Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Grand Happenings

The Grand Canyon is a national symbol.  It's an international sensation full of loud tourists who all come to witness this incredible landscape from picnic tables and parking lots while eating their 10 dollar ice cream cones.  But we weren't there to look at the canyon or rocks.  We were there to find the two nesting pairs of the very rare Californian Condors.  We grabbed our camelbacks and began our 7 mile hike along the rim checking out all the nooks and crannies trying to avoid the crowds.  And most of the time, it worked.
Now most of the tourists were oblivious to the wildlife hiding in the trees etc.  They sped quickly in their motor cars past elk, birds and other incredible things. WHITE THROATED SWIFT!!!
White-throated Swift
And back to.......beautiful........canyons.......cooler weather.....people watching..........back to hike.
Along the way, we'd stop to take a break noting large numbers of Mountain Chickadees staring back at us.
Mountain Chickadee
I tried to resist the urge to take shots but that's impossible when you're at the Grand Canyon.
I'm not one for heights nor standing close to the edges.

But I had to do this so that I could scan the cliffs......
                                                  this curious ring captured King Tuzigoot's attention.
It was a memorial to a person who had died at the Grand Canyon.
While we were there, Western Scrub Jays ruled the airways.  I loved seeing a new type of jay besides our Mexican Jay variety but it made me miss them.  Does this happen to you?  Do you sometimes miss your backyard birds?
Western Scrub Jay
Tourists fed these jays. And they gladly ate.
After all was said and done, we had a nice list of birds.  I dipped yet again on the Condors but that just gives me a reason to return:) Our bird count is below....

Turkey Vulture  3

Cooper's Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
White-throated Swift  10
Pinyon Jay  2
Western Scrub-Jay  12
Common Raven  15
Violet-green Swallow  1
Mountain Chickadee  16
White-breasted Nuthatch  3
Pygmy Nuthatch  3
Western Bluebird  1
Spotted Towhee  4
Dark-eyed Junco  10
Dark-eyed Junco (Gray-headed)  10
Brewer's Blackbird  1
House Finch  6
Red Crossbill  2
I'm linking up with Stewart's Wild Bird Wednesday


  1. I have yet to see the grand canyon. It is on my bucket list. The pictures are very nice. I notice the jays in the mountains pretty much expect to be fed, so I am guessing the same happens there.

  2. I've gotta get up there again. I think the last time I was there was in the 80's. Every photo is so beautiful.

  3. gorgeous scenery! the memorial was sweet... loved the naturalness of it.

  4. Que maravilla de cañones.. Son un lujo para la vista.. Qué suerte poder admirar esto.. Un saludillo desde España..

  5. Widok kanionów jest niesamowity i ptaki tam spotkane, śliczne. Jeleń też jest piekny. Pozdrawiam.
    View canyons is amazing and the birds met there, beautiful. Deer is also beautiful. Yours.

  6. You'll just have to return to the Grand Canyon. This time the quieter North Rim. But I can't guarantee a condor sighting.

  7. Such an amazing place. We're hoping to return there next year!

  8. Sorry about missing the Condor but, you have a nice list of birds and saw some beautiful scenery. The Grand Canyon is an awesome place to visit. Love the jay and the elk. Did you get shots of the Pygmy Nuthatch, I have never seen one? Great report and post, Chris!

    1. I sure did Eileen. I'll send them your way:)

  9. We loved the Grand Canyon --but the tourists about drove me insane... We made the mistake of going there in JUNE --and the Japanese tourists came by the busloads. AND--they were rude and would walk right over us --or try to!!!! As much as I love seeing that glorious canyon, it was not our favorite part of that trip that year!!!!

    You all did see LOTS of birds regardless of the tourists... Wow!!!!! I'm impressed.


  10. I wasn't yet into birdwatching when I visited. Now I see all that I missed and am kicking myself. Great shots.

  11. The Grand Canyon is surely in our list to visit some day!!!Amazing views so well captured and looks like a great place for birdwatching too.Have a great day!


  12. That looks and sounds like a great day out Chris, but leaving the door open for another visit. Don't you just love being a birder and seeing what most people don't see? I do.

  13. Nice list and it looks like you had a great trip!

  14. Great shots Chris - glad you managed to see some wildlife despite the tourists! I usually find they huddle round the nearest car park at such places and if you walk a while you can soon get away from them :)

    Loved the photos in your last post too :)

  15. The shots of the jay are great - and to even get a swift in the frame is good going!

    Nice post.

    Cheers and thanks for linking to WBW.

    Stewart M - Melbourne

  16. An excellent post, as always, Chris.

    We have the same problem with tourist attractions over here (although we've nothing that remotely matches the Grand Canyon!!). I know I'm going to sound like a grumpy old man now (probably because I am one!), but the worst are those that you can hear 15 minutes before they arrive, often (but not exclusively) kids - why do they have to shout at each other when the only sounds that they are competing with are birdsong, the rustling of leaves, and burbling of running water?. This is whay I'm lucky to be retired, and able to do my birdwatching away from the weekends.

    On a positive note, this super post of yours has reminded me that a visit to the Grand Canyon has yet to be ticked off my bucket list! Thank you.

  17. I don't think you ever get to the point where you feel you've seen enough of the Grand Canyon. Uh oh, time to return :) Great photos Chris.

  18. Wow! You did get a great bird count while you were there. Have you ever watched the movie "The Big Year" about bird counting? It really made me smile!

  19. A beautiful place, I really enjoyed my visit there, thanks for sharing these pictures, it takes me back.

  20. Hi Chris :-) What a great list of birds! Lovely photos too. It really does look a very impressive place. There are many places here which I avoid at times due to the huge amount of visitors particularly at weekends.

    Love the Western Scrub Jays! I have the DVD of the film Esther Joy mentions, its great stuff!

  21. Love the Grand Canyon and in my opinion, photos just really do not do justice to this magnificent place. I have always hoped for a Condor sighting on one of my trips, but it has eluded me as well. I am impressed with the photo of the White-throated Swift! Great job!

  22. Lovely shots. Maybe a condor will be waiting on your next trip?!

  23. Thank you for sharing your visit to a truly beautiful location! Nice list of birds!

  24. When we went to the Canyon last August I was determined to get some great shots in all different light...plus we wanted to share the Canyon with our Grandson who had never seen it. Unfortunately we only had a couple of hours in one day, and the decision was made to move on to Mogollon the next instead of getting back to the Canyon. Which turned out fine, but I regretted that lost opportunity. I didn't get very many photos that were worth anything, and we didn't see the Condors either, which we looked for. But I guess it would have been like winning the lottery under the circumstances! :-) Your shots are awesome!


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