I hate driving to work for a meeting. Four hours in the car for a 2 hour meeting. And, no matter how long the list of things to do that I made, no matter how motivated I was in the car, I am exhausted when I finally get home. Years ago, I decided to make the trip productive. Get everything done in the area since that I needed to do. Shopping, errands, research, whatever. Except, nothing needed to be done and I just drove home instead.
This time, I threw the camera in the car in anticipation of a hike in Pinnacles National Park to find Condors. After last weeks disappointing journey to see Bald Eagles, Hiking Santa Margarita Lake, I did not go with high hopes. In fact, I’ve been to Pinnacles over a dozen times without seeing Condors. Why would I see them this time?
Not that I have a special affinity for Condors. But, I remember in grade school when the last of the Condors was taken out of the wild. Then, living in San Diego, I remember the success of the captive breeding program at the Wild Animal Park. And finally, I remember their reintroduction into the wild and the efforts that went into making that a success.
As I got out of the car near the Chaparral Picnic Area, I could see a flock of large black birds circling to the south side of the peaks. I still did not want to get my hopes up and told myself that they were Turkey Vultures. However, as I approached the peak, I knew that I was seeing Condors for the first time. While not the prettiest, their size is massive. And they were right there! Focused on getting a photograph of one sitting on a rock, 3 flew 10′ over my head from the rear. The sound of the wind over their wings was incredible! I wished I had more hands, more cameras, and could see all directions at once.