Thursday, 15 October 2015

Horeshoe Bend To Monument Valley - 26.8.15

Horseshoe Bend
We started off the day at the spectacular Horseshoe Bend. Whilst taking in the view I also picked up a Rock Wren, Loggerhead Shrike, 4 Turkey Vulture and a Peregrine.

White-Breasted Nuthatch
The next stop was the Navajo Monument reserve and its amazing caves. We didn't have too long here so we quickly walked the length of the boardwalk out to view across a valley. There built into a large cave/hole in the side of the cliff face were a number of dirt built buildings which the Navajo tribe used to live in. After taking in the views Carey headed off for the loo and to eat her lunch while I took a slow walk back to see what birds were around! The first birds I came across reminded me of our Long-Tailed Tit in the way a small group would move while constantly calling. But our here they were a group of 6 BUSHTIT! I watched them till they flew off and quickly got onto a showy White-Headed Nuthatch. A bit further along the path 2 hummingbirds flew by chasing each other. Thankfully they stopped long enough for me to get a look at them through the bins and ID them as my first BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD.

A fuel stop in the town of Kayenta allowed a leg stretch and got me another lifer when a BAND-TAILED PIGEON flew in and landed on a fence post.

The Storm!
Don't try to do a panoramic photo when a car drives past!
Traditional Dance Before Dinner
Our destination for today was Monument Valley and dinner with the Navajos. All was going well until we were about 20 miles from the visitor centre when I noticed in the distance a ominous storm cloud! As the miles passed the storm grew bigger and grew closer to us! We arrived and parked up and coming right for us was a huge thunderstorm that had all the hallmarks of a tornado producing storm cell! It had a shelf cloud at the front and a wall cloud at the back but unfortunately it didn't produce the hoped for tornado which would have been another box ticked on my bucket list! In the end it just chucked it down with rain as we were having a look around the gift shop! It did however produce a lovely rainbow which angled itself perfectly with one of the monuments. This storm was one of many to hit us that day and typically for us our dinner was in the middle of nowhere only reached by another open top metal box truck! Again we got wet and were waiting to be hit by a bolt of lightning but by the time we arrived at an amazing cavern with a hole in the roof and our guide gave us a traditional song it had dried up and a great evening was had by all including a delicious Taco!

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