Monday, September 8, 2014
Kaibab Plateau, Arizona
Starting on Labor Day, Chuck Hoppe and I took a 5 day vacation to visit my cousin in Utah and we began the first day with an early start and arrived in the Kaibab Plateau area near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Jacob Lake and the North Rim and the highway between the 2 areas provided the content for this first post.
Jacob Lake had an abundant amount of Red Crossbills and provided some of my best photo opportunities for this bird I have ever had. As their name suggests, they have a crossed bill tip, which they use to extract seeds from various pine cones. They are erratic wanderers and often are found in various places as they wander about searching for their favorite food sources. The adult males are red, but younger males have varying amounts of red mixed with yellows, golds and even olive green. This was quite evident in the photos along with their unique crossed bill tips.
Red Crosbill in front and Western Bluebird in the back
Other birds that were seen in and around Jacob Lake included the Pygmy Nuthatch, Western Bluebird, American Robin, and Pine Siskin.
Western Bluebird in the wind
A visit to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon produced a very inquisitive and cooperative Warbling Vireo. For a few minutes it was playing hard to get, but not leaving the tree it was foraging in. With patience, it finally came to the front and allowed several nice photos.
Also had a Willow Flycatcher making a brief appearance. Since it did not want to show itself well, the identification took a bit longer as some of those flycatchers can be a difficult bird to get a correct identification, especially if it is one of the several Empidonix flycatchers
As we headed back to Jacob Lake for the first night, the local herd of Bison were seen from the road, which created a fitting ending for day one of this 5 day trip.