Laguna Huañakota area

by Lawrence

The arid climate at Sajama National Park (rainfall is only 10 to 20 inches a year) means that wildlife often concentrates near water sources. Laguna Huañakota is wonderful place to set up a spotting scope and patiently search and see what is in the vicinity. Typical waterfowl recorded in the park include: Speckled Teal, Yellow-billed Pintail, Crested Duck, Puna Teal, Ruddy Duck and occasionally Cinnamon Teal. If water levels are low, the flat can harbor migrant shorebirds. Watch for concentrations of shorebirds (Baird's Sandpiper and Wilson's Phalropes) during migration.

The surrounding arid hillsides can be good for Least and Gray-breasted Seedsnipes. Higher up, Rufous-bellied Seedsnipes have been found. Scan the surrounding grasslands for some of Sajama has a nine species of Ground Tyrants, including Cinnamon-bellied, Rufous-naped, Puna, White-browed, Plain-capped, Cinerous, White-fronted, Ochre-naped and Black-fronted. Puna Rhea often come drink here as well.  

Logistics: Laguna Huañakota is 10.8 km from the ranger station. At 4.8 km from the ranger station, there is a small sign and track to the left (west) for hot springs. The hot springs themselves are not that great for birds, but as the water flows into small streams, birds are often attracted to the relatively grassy areas on the stream banks.

GPS reading at Laguna Huañakota: S 18 02.891' W 68 56.142'