My last post showed photos of two California Condors I saw perched in a tree on my way in to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon on Thursday. The place where I saw them is about 11 miles south of Jacob Lake, AZ – at the beginning of a large area which was devastated by a wildfire in 2006. While there is new growth taking hold, most of what remains in this area are large tree trunks with random limbs (and many with no limbs, just the tall, vertical trunk).
This is a photo showing that the tree where I saw the 2 condors on Thursday was only about 100 feet off the road (it is the tree above the back of my car, in the center of the photo):
Friday morning I returned to the same spot and saw another condor in a different tree, further away from the road (maybe 200 or 250 feet). Although at the time I was there the sun was rising behind where the condor was perched I was able to get some photos showing the identification tag – Y0, which I am sure is meant to be Y-Zero. That tag is not on the list which I found on the peregrinefund.org website and I have sent that organization details of my sighting and inquired why it isn’t included.
I am unofficially calling this condor “Yo”
Upon doing some further research I learned that after these condors are raised in captivity (in various places) they are generally released at the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, located between Jacob Lake and Marble Canyon, east of the North Rim entrance and not all that far – as the condor flies….
Vermilion Cliffs is evidently where these newly liberated condors have their nests. They seem to like this burned out area to hunt for food, probably because they can perch up high and have a good view of the relatively barren surrounding area.
Saturday morning I returned to this spot once again before leaving the area to drive down to Phoenix. Sure enough, there was another lone condor perched in a tree. I arrived closer to actual sunrise so the sun was even lower and I had to move around a good bit to try and get photos. I couldn’t tell at the time but now that I have looked at the photos I took it’s tag number is V4, it is a female, hatched 5/13/17 at the Portland Zoo and released into the wild on 3/31/20.
She pretty much just sat there the whole time, and I had a long drive ahead of me so I left. Now that I know it is where they nest I paid closer attention as I drove past the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, a many miles long wall of tall red cliffs, but they are pretty far off the road and there really wasn’t anything to see, bird-wise.
A fellow spectator at the first sighting on Thursday told me that another spot where I might find some condors is the Marble Canyon pedestrian bridge, located parallel to the main (traffic) Navajo bridge at Marble Canyon. I parked there briefly as I drove through the area to get down to Phoenix but didn’t see any condors.