California Condor

Ron Hannah

Big Bear Lake, United States

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BEST VIEWED LARGER – click or tap image

So I take my car into the mechanic for its checkup. They tell me it’ll take a couple of hours, so I grab my camera equipment and head out for an old-fashioned photo-safari.

I wandered around for a bit, then found myself heading to the small airport in LaVerne, California to see what I might capture. More on THAT later. I kept wandering and found myself at Bonelli Park in San Dimas, California. Bonelli is a huge recreation area in the hills. There is boating, swimming, fishing, horseback riding, hiking, etc.

Being me, I wandered down the less traveled trails looking for whatever. There are several species of birds around the area including ducks and egrets.

I see movement out of the corner of my eye and turned to see a large bird lighting in a nearby sycamore tree. It was too big to be a hawk, to plain to be a Golden Eagle, and its wings had a white stripe on the underside. I had the 200mm zoom lens attached, so I got a bit of a closer look.

My first thought was, “A VULTURE?!” Then it hit me. I was seeing something I thought I would NEVER see outside of a zoo or conservatory. A freaking California Condor. In fact, there were 5 (FIVE!) juvenile Condors in one tree!

Holy SHOT! I kept hitting the shutter, hoping to the Universe that I would get one worthy shot. HOLY SHOT!

A little research yielded some facts:

California Condor (Pseudogryphus californianus)

Sacred to Native Americans and the largest birds in North America, the California condor teeters on the brink of extinction, saved only by captive breeding programs.

As of May 2012, population counts put the number of known condors at 405, including 226 living in the wild and 179 in captivity.

And I saw 5 of them just today. THIS is why I am driven to take photos . . .

any and all proceeds from any sales of this image will be cheerfully donated to California Condor Conservation orgainization

Nikon D60
200mm
uncropped
minimal processing
Shot RAW, saved as .PNG

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