Kuntur* in the Colca Canyon


I had my first view of a condor in a rescue shelter in the sacred valley.

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The whole point of the Colca Canyon tour was to spot the Andean Condor in the wild. We were welcomed at Cruz del Condor by bright sunshine and blue skies.

Busloads of people are lined up for the spectacle of the condor soaring over the canyon, but it doesn’t seem like a crowd. Your eyes are perpetually squinted to catch a glimpse as the condor appears, and the “zoomed in” focus sometimes means that you forget to look at the larger picture of the deep canyon laid out before you.

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And peer you have to, as the condor appears out of the dark mountains, soars up and glides off in an instant.

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Uju had decided that her iPhone would be no good for condor pictures, and turned her focus on the newly purchased macro lens attachment, while also being the condor ‘spotter’ for my 300mm lens (thanks, Abhinav!).

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After a couple of them fly by, you can focus your gaze downward to see the vastness.

That’s the scale – of humans to mountains:

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Until you spot another.

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And another.

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And maybe one last condor before you get back on the bus.

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While editing these photos, I read about condors. It appears that we spotted females (with the plain head) and males (with the ‘comb’ on the head). They don’t hunt, but feed on carrion, usually large animals. They don’t care to flap their wings except at takeoff, and prefer to glide over strong winds in the canyon. Most interestingly, they can go days without eating, but when they do, they will consume vast quantities, and then may not be able to lift off the ground (source: Wikipedia). On that last part of the last point, we find a commonality with the condor, and these days, after a big meal I can hear Souvik proclaim that he has ‘been a condor’.

*The native Quechua name for the Condor.

Categories: La Conquista de Perú, TravelTags: , , ,

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