Saturday, September 27, 2003

Sept 25-26, 2003

Hi folks,
A little late on this posting, but some good stuff happened during the
2nd half of my stay at the Lookout last week.
Temps were mostly high and the breeze slight throughout the week. Lots
of helicopter activity on the south and east slopes of Hi mt. as
authorities continue to search for the Trout Creek pot farmers.
Now on to the good stuff……
On thursday September 25 at 1532hrs, condor B-168 ( a 6yr old male from
Ventana) flew right past the Lookout along the south slope of Hi Mtn. He
was cruising south with a group of TV’s and I picked him up right at eye
level, about half way between the Lookout and Huff’s Hole. Absolutely
amazing and I felt like all those days sitting up there alone in the
haze had finally paid off. Finally, great looks from the Lookout!!!
Watched 168 for about 30min that day, as he floated effortlessly around
the Lookout, at times ringing up over Trout Creek with 2 ravens, 3 TV’s
and a red-tail. Quite a cool sight. At about 1600hrs, 168 broke off from
the group and headed up Trout Creek along the Garcia Ridge. By about
1610hrs he was topping out over Piney Ridge, making for the Calientes,
Cuyama, or ????. Minutes later, I began to pick up a signal from B-171(
a 6yr old female from Ventana). She was headed north along the La Panza
and I got my first visual on her at 1645hrs. She seemed to be out over
the Pozo Valley, working the thermals against Black Mtn. Again, got
great looks at this bird, though she didn’t quite fill the binos like
168 did. Anyhow, I followed 171 in my scope until 1705hrs, when she made
a rapid, parachuting decent to the base of Black Mtn and I lost her
against the landscape. There are some big ranches up there and I saw her
descend just east of the largest one. Continued to track her through the
evening and into the next morning. She spent the night roosting
somewhere in Pozo Valley! Next day I tracked her, though never saw her,
as she lazily made her way back up to Big Sur. Tracked a few other
Hopper birds throughout the week, most just brief signals that quickly
faded to my east/southeast.
Had a few raptors move past the Lookout during the week, I guess their
migration is on. Had 2 juvenile Cooper’s, 1 Sharp-shinned, and 1 Merlin
at various times, all high above the Lookout and moving west to
east/northeast. Also had the (resident?) tiersel Peregrine blast past
the tower on 9/25, looked to be headed down into Huff’s. The birdbath is
a new, constant source of entertainment. Had up to 6 Ca thrashers on it
at once. Also saw (in various combinations) Sage thrasher, Wrentit,
Spotted towhee, Anna’s hummer, using the new bird spa.
Thanks to all who have worked so hard on this project so far. Its really
an honor to be allowed to spend a week in such a magnificent and sublime
place, Hi on top of the world.
**Correction to my last posting: Joe Burnett wrote to tell me condor
B-167, who I saw from the Lookout on 9/27 is a HE, not a SHE. Oops.
For some photos from my week at Hi mtn, go to:
click the album called “paul_sept 03″
Best to all, see ya on the 4th!!
-Paul Andreano