Thursday, 15 October 2015

Bryce To Lake Powell + Antelope Canyon - 25.8.15

The Ex-MacGillivray's Warbler
After a good sleep and not so good breakfast we got our bags and walked outside to the van. While waiting for the others I walked over to view the small lake opposite the hotel but all I could find on it were 10 American Coot! I wandered back to the van and still waiting for the stragglers I looked over to something on the ground under one of the hotel windows. On closer inspection I found it was a MacGillivray's Warbler! I was seriously tempted to sneak it on board and attempt to get it home as it'd be a great addition to my small stuffed birds collection! Unfortunately we had a few more days to go and without any kind of refrigeration it would have started to smell! Such a shame as it's the only one of its species I've seen!

We were on the road again and as we passed through the town of Muddy Creek I looked out the window and there in a grassy field were 7 WILD TURKEY! I was hoping to see them but wasn't holding out much hope!

Barn Used In Outlaw Jose Wales!
 Our first stop was in Kanab,UT where we were dropped off to look around a film set prop collection shop as the driver went to get fuel. Here I had a Hairy Woodpecker fly in and land on a telegraph pole and a House Finch.

Lake Powell
Praying Mantis
We eventually arrived at Lake Powell which is a man made lake used for the creation of electricity through a rather large dam. The coastline of the lake is longer than the coast of both east and west coasts of USA put together! But before that we stopped off for lunch and as I came out of the loo I nearly trod on a Praying Mantis! After rescuing it out of the way I realised it'd have been kinder to tread on it as its head was hanging off most likely the after effects of mating with a female? This was the first one I'd come across. Bird wise 7 Mourning Dove and 15 Great-Tailed Grackle was the total and on this enormous lake all I could muster up were 3 Mallard!

Antelope Canyon
Either the face of a Lion or turn your head to the left and see a Heart!
After a few people had had a swim in the lake we set off for Antelope Canyon. Before our journey there we watched a native Indian doing a hoop dance which was pretty impressive albeit in a dis-used fuel station! We then climbed aboard our open top, metal framed tour truck and headed towards the canyon. It was reached by driving up a dried up river bed which kicked up a bit of sand. Luckily we had been warned and were all wearing rather fetching bandanas over our faces! Another guide then lead us through the sandstone canyon that over the years had been sculpted into amazing shapes by wind and water erosion. Every now and then we stopped as she told us to look at this bit here as it was the shape of something ranging from a person to one of the monuments in monument valley. At one stop she showed us a pile of sand that was about 4ft high. Apparently that's where the floor was 3 weeks previously but after a flash flood 4ft of sand was washed out! She insisted that we'd be fine so long as it didn't rain. Walking on a bit further we came across a GREAT HORNED OWL. They breed in the canyon and we saw at least 3 empty nests. That was a nice surprise! We reached the far end of the canyon and were confronted by dark grey skies and thunder and lightning! After the mention of flash floods we beat a hasty retreat back to the van but no sooner had we set off the wind picked up to gale force and the rain fell. Stopping to open and lock the main gate was a bit hairy as the sand we had kicked up from the van was now racing towards us faster than we could drive! We made it out onto the main road to see we were surrounded by storms of both rain and sand. After a worrying drive in what was basically an open metal cage we arrived back to the companies base and went next door for dinner covered in sand! Slightly scary but strangely fun at the same time! And after watching the you tube videos we were told about regarding the flash flooding I certainly wouldn't want to have been there if it happened!

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