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.

Stalking the vulture

Marty’s photo of the day #2078: One early morning, last December on the Baja Peninsula, I was out hiking with Chaco and Toby (two dogs that adopted me) across the desert. We spotted a turkey vulture in the distance, atop a cardón 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. Ultimately, I got my close-up vulture shot, but today’s photo shows what the scene look like at a wide angle.

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