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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Arizona Trip Day 1 and 2

Grand Canyon State Tour
     Two days before we left for Arizona, the Media area was clobbered with 14" of snow. However, by our departure date, everything was on time at the airport and we arrived at Ontario, CA airport on schedule. We decided to fly there because after our Arizona travels we would be staying in California for another 21 days at Edwards Air Force Base. Our trip started in Lake Havasu the next morning. We headed to the Bill Williams NWR at the southern end of Lake Havasu in search of the Blue-footed Booby that has been staying there since November. But before that we stopped at Parker dam and found large flocks of Greater Scaup and among the Double-crested Cormorants were a few Neotropic Cormorants. Once we arrived at the refuge it didn't take long to find the booby perched on an island not too far from shore. It was an immature bird and didn't have the bright blue feet but it was obviously the bird we were seeking.
Nutting's Flycatcher
     Not more than three 3 miles away there was another life bird to be found. On Planet Ranch Road at mile marker #2, a Nutting's Flycatcher has made an appearance for the second winter in a row. When Sharon and I arrived, we almost immediately heard the "wheep" call down the road a bit. I ran down to the spot and Sharon brought the car down. By the time Sharon got to me I had located the bird and we both had nice long views of the bird, but it was extremely difficult to get a good photo of the bird with my little point and shoot camera. 
     We then drove up to Lake Havasu City in search of lunch and a Brown Booby which we could not find. Instead we found the actual London Bridge which was built in 1831 and formerly spanned the River Thames in London, England until it was dismantled in 1967 and relocated from London to Lake Havasu City. 
          We did find Great-tailed Grackles, Common and Barrow's Goldeneyes, and the coolest thing was to watch the Clark's Grebes running across the water while doing their mating dance.
      That night we traveled to the town of Cameron and stayed at the Cameron Trading Post which is where the reported Rufous-backed Robin was being seen. So at sunrise the next morning we searched the little courtyard for about two hours looking for the rare bird. Below is the closest thing we could find.

American Robin instead of Rufous-backed Robin
       After an unsuccessful hunt for the robin, we drove an hour to the Grand Canyon National Park hoping to see the California Condors. Once again we missed our target birds because I didn't do my research and found out that the condors move out of the canyon and head north to the lower elevations to get to warmer climates.  Oh, well, at least the views were spectacular.

      The high elevation on the ridge of the canyon provided some different types of birds. We saw Western Scrub-Jay, Dark-eyed Junco (Gray-headed and Oregon forms), Juniper Titmouse and Mountain Chickadees.

Juniper Titmouse

Oregon (left) and Gray-headed (right) Junco

Western Scrub-Jay

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