More birds from Arizona

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We saw dark-eyed junkos everywhere we went.

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I saw Steller’s jays everywhere but it was tough to get a decent picture. They were really skittish.

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Ravens were also everywhere. I don’t see them around my area in central Florida. They are like the laughing gulls of northern Arizona. Always in the tourist areas, loud, they come flying in when they see food.  They are much bigger than our fish crows.

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Looks just like our eastern bluebird but I was in the west. All About Birds says that western bluebirds have more rust in their throat than eastern ones.

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Our squirrels in Florida don’t have that rust streak on their back.

Some of the “wild” things we saw at Bearizona in northern Arizona.

Birds in a snowbowl?

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It was Fall in the mountains of Arizona. Really, it was too early for fall. Even though the weather was cool the leaves really hadn’t started to change colors yet.  A hint of yellow was all we saw. This was the drive up to the chair lift at the Arizona Snowbowl in Flagstaff. You can take the lift up to the top of the mountain in the summer to hike around and see the area around Flagstaff. I was able to spot a few birds while we were at the top.

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I think this little guy is a Hutton’s Vireo. They are not found on my side of the country. These pictures are exactly like the ones in the Stokes Birding Guide.  If anyone can confirm that would be great.

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I was hoping this was something new but I think it’s a chipping sparrow. Very common in my area.

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These are dark-eyed juncos.  Not a first for me. I have seen a few in Atlanta. I’ve never seen one in central Florida. I’m not sure if they pass through us on their way south for the winter.

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This looks like a yellow rumped warbler. Just my luck I travel across the country and see one of the most common birds in central Florida in the winter.

It was windy and cool up on top of the mountain and the birds were skittish. I managed to see a few but the wind was blowing pretty hard to get a good picture of anything. I did see a few other birds at other parks though so those pictures are coming.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing

Rainy day funny faces

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We had a rainy afternoon during our trip in Arizona. We were already out running around so we decided to head over to Bearizona. It’s a drive through zoo that’s 30 minutes away from Flagstaff. We figured at least we’d be in the car while it was raining. Most of the animals had been injured or orphaned and had found a permanent home here.  All of the animals have huge enclosures in the middle of the woods. We drove through different zones and saw bears, wolves, bison, big horn sheep and tons of other animals. You could see them wandering around in the woods. Some were eating, some were sleeping, some were playing in the drizzle. Halfway through it stopped raining so we were able to get out and walk around the smaller walk through area. I think this was one of  my favorite parts of the trip.

Saturday's Critters

“God created the Grand Canyon but He lives in Sedona.”

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“God created the Grand Canyon but He lives in Sedona.” You can find this quote here.

This was our 2nd trip to Sedona. We spent 3 days here 2 years ago. This time we spent a quick afternoon. We spent some time walking around at Red Rock State Park.  All of the above were taken there with my Nikon D7100 camera and my wide-angle lens. It was a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon and the park area was packed with people.

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These were taken with my Iphone camera,  through the windshield. We were going to stop and have a snack in the main town area but it was packed and parking was scarce so we kept going on our way to Flagstaff.

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We drove through Oak Creek Canyon on our way to Flagstaff and stopped for a walk around the Oak Creek Vista Point. We could not have asked for a more perfect day.

Skywatch Friday

Our first hike in Flagstaff

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Chapter 1 on what I did on my summer vacation.  Only it was in late September. We flew into Phoenix and drove to Sedona.  We spent an afternoon there and then went to Flagstaff for 4 days. Our first hike was to Walnut Canyon, just 20 minutes outside of Flagstaff. We hiked down the main trail and around part of the canyon, passing by the remains of homes left by Native Americans many years ago.  You can read more about the park here. It’s much smaller than the Grand Canyon but very different and fun to walk around. The 240 steps back up the cliff to the top wasn’t too bad. I’m glad I’ve been using the stairs at work a lot. We would stop and rest and look out over the canyon periodically. I took a ton of pictures so more to come.

Jeep tour in Sedona – Skywatch Friday

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The famous pink jeeps in Sedona. We were too tired from hiking so we took an afternoon tour. We had a driver that took us up into the mountains around the area.

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The view leaving downtown Sedona from the jeep.

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The locals have named all of the rock formations. This one was called Snoopy rock since it looks like Snoopy laying on top of his dog house.

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The one on the right is called Eagle since it looks like an eagle with its wings spread out.

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The carousel.

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The “cow patties” from close to the top of the mountain.

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Holiday Road – this is the view in the scene in the movie Vacation where Chevy Chase is trying to decide what to do with dead Aunt Edna (If you’re a fan of the movie, you know what scene I’m talking about. Never saw it? You have to rent it). To the left, in the middle of the mountain, you can see the dirt road winding through the mountain. We took that road up. Only four-wheel drives allowed. It was a very bumpy trip.

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The driver took this shot of us. Apparently, it’s the “standard” picture to get while you’re up there.

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Another shot of the road frequently traveled. Lots of jeeps out but it was way too much fun to pass up. Totally worth it for the two hour tour.

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On the way back to the tour place, I could just barely see the moon coming up over the red rock on the right. Perfect way to end the trip in Arizona.

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A view of Sedona – Skywatch Friday

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On the way to our rental house in Sedona.

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The view from the Chapel of the Holy Cross.

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You can just barely see the moon coming up on the right of the two fingers.

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The Chapel of the Holy Cross. It was build right into the side of the rock.

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The view of Sedona taken from the airport.

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The road back down from the airport. Taken in the car. Sedona has a small private airport but you can drive up to it and walk around outside.

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One night we drove down to Cottonwood which was about 30 minutes south of Sedona for dinner. We could see the smoke coming from the big wildfires in Prescott nearby.

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The view from the golf course at Seven Canyons Resort.

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A panorama taken with my Iphone while sitting on the golf cart waiting for hubby to tee off. The view from every hole was amazing. I’m not a golfer but it was perfect morning to ride along in the cart.

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Another hole at the golf course. One of the few places we saw water. Sedona was having a drought and the short rainy season didn’t start until July. Every creek was dried up.

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Last shot of the day.

“God created the Grand Canyon but lives in Sedona”. I had read that somewhere there. Coming from flat Florida, the rock formations were amazing.  They were everywhere. And looked different from every angle. The big things to do in Sedona are hiking, camping, golfing or spa stuff. We didn’t do a lot of long hikes since we were still tired from hiking in the Grand Canyon. I did get a little tired of being dusty all the time.  Since there was a drought, dirt swirled around everywhere we went. The only grass I saw was on the golf course. It’s weird seeing all dirt in people’s yards. Although, hubby said it’s really no different from always being sweaty all of the time in Florida. Which is what we did as soon as we stepped out of the airport back home. Unloading the luggage at 11pm and I was already sweaty.

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Hiking the Grand Canyon

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Our 2nd day in Arizona we got up early and headed out to do more sight-seeing at the Grand Canyon. We decided to hike down the 3 mile trail. That’s 1 and a half down and 1 and a half back up. It’s barely half way down in this canyon.

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This was the view as we started down. We brought plenty of water and snacks (apples, nuts and granola bars).

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A little farther down it started to feel like we were getting into the canyon. The scary thing was as we were quickly walking down, people were on their way back up and they looked rough. Everyone looked exhausted and hot. I was thinking “That’s going to be us soon.”

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A little ways down, you can see Jerry across the canyon in the blue tshirt. He was taking pictures of us taking pictures of him.

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After an hour, you can see the trail we have still have to wind down. Someone at the beginning of the trail had told me to take lots of pictures going down because you won’t feel like it going back up. Boy, were they right.

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Still going down.

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Hubby, Beth and Jerry where ahead of me  most of the time since I kept stopping to take pictures. Here they are down the trail.

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Some parts were really narrow. No railing. I can’t even image riding a donkey down this trail. We didn’t see any on trail the day we were there.

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Under one of the rock formations.

Hubby and I made it almost all the way down. We turned around right before the end and started heading back up. By then my knees were so wobbly and shaky. Going up was hard. It was a steep incline on the bottom half of the trail. We’d stop every 10 minutes and rest and drink water. As people passed us on the way down they would give us that “Am I going to look like that coming back up?” look. We did the same thing going down. There was a constant stream of people going up and down.  After resting a while when we got back up to the top I wasn’t as tired as I thought I would be. We walked around the area, looking around the hotel and shops at the top of the rim. Later in the day we got back in the car and headed for Sedona.

Sunset at the Grand Canyon – Skywatch Friday

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Our first day at the Grand Canyon and we had to stay for sunset. Right before dark we made our way down to the last look out point at the south rim, Hermit’s Point. The sun going down on the canyon was beautiful even though it created a lot of shadows.

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This time of the year the sun goes down far to the left so it was not as perfect as I had wanted.

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I struggled to get the canyon visible in the sunset shot. You can just barely see the Colorado river to the right. It’s weird how perfectly flat the top of the grand canyon looks. It’s like someone took a ruler and cut it off flat on the top. (Yes, I do know who that someone is.)

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Everyone getting that last shot. That’s Beth in the white sweater on the left, focusing to get the perfect shot.

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Almost down.

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A teeny bit more to go.

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Only a sliver left. Once it was dark, we hopped back on the shuttle bus back to the parking lot. I climbed in the back seat of our rental car and was going to try to take a nap on the way back to Flagstaff. The road was bumpy so I barely dozed. I had been on two planes early that morning to get there so I was tired but used up every second of daylight at the canyon. About a half an hour back to Flagstaff I felt the car come to a stop. It was after 9:30 at this point. I opened my eyes and looked up and saw a large elk with beautiful antlers slowly walking across the two lane road. He stopped for a second and looked at the car. No one else was on the road.  We all sat there silently for a few seconds as he walked across and then he darted into the woods on the other side. I broke the silence by saying “Did I just dream that?” It was quite a moment. Hubby was like “Where’s your camera? Why didn’t you take a picture?” It was already packed up for the night and the elk was gone so fast. It was kind of nice to just enjoy the moment on our first night in Arizona.

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