Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Grand Canyon Birds- April 2010

Peregrine Falcon photographed at 4:10 MST on the first day.

We drove the 383 miles to the Grand Canyon with three purposes in mind. The first was to photograph the sunset on day one of the two day trip. The second was to locate at least one California Condor and get a picture if possible. The third and final purpose was to photograph sunrise on the morning of the second day. We arrived at noon after a six hour drive from Tucson, checked into our hotel and decided to walk along the rim trail and take some pictures even though mid day is not really a great time to get good pictures. We took quite a long walk along the rim enjoying the view on a really beautiful day.
Around 2:00 we decided that we were both starving and headed to the cafeteria for lunch/supper and to take a break from the abundant sunshine.
After eating we headed to the Yavapi Overlook on the advice of one of the rangers who told us this would be a great place to photograph the sunset which was at 7:45 P.M.. This would give us quite a bit of time to bird watch and look for the condors.

At Approximately 6:00 P.M. I spotted the kettle of condors far below the point. I counted 12, maybe more but because of the distance and seeing them from above instead of below I wasn't 100% sure of my identification. It was an impressive sight none the less and I was convinced I had it right due to the size even at a distance of the birds. It wasn't until one of them got close enough for me to see the numbering tags on it's wings that I was convinced.

Information on the California Condor Recovery Project can be found at:

Even though these shots don't show allot I included them just to show numbers.

Turkey vultures are about half the size of the California Condor which has a wing span of 9 1/2 to 10 feet. Condors do not tilt to the side in flight like the turkey vulture does.

A few Western Bluebirds were around and are always a treat to see up close.

Common Ravens were, well common but very entertaining.

We saw quite a few Black-throated Gray Warblers who were easy to spot because they always seem to be singing.

We also spotted this Pygmy Nuthatch bringing nesting material to it home. We also saw Stellar Jays, Tufted Titmice, Common Crows Red-tailed Hawk and lots of swallows.

Tomorrow I will post the pictures from the first evening which was the sunset.

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