Monday, June 10, 2013

My Condor Walks

One of the things a docent does at Tohono Chul Park is rove, which I do on Monday mornings. I like to get an idea what birds might be in the Park on weeks when I’m leading a bird walk, and I also just like to look around and see what’s new or different or interesting.

I try to cover all the main trails, including the Saguaro Discovery Trail, which is seldom used by visitors on very hot or very cold days. Whenever I head out for that part of my rove, I always say I’m going on a Condor Walk.

Saguaro hill 2-25-2013 9-32-05 AM 3216x1664A hill on the Saguaro Discovery Trail.

A Condor Walk? Yes, I say, you never know what might appear on the trails. I could even see an Andean Condor. This majestic bird, which has a wing span of up to 10 1/2 feet, is found only in western South America, but so what? My position is that anything can happen out in nature, and if an Andean Condor should decide to visit Arizona and alight on top of a saguaro, I don’t want to miss seeing it.

220px-AndeanCondorMaleAndean Condor, photo from Wikipedia

Among the wonderful things I have seen on my Condor Walks are jackrabbits, road runners, Lucy’s warblers, and other fairly common denizens of the Park. More than once I’ve also come across the beautiful but seldom-seen longnosed snake…

whole longnosed snake 5-28-2010 8-20-15 AM 1803x635Longnosed snake

…and the supposedly nocturnal nightsnake, eating a zebra-tail lizard. This last event was so unusual that I was asked to write it up as a nature note for the Sonoran Herpetologist, a scientific publication.

I’ll write more about some of the unusual behaviors I’ve witnessed in birds, reptiles, and mammals.. I wouldn’t have seen any of these things, though, if I didn’t go out looking for Andean condors on a regular basis.


  1. Don't get carried away. By the Condor, I mean.

    1. But what a way to go! Carried off by an Andean Condor in Arizona!

  2. Anonymous5:31 AM

    A video would be good.

    1. Yes, especially if I could get the condor in flight.