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    • They said condor sightings are rare so I didn't bring a telephoto lens. It's springtime in California and the hills look like they were soaked in green food coloring. I expected to take photos of climbers, scenery, the super bloom, my family and the caves.

      They said if you climb up high, you may see condors in flight with their giant 9.5-foot wingspans that dwarf even the turkey vultures which soar over Pinnacles.

      I was around in the 80s when the last few condors were still alive and we expected them to go extinct. I never thought I would sit on a ridge someday at Pinnacles and would catch the fancy of a condor.

    • These are the green hills of March in California on the drive to Pinnacles. Cow heaven.

      Pinnacles is famous for their caves and this time of year every rock that can catch some rays of light is covered with moss, with water trickling down the rock.

      Once you get up high, you see why Pinnacles is a haven for climbers:

    • From up high you can see turkey vultures and ravens soaring over the cliffs:

      I didn't look too hard for condors because I heard they were rare. Imagine my shock when this one, #92, hatched in the Oregon zoo in 2013 and released at Pinnacles in 2015, decided to walk my way:

      I sat still while he slowly made his way towards me, stopping at times to check me out.

      They're a form of vulture right? So no attacking guys like me despite the intense stare at point-blank range? At that moment I wasn't so sure.

      What strange-looking creatures!

    • The only thing I could think of was he must have had tourists offer him crackers. But he seemed to want fashion accessories:

      He soon tired of my glasses and decided my Warriors sweatshirt was more interesting and he stole it.

      I later asked the ranger if the tourists feed the condors and she said no, the condors are only interested in carrion. I told her about my experience and she was surprised, especially when I showed her the photos. She said I must smell like dead carrion and hence him taking my sweatshirt and inspecting it for a few minutes. 😳

      She said they all have their own personalities and she would report this one to the condor team for them to haze him with a spray bottle or something to teach him to be less comfortable with humans.

    • Wow, wow, and wow. Amazing pics Baldy! Those condors pics looked like cheaters at the zoo. AMAZING. What a thrilling experience and a great lesson to kids that so much happens when you get out of the house! Thanks for sharing those amazing pics!

    • What an experience to have such a close encounter with such a rare creature. Wow! I remember when I photographed a pair of whooping cranes, not nearly this close, and how I felt when I realized the very limited number of them in the world. What an experience.

    • The photos of the condors are unreal and spectacular. It's this elusive and mysterious creature I have only seen flying from afar a few times in my life, and here you are doing a close-up photo session with a condor. Wow! Incredible photos. I almost don't believe it.

      But I did see a condor, probably THAT condor, flying above my head today as I was climbing in the Pinnacles. And it's a coincidence we were both there within a day of each other, and that we probably saw the same bird, but this can't be a coincidence:

      Same field of flowers and rocks. Photographers think alike to a fault.

      And yeah it was SO green...

      My friend Zeno topping out:

      My sister following me up Machete Direct:

      Near the top of Machete Ridge where the condors fly.