The most recent excursion in our series of non-bamboo field trips took us up to Big Sur where we camped two nights at Plaskett Creek and explored the back country of Julia Pfeifer Burns. From the high ridge of Elwoodson Trail, we had a close encounter with what appeared to be a flock of Turkey Vultures.
Closer inspection, however, revealed these giant birds to be California Condors. According to Wikipedia there are fewer than 300 California Condors remaining in existence, and about 147 in the wild. We saw at least 8 individual Condors. In contrast to their more common relatives, the Condors have a far more graceful flight pattern, a much wider wingspan, and number tags under each wing (because they are monitored by wildlife biologists.)
These amazing creatures, relics from a bygone prehistoric era, will mostly likely become extinct within our lifetime, so we relished in this rare opportunity to see them up close and personal, high above the dramatic Big Sur coastline.