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

Stalking the vulture

Marty’s photo of the day #2041: Here’s more from our early December Baja Peninsula adventure: Every morning my new best buddies, Chaco and Toby, joined me for a sunrise hike across the desert. This time we spotted a turkey vulture in the distance, atop a giant cardón cactus (the world’s tallest species of cactus). The vulture spotted us as well. And while I was approaching with great stealth, the dogs were not. I thought for sure they’d frighten the vulture into flight before I got close enough for a crisp shot.

But as I watched the vulture, I noticed he was much more concerned about me than he was about the dogs. Then it hit me—vultures naturally follow coyotes and other four-legged animals to kills. So while the dogs were free to dance around the cactus, I had to make the slow trek by crawling on the ground—stopping every so often to squeeze off a few shots before moving closer. In all, I shot at least 100 photos. In the end, the dogs helped me get this interesting photo of the vulture looking down—Chaco had lifted his leg on the cactus!

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