Condors in world´s deepest canyon

Trip Start Jul 27, 2008
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Trip End Mar 05, 2009


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Flag of Peru  , Colca Canyon,
Sunday, October 12, 2008

Until I got here I had  never heard of Canon de Colca. At over 4100mtrs it is said to be deeper than the Grand Canyon. There  is another canyon Catahusi not far which is nearly as deep. At the bottom is a river which is continuing to erode the base. The road through was very potholed and the going was slow. Apparently part of the region slipping down and one day some villages and part of the road will disappear but there are plans to stop this happening through a consortium of 5 countries including UK. The scenery is spectacular and in many places there  is not much room between the road and a several thousand feet drop. We passed through several villages where people were cultivating various crops. However unlike the Grand Canyon in this one one is travelling part way down and whereas the Grand Canyon is a plateau at the top from where you look down into the depths below you donīt get the same feeling of height here.

After about an hour or so we came to the Cruz del Condor. Here condors have been breeding for some time despite the tourists turning up every day to see them flying. Its not possible to see the nests as they are somewhere way down the canyon. Most of the way here the guide way giving us condor information such as they are scavengers ann do not kill animals. They use the thermals for lift and fly long distances to find food - even as far as ocean which I think is about 80 or so miles away.One or two chicks are born every 3 years and it takes 4 years four them to reach maturity.  And so on.

We hung around and time seemed  to drag. We had left our hotel a 6 with high expectations. By about nine it had warmed up and  some people were thinking of leaving when we saw two condors way below gliding away sown the valley . Then nothing. Suddenly several took to the air and some flew directly overhead. With wing spans of 3 metres  and only 20 or 30 feet above our heads it was impressive.

Most of them were young. the adults have black plumage and a white ring round the neck. Unfortunately they are under threat and some local people think they  kill small animals and are killing them by poison etc. Such majestic birds!!!      
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