As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday 10 January 2013

Save the Colca condors – Visit one of the most spectacular wildlife sights in the world

Andean condor over the Colca Canyon.
The condors of the Colca Canyon- Written by Powell Ettinger, editor of Wildlife Extra
January 2013. In 1987 I was only vaguely interested in wildlife. A couple of friends of mine had persuaded me to leave the rat race behind for a few months and head off to South America. Peru was a real eye opener for me. I had hear all about the great Inca cities, and the mysterious Nazca lines, but what really stuck in the memory was the people, the extraordinary scenic diversity (Mountains, deserts, jungle and coast all within a few hours of each other) and the wildlife.

My first real wildlife experience was one that has formed much of my career since. We travelled for a day or so into the foothills of the Andes to the Colca Canyon, reputedly the deepest in the world at around 1 mile from top to bottom. We travelled to see the canyon itself, and also the remarkable scene at dawn on the edge of the canyon. We camped near the rim, and met some extraordinary hospitality from some local farmers and their families, who shared their packed lunch with us; Maize bread, roast maize, maize soup & maize beer.

We were the happy recipients of some wonderful hospitality from the local farmers. How much more would they look after the condors if their economy received a boost from condor tourism?

At dawn we raised ourselves and sat on the edge of the canyon, and as the sun warmed the air, we could just about make out swirling shapes moving a thousand feet below us. As we sipped our coffee, one of my companions suddenly swore loudly and fell backwards off the rock he was sitting on, spilling the coffee onto one shoulder. A dark shape, had appeared silently, and a great speed, out of the depths of the canyon. Naturally we missed this photo opportunity, but it lingers in the memory as clear as any high res image now. 

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