The above picture is at the visitors center near the entrance of the park. The red rock ridge sticking up in the back ground is called "Kissing Camels". If you look closely you can see why:
Anyway, we headed over toward these 'kissing camels' to take a short hike through the heart of the park. As we got to the trail head I noticed this sign:
I don't know if you can read the letters in red that I've highlighted but it says that the formation is closed to rock climbing from February to August due to nesting Praire falcons. "Cool!" I thought and I started looking closer at the cliffs hoping to spot one even though it is September...Just then I hear "kyaaa kya kya kya", the distict voice of a praire falcon!! Now I was really excited. I remembered I had binoculars in the car so I ran back and grabbed them. As soon as I got back to the the sign I could hear the falcon again. I'm guessing it was a juvenile, recently fledged and still trying to beg food off it's parents. And then, there it was, gliding near the cliff edge screaming away!
My wife thought it was hilarious because I was pointing and yelling, "Look there she is, do you see her? Do you see her?!" What can I say, I was excited. And then she landed on the cliffs and I got a really good view of her with the binoculars. Unfortunately our camera isn't as good as the binoculars. As you can see, she was a ways away:
Here he is using digital zoom AND photoshop to sharpen the image...still not the greatest pic:
I could've spent the rest of the day watching her but the wife said there was hiking to be done so I finally had to put the binoculars away and go hiking. When we came back an hour later though she took off from the ledge she had been on and circled the kissing camels once before settling back on the cliff. I really wish I had a better camera!
And again with the digital zoom and photoshop:
The pics don't do her justice. She was a pretty bird!