Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pulpit Rock

MOH and I came upon Pulpit Rock from the east on our last tour through the Black Rock and Smoke Creek Deserts. I have some old photos lying around somewhere, maybe even some digital ones, but in case I couldn't find any, we pulled over on the side of the road so I could grab a few more. We once hiked up to the rock; I suspect the photos from that hike are on photographic paper in 4x6 mode, filed away in an archival box. (That reminds me: my project to digitize everything. Ha ha ha.)

The rock, placed in the pillar category by the U.S.G.S., has obviously been named for its shape. It's not far from the Nobles Trail (or Nobles' Trail), which passed through the Kamma Mountains not far to the south, so maybe the name originated with emigrants on the trail, but I've found little history about the rock, other than that it's considered sacred by more than one group of Native Americans. It's also been used as a nesting site for golden eagles, ferruginous hawks, and prairie falcons (p. 3-43, last link).

MSRMaps location; Google Maps street view.
Almost immediately upon pulling over, we noticed two large birds perched in an upper alcove of the rock formation, and at first we thought they were golden eagles.
I took some more pictures simply to identify the birds. This photo, when enlarged on my camera, made me wonder if the birds could be bald eagles, because the coloring seemed off for goldens.
Aha! The one flying away is a obviously a turkey vulture!
Now, only one bird is left!
We don't know if the alcove was being used for nesting by these birds, or if it was just a convenient perch to wait for roadkill dinner.

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