Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author of "Cool Creatures, Hot Planet," "Endangered Edens," and the "Time Is Irreverent" series.

The turkey vulture and the big sneeze

Turkey Vulture

Marty’s photo of the day #1887: I photographed this turkey vulture Sunday night at Deb’s and my new secret spot.

Funny story: Because we were in an area frequented by bears, and the huckleberries were at their peak, I was constantly on the lookout to make sure we didn’t surprise anyone. When I spotted the vulture, I left Deb on the trail and hiked cross-country to get closer to the bird. Just as I was setting up my shot, I heard something that sounded like “Chea! Chea! Chea!” and got a wee bit nervous. Logically, the vulture was watching a bear or a mountain lion on a kill, and that animal was warning me not to get too close. I quickly took a few photos and backed off.

When I returned, I said to Deb, “Did you hear that? I think whatever predator the vulture was watching was sounding a warning!”

“You mean me sneezing?” she replied.

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