Oak Creek Canyon

For my first stop today, I drove to Oak Creek Canyon, which runs from about 15 miles south of Flagstaff to near Sedona. The Cave Springs Campgound was quite birdy and produced two trip birds: Acorn Woodpecker and Painted Redstart. I also found some calling Cordilleran Flycatchers. This doesn't add to the total, since I had previously seen a Western (Cordilleran or Pacific-slope) Flycatcher, but does pin down the species.

I continued down to Sedona, then returned to Flagstaff. Then it was on to Walnut Canyon National Monument, which is another monument created to protect Indian ruins. They have two trails where you can view ruins, the Island and Rim Trails. Needless to say, I walked both. The island trail goes down into the canyon and runs around a formation called the island. Structurally, it reminds me a bit of the peninsula at Horseshoe Bend, albeit on a smaller scale. However, its origin is apparently different, involving a stream blockage.

My other planned stop was Meteor Crater, about 30 miles east of Flagstaff. I've been intrigued by this place since I was a kid, and sometimes have seen it from the air on flights west. I think I first saw it from the air in January 1986. Now I'm finally here! The crater is privately owned, and they do not allow public access to the bottom. However, you can get a good view of the crater and walk some stairs up to the rim. They do have organized rim walks, but I did not stay long enough for that.

I had some extra time left in the day, so I checked some possible birding areas near Flagstaff. Kachina Wetlands, a created wetlands south of town, added another species to the list: Bank Swallow. It's a little surprising, but it flew by twice and I got a very good look. There was also a Sora calling from the wetlands.

So far, I have found 150 bird species and 16 mammal species during the trip.

Little America Hotel, Flagstaff, AZ