Cielo Cruise

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By John Wiley

We took a drive along East Camino Cielo recently, and the zoom lens collected some pix I thought you might like. Starting with a large scavenger. Probably a vulture but it was ominously people watching so I'm not sure it wasn't a condor (white delta shapes under the wings, right?).

The plant life was fascinating too, and I guess those are yuccas but maybe you know what the purple flower is. Knapp's castle gate didn't have any signs on it, so we walked in to check out the vista. The castle is looking good, but there's another gate nearer to it so we stopped at the lower Cachuma view wondering how much of the ruin is incorporated into the rebuild and whether it's still ok to hike in to our vista point far from the 2nd gate.  We saw dozens of these butterflies on that part of the driveway, going wild on the yellow flowers.

Another stroll was at La Cumbre Peak, where we enjoyed the pine-lined road and view of town - you can just make out the harbor and other landmarks beyond the boulder "sculptures." We also paused at a "snake" branch for a glimpse across the other side to Gibraltar and the mountains beyond.

The old fire lookout is a favorite landmark from the air, the peak, and many places around town. As the weather heats up it's easy to imagine sleepless rangers keeping watch there decades ago, and the valiant work of firefighters sparing that little island of pines from all the recent fires in that area.

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biguglystick Jul 03, 2021 12:14 PM
Cielo Cruise

Ahhh! SUCH cool photos! Love the wildlife.

Crystalandmaui Jul 03, 2021 08:10 AM
Cielo Cruise

This bird only eats dead things, their amazing , maybe not cute. But wonderful. So what’s happening at the castle? I last heard someone bought it, and was going to try to rebuild it, sorta.

mtndriver Jul 03, 2021 08:01 AM
Cielo Cruise

Thanks so much, John, great photos. Wish there were more posts like yours on Edhat now! That flower looks to be a variety of Mariposa lily (genus Calochortus). One of the loveliest of our local wildflowers.

Bird Jul 02, 2021 09:10 PM
Cielo Cruise

Wonderful pictures, thank you! The turkey vulture isn't creepy at all, imo! Thanks so very much for sharing.

Minibeast Jul 02, 2021 05:02 PM
Cielo Cruise

Nice to see (and hear) that the Checkerspots are thriving.

SBsurferlife Jul 02, 2021 03:56 PM
Cielo Cruise

Love these posts!

A Little Birdy Jul 02, 2021 03:21 PM
Cielo Cruise

It's a turkey vulture, condors have bright white under the leading edge of the wings, also are all visibly tagged.
Turkey vultures so sometimes show light-ish underparts, but at the trailing edge of the wing underparts. Both turkey vultures and condors are in the vulture family, but no need to think they're creepy/scary, they only eat dead stuff. We are a healthier planet with scavengers like these.

condorhiker Jul 03, 2021 01:19 PM
Cielo Cruise

The white bill is characteristic of an adult Turkey Vulture. Adult and juvenile condors have black bills.

Minibeast Jul 02, 2021 05:10 PM
Cielo Cruise

A LITTLE BIRDY 1 JUL 02, 2021 03:21 PM: Please take my upvote.-------Also: Turkey vultures weigh 2-4 lbs. A CA condor is a massive 20-24 lbs. ------Turkey vulture wingspan = 4.5 feet. CA condor wingspan = 9.5 feet. Taking size/bulk into account makes i.d. a bit easier.

John Wiley Jul 02, 2021 02:25 PM
Cielo Cruise

Thanks MoLeta. I'm curious which pix and what about them you like in particular. Wish I'd gotten video of the butterflies, because it was quite a frenetic feeding frenzy. :)

taz Jul 02, 2021 02:23 PM
Cielo Cruise

I Love them! It's great to see the views from above our town. What a wonderful place we live. Looks like you chose a great day to wander along the ridge. Thanks for sharing with everyone...

John Wiley Jul 02, 2021 02:32 PM
Cielo Cruise

We stood for some time, picking out landmarks that were actually much clearer than the photo shows. It sure was a glorious day, not unlike this one!

a-1625260939 Jul 02, 2021 02:22 PM
Cielo Cruise

What fun! Except for that scary creature at the start!

John Wiley Jul 02, 2021 02:30 PM
Cielo Cruise

Watching them soar is so beautiful to me, yet it's easy to see why they creep us out too. Aren't there some cultures that actually revere them? Seeing a group of them flying in circles sometimes reminds me of old Western movies that showed trackers using that to find a dead or dying hombre. At the same time, it often shows me where strong uplift can be found in flight.

John Wiley Jul 02, 2021 02:21 PM
Cielo Cruise

Are vultures creepy? Some of the friends I've shown that pic to have said so, but lately for me there's a quiet almost austere beauty about them.

Mo-leta Jul 02, 2021 02:18 PM
Cielo Cruise

Great stuff John! Thanks

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