Thursday, 15 October 2015

Grand Canyon - 28.8.15

Cedar Waxwing
Western Tanager
Western Wood Peewee
California Condor
A few of the group chose to get up at silly o'clock and walk part way down into the canyon but the 2 of us opted for a more leisurely day. We got dropped off at the visitor centre and as soon as we turned the corner a small group of birds took flight and landed in a small tree. I lifted my bins and there in front of me were 8 Cedar Waxwing! Always a great start to the day. We then caught the shuttle bus up to the start of the southern rim walk. The walk was about 3 miles to where we wanted to go and of course during the walk I had one or two looks at the birdlife! 2 Pink-Sided Junco got things rolling along with 4 Western Scrub Jay and 2 Pygmy Nuthatch. I then saw a movement ahead of me and out popped a BEWICK'S WREN. 3 more Zone-Tailed Hawk circled over before a Hairy Woodpecker called loudly from the other side of the road. As I was watching 3 Bushtit and a female Black-Chinned Humming bird I was alerted to some hirundines overhead and after a few seconds I picked up 6 VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW as they headed west along the south rim. We carried on our walk and I noted the following along the way. Mountain Chickadee, 6 Western Bluebird, Juniper Titmouse and a White-Breasted Nuthatch. We then arrived at Hopi Point where a couple of years earlier my mum had been lucky enough to have a California Condor fly over. So with this info I put my bag in the shade and waited. I then waited some more until 3 hours had passed! The wait wasn't too bad as in that time I had seen a female Western Tanager, Rock Wren, 10 White-Throated Swift, Red-Breasted Nuthatch, Northern Flicker and 2 WESTERN WOOD PEEWEE. With no sign of any condors we headed back to the visitor centre. I had wanted to go to the condor talk by a ranger but after spending so long not seeing one I just wanted to head back to the hotel. Plus we couldn't find where the talk was! We got off the shuttle bus and bumped into two of the group who were going to the talk and thy showed us on the map where it was. Right where we had just left! With this we joined them and arrived just after it had started. About 5 minutes in a lady asked do condors fly that high? I looked round to see an enormous bird of prey flying in towards us! I stood up and got it in my bins and shouted It Is A Condor!! Surprisingly only a few people got up to watch it but then it swung round out of view behind a building. While watching it the ranger said as you're up you can help me out. She gave me the end of a tape measure and pulled it to show how big the wingspan was while I had my bins in the other hand trying watch the bird. According to Phillip from our group it was hilarious to watch! We settled back to the talk but just then the bird returned in front of us circled and landed on a rock just off from where we were sat. I and a few others then gave up on the talk and took in the view of this ugly giant! My first CALIFORNIA CONDOR. A couple of mammal ticks were seen too with Mountain Longhorn and a cracking male Elk on the drive out.

No comments:

Post a Comment