We continued along the ridge top looking for the crack to drop down in to look for those Black
Vulture chicks. Once we found it and made out approach, a large Black Vulture flew out of the crack and landed near by in a tree. A good sign! Tom dropped down first, and peered into the recess, "Eggs!," he said. I gave him the camera, and came down too. There is no nest, just the eggs laid on the sandy soil. There was a foul odor back by the eggs, sure to get worse once those chicks hatch. We exited the crack, and walked along the cliff face a ways and sat down to see the adult vulture return. (Both the male and the female vulture incubates the eggs.) It returned, and we decided to check on the Great Horned Owl nest.
That was way easier said than done! Instead of making our way back to the ridge top and then dropping down again, we cut across - no, we pushed our way through the bottom, then up again to the cliff where the owl nest was. During this trek we got up close and personal with witch hazel, spice bush, jack-in-the-pulpit, wild ginger, ferns, poison ivy, jewlweed, greenbrier, multiflora rose, rubus, and unfortunately, lots and lots of garlic mustard.
Anyway, at the nest site it was clear that the owl babies were fledged and long gone. Left behind was nature's version of a CSI episode! Bones, feathers, and fur were littered all along the ground, cliff and in the nest. We were able to identify feathers from a bluejay, crow, flicker, and brown thrasher.
So ended that adventure for the day. The really cool thing is, stuff like this happens all the time in nature, you just have to slow down and watch for it!