Another wonderful trip to Colca
I visited the Colca-Valley for the first time in July 2010. It was a amazing trip, and I started to fall in love with that fantastic valley. It’s the deepest valley on earth, and from December to June its all green and very beautiful. One of the special things with the valley is the big concentration of Andean Condor. These big birds are going up and down the steep sides of the valley trying to find something to eat. I didn´t count the number of birds yesterday, but I think we where able to see at least ten.
When we arrived I saw a big Condor sailing close to the edge, I grasped the camera and ran down and started taking pictures. My first time I was just thinking about coming close to the birds, yesterday I tried to put them more in a “history” by giving them more space. I hope you can enjoy the photos.
I have one question. Maybe some of you can help me get an answer. I went to Patagonia in Chile in February, and also saw a lot of condors, but the condors down there flapped their wings, in the Colca-Valley they do not. Also the guides tell that they can’t do it, and because of that they suffer when smaller eagles are far better to maneuver and sometimes steel food from the mouth of the condors, and when they don’t flap it is hard to defend themselves. So I just wonder if these birds in Colca are bigger?
Yesterday I just captured males. It’s a bit hard to see in real lift what kind of sex it is, but all my photos are males. Last time I had captured more females. You can easely see the difference in the color of the eyes and that the males have a mohawk.
The place where it’s possible for people to take pictures is 3800 meter over sea level, and the birds are floating up with the help of streams of hot air so they are not out flying early in the morning when the ligth still is soft. Last time I had lots of problems, but I think my new Canon 1D mk III is doing a much better job of finding a correct light. Yesterday almost all my photos were OK in light.
The bird pictured over is very interesting. When the condors are more or less 8 years old they mature. Its very easy too see because they get the white circle around their neck and their body turns a lot more black. This young male is starting to get this white neck, so I think we can say this bird is more or less 8 years old.