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Pinnacles and California Condors

California Condorota had the great idea of taking a trip down to Pinnacles National Monument (southeast of Monterey). Driving there is deceiving -- up until you reach the park you are in the typical Northern California rolling green hills, but once you reach the remains of the former volcano, you are suddenly surrounded by large rock towers jutting straight up out of the ground. The main high peak is a haven for large birds, which are constantly circling above and around.

If you enjoy hiking, birding (condors, vultures, sparrows, hummingbirds), chapparel flora, rock climbing, or small caves, there's plenty to do and be entertained by. We hiked up to the High Peak, where we spotted one of the few remaining California Condors -- it became an instant tourist attraction. At one point we saw what looked like a kid squirting the condor with a squirt gun and throwing small rocks -- we shouted for the kid to stop and leave it alone. Turns out it wasn't a kid; it was a park ranger trying to get the condor to leave the company of people.

I've have been reading the condor field notes from Pinnacles, and the acclimation to people is a big problem the condor reintroduction program is frequently dealing with. Periodically they have to capture some of the more human-friendly condors and bring them in for "aversive conditioning."

As usual, there are hundreds of photos to process and rank, but in the meantime I've uploaded some of the condor photos. It appears to be a young one, as my reading tells me that adults have pink heads, but if it weren't for the tag on the shoulder I wouldn't have known it from the turkey vultures that were also circling above. I believe the condor is number 306, described in the field notes as a "young female" that was recently introduced to the park. She appears to have been one of the last of the recently introduced condors (November 2004) to venture from the flight pens and around the park, and my camera was lucky that she has become more adventurous.

Update:

Related entries * Pinnacles Photos * Pinnacles Panorama California Condor Photo Album

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This page contains a single entry from kwc blog posted on April 17, 2005 5:00 PM.

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