg

Caiman sp.

caiman web.jpg

Savannah hawk


southern crested caracara


southern screamer


plumbeous ibis


Trinidad itself was a nice town, we went to a great restaurant next to the plaza and ate and drank while watching the amazing sight of most

of the town apparently going round the square on motorbikes for hour after hour.  I think it was there I realised I'd fallen in love with the

mad place!