Thursday, May 16, 2013

May 6-14 2013 Final Blog of this Journey - We Are Home In Time To Vote

Since the last blog we have travelled to Show Low and Fools Hollow Arizona, the Grand Canyon and Valley of Fire Nevada.  Unfortunately we had no access to wifi so this blog will incorporate all points.

Fools Hollow was a nice campsite and I am sorry we only had one day there.  We realized Petrified Forest was very close so we decided to spend the day there instead of Fools Hollow and the town of Show Low.

Pygmy Nuthatch in Fools Hollow campsite.

We stopped at Fools Hollow on a tip from Colin Classen.  He suggested we may find tree cavity nesting Purple Martins here.   As we spent little time birding here, we found no Martins but did see a few Violet Green Swallows.  Thanks for the tip Colin.  It was a great area to visit.

Some of the geological features of Petrified Forest National Park.

This looks like water flowing but is actually an ancient river bed.

We are now in the Grand Canyon where we spent two full days searching for the California Condor.

Our trailer is surrounded by stampeding Elk in Grand Canyon Trailer Village.

The first evening at Grand Canyon I couldn't wait to get the setting sun and I wasn't the only one.

White-throated Swift.  It was like trying to photograph a speeding bullet.

Flying Orca. 
We went the Grand Canyon to find the California Condor.  On the first day we saw one soaring in a group of Turkey Vultures as we we were heading home in the bus.  Buses are the way to see the Canyon.  They are included in the entrance fee and the only way to get to points along the rim.  We would bus to a point and then hike to the next point to catch the next bus which would run every 15 minutes.  The second day we had hiked a trail along the rim and were waiting for a bus to take us to another point.  We were sitting facing the road when I said to Dian we should be facing the Canyon if we want to see any Condors.  So we turned around and faced north.  Shortly we heard the bus,  stood up and faced the road again.  Then I saw this Condor coming from the south.  I yelled "Condor" and started snapping pictures.  There were about 15 other people waiting for the bus.  Half of them got on the bus and the rest joined us as we raced to the rim to watch this magnificent bird glide over head.  There were actually two Condors but I  only saw the second one when I lowered my camera.  We watched them as one went east and the other west.  It was exciting to have so many people join us in watching them and then willing to wait 15 minutes for the next bus.  If the bus hadn't arrived just then we probably would have missed them.

Western Bluebirds were common in the Grand Canyon campsite. 
Valley Of Fire Nevada.  Hot and beautiful scenery.

We only spent a day here.  I now wish we would have tried harder for Sage Sparrow which was advertised in the brochure which I read as we were ready to leave.

Valley Of Fire

Valley Of Fire

Jack Rabbit at Valley Of Fire.  The sun shining through its' ears reveals its' cooling system.  Looks like elephants aren't the only ones using their ears to cool their blood.

It was a great 2 month trip with excellent weather.  We started in Palm Springs and spent most of our time in Southeast Arizona.  We totalled 18 lifers with the Condors being the most exciting even though not countable.  Red-faced,  Rufous-crowned, Hermit, Virginia and Grace's warblers were right up there also.  Thanks for looking.

That is the final entry for this blog.  Scroll down for previous entries.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

May 3- May 5 2013 Sierra Vista etc. Last blog before we head north.

Our time in the Sierra Vista area is winding down.  Here is a link to our Rv Park;
It is a little late but I have finally figured out how to put a link to a map of interest.
Coming home today we saw the border patrol apprehending about 7-8 Mexicans that had come through the mountains.  This is about 5 miles from the RV Park.  Got to remember to lock the door.

Least Grebe.  Seen on our second visit to Pena Blanca Lake west of Rio Rico.

No trip to the southwest would be complete without some Roadrunner shots.  

Most Roadrunners we saw were running the other way.  This one came to me.

Cienegas grassland area close to Sonoita.  
Inca Dove San Pedro
We were all done birding for the day when we read a report of a White-eared Hummingbird at Beattys.    We hopped into the truck and headed out for one last twitch before we head out to Show Low Az. tomorrow.
Swamp Sparrow at San Pedro House.
 Lincoln's Sparrow.    Taken on the San Pedro River.

A wierd Cinnamon Teal at Pena Blanca.

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

May 2 2013 Carr Canyon

Carr Canyon is one of the accesses to the Huachuca Mountain high habitats along with Ramsey, Miller  and Ash Canyons.  We were told this is the place for Buff-breasted Flycatchers.  We were not told the condition of the road though.  I don't think we have travelled anything more "exciting" in our travels.
Narrow, rough, loose rocks and 2000 feet above the valley to an altitude of 7200? feet.  It was worth the trip.  We didn't get many pictures but we did get 3 lifers.

View from the top.  High winds in the valley stirred up the desert sands making the sky murky.

This is the best view I could produce of the road up.  A road best travelled with a 4x4 or a rental car.

Not a very sharp image of a Bushtit. They seem lighter shade than ours in British Columbia.

We were worried we may not find a Buff-breasted Flycatcher but they were numerous above 7000 feet.

I never really got a good shot of the Buff-breasted as they were always high up or in the shade.

Speaking of being far away and high up-so was the Greater Pewee.

Hermit Warbler.  The only half decent picture I got.

Finally-a Graces Warbler

Graces Warbler

Graces Warbler.  Another bird we have been searching for.  The high country is well worth a trip for birds we don't get to see down in the valley.

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