Sunday, April 11, 2004

Condors at Hi Mt!!!

Condors at the Hi Mountain Lookout!!! 
On Sunday the 4th of April a California Condor flew over the lookout, circled and headed south towards Santa Barbara County. On Saturday the day before, Amy Millan picked up a strong signal from the north. The signal was from w231 a female born on the 30th of April in 2000 and released in Ventanna Wilderness the 5th of April in 2001. This is the same Condor that has been traveling back and forth from the Ventanna Wilderness to Hopper in the past month. On Sunday mourning Jamie Miller was receiving a signal from w231 from the north. Finally the signal was so strong we knew she had to be very close. Everyone at the lookout began to scan the horizon towards the north and Black Mountain. Dr. Villablanca a professor at CalPoly, a former CalPoly Student who used to volunteer at the lookout, two visitors from England, a family from Atascadero, Jamie Miller, Jeremy White and I saw the condor flew directly towards the lookout from the north. She was almost at eye level and seemed to be curious about all the commotion. The Condor flew right above the lookout, circled around, flapped her beautiful wings and headed south along Garcia Ridge. When she was above us we could clearly read her tag. Dr. Villablanca noticed she was molting some of her primaries as well. We continued to pick up her signal from the south for several hours. After volunteering at the lookout for several months now it was so amazing to see a condor right above our heads. Later that day Jeremy White and I hiked down Hi-Valley trail to look for the Peregrine Falcon nest site. After about an hour we saw a pair of Prairie Falcons. Then maybe about a half an hour later we heard a contact call from a Peregrine Falcon. The falcon headed towards Hi-Valley Rock and out of a hole in a crevice another Peregrine Falcon came out. We were able to see within an hour a pair of Prairie Falcons and Peregrine Falcons. The day before there was also a pair of immature Golden Eagles that soared by the lookout. Lots of raptors at Hi Mountain !!
Cedrick Villaseñor