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Zion is for the Birds!

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Zion is for the Birds!

Postby oldranger » Sun May 16, 2010 9:26 pm

Did a quick trip to Zion recently and while everyone has seen the rocks it was the birds that grabbed my attention this year. On our second day Kathy and I did Angels Landing just a couple days after a woman fell to her death from Scout Overlook. But as we arrived at scout overlook this day I looked at the ridge to the left and was greeted with a vision of #31 warming himself in the early morning sun.
I was experimenting with different exposures so this is a more natural exposure with a sightly different pose.

After we completed our trek up Angels Landing (Kathy was more than a little amused at how nervous I was about the exposure and we are not talking photography here) #31 entertained us with a flyby before once more landing on his perch. We were both amused by all the people with their heads down, intent on making Angels Landing, that walked right by that magnificent bird without seeing it. A couple of days later we hiked up to Observation Point which is much higher but less scary than Angels Landing. About the time we were ready to leave #A3 decided to glide right over us. Of course I had the short lens on but A3 cooperated by flying within 50 ft. directly overhead.
A3 Fly over.jpg
It was pretty amusing that the agressive chipmunks that had been pestering us as we ate and took in the views disappeared for the remaining 10 minutes that we were at the point. I guess they don't know the difference between a hawk, eagle, or falcon and a condor.
Later back in the campground I decided to look for the tom turkey that had been gobbling every evening. It took about 5 minutes to find this guy.
In Love!.jpg
Back at camp my beer drinking was interrupted by Kathy insisting that I take a photo of this fella.
Summer Tanager.jpg
The summer tanager is relatively rare in Zion and the online habitat map I looked up indicated that the species normally does not go tht far north. We also saw a western tanager but they are pretty common in the sierra so that was not new for us. But I thought it was cool to expect to be wowed by the geography (which we were!) but to be thrilled by observing new birds and an endangered species!

Oh yes for those of you afraid of getting old we met a 73 year old couple on top of Angels Landing!

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Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!

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Re: Zion is for the Birds!

Postby The Other Tom » Mon May 17, 2010 3:48 am

Great pics and report Mike ! Thanks for posting. :thumbsup:
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Re: Zion is for the Birds!

Postby hikerduane » Mon May 17, 2010 8:29 pm

Thank you for the neat shots.
Piece of cake.
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Re: Zion is for the Birds!

Postby Snow Nymph » Wed May 19, 2010 10:11 am

Great shots of the birds! Scott and I were in that area 12 years ago. Beautiful area!
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison

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Re: Zion is for the Birds!

Postby BSquared » Fri May 28, 2010 1:17 pm

Damn, Mike, I had an old tom turkey strutting like that in my own back yard last month and couldn't get a picture nearly as good as yours! Fantastic pix! Thanks!
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Re: Zion is for the Birds!

Postby BrianF » Fri May 28, 2010 3:25 pm

Back in the day, just before they removed the condors from the wild, there was a nesting pair in the Sisquoc Condor Sanctuary in the San Rafael wilderness that I was fortunate enough to see. It is spectacular to see them flying wild. One of my favorite memories is of hurrying head down along a ridge through a cloudy dusk near San Rafael Mtn trying to get to a camp before the storm broke. When it started to snow I looked up to the sky just in time to see a condor soar 30 feet over my head crossing the ridge. After that I didn't care what the weather did and if it hadn't started to snow right then I would have missed that sight.
The direction you are moving in is what matters, not the place you happen to be -Colin Fletcher
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