Thursday, June 3, 2004

W-231 at Huff's Hole

Hi All,

To add to Jamie’s experience with ‘lost’ communications: Yesterday while I was at the lookout, I received a call from Jessica Koning from Ventana Wilderness Society. She reported that Condor #242, a 3 1/2 year old male who has a GPS transmitter on one wing , had spent two days in the vicinity of Lopez Lake and Hi Mountain on May 24th and 25th. I was quite surprised to hear this, as I had been monitoring from the lookout on both these days and had received NO signals from him whatsoever. This adds an interesting twist to our information gathering efforts. Apparently these birds can ‘hide’ from our receivers when they are on the south side of the cliff face at Huff’s Hole and at Lopez Lake. We had a similar experience with Condor # 168 whom we had seen and received signals from while actually at Huff’s Hole on April 6th. I was not able to pick up signals that evening upon returning to the lookout, nor the following day. We had attributed this to his failing transmitters, which are
sending out weak signals, at best. Back in March, I had picked up very strong signals from Condors #208, #209 and (again!) #231 right at the lookout and, from Cypress Hill, saw them perched on the same rock outcroppings that Jamie mentioned, to the West of Huff’s Hole. Maybe we will have to set up a floating monitoring station on Lopez Lake! Any volunteers? In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for very large, beautiful black birds soaring over San Luis Obispo County. They are definitely making frequent visits and possibly checking out the real estate for future ‘rooms with a view’!

Kathleen Intorf