Grand Canyon: South Rim

I decided to take a vacation from vacation and spend the day a bit differently. I started by birding the area near my room, including the woodland behind it. Before I'd gotten far, 4 Mule Deer appeared in the parking lot. Then I wandered behind the complex and worked on tracking down the mystery singer. It turned out that there were several individuals, and that they were Grace's Warblers.

The area has a nice selection of birds, some with babies or young. These include Western Bluebird and Pygmy Nuthatch. They also include Red Crossbills. A number of them were present, including youngsters being fed. The crossbills had been calling yesterday, but I didn't recognize the call. I was aware that some of the 10 crossbill call types are different enough to recognize. I didn't realize they were so different that I wouldn't recognize them as crossbills.

At 9, I joined a ranger-led fossil walk starting at Bright Angel Lodge. We walked to a an area a short distance off the rim trail that had lots of exposed limestone with fossils. We found brachiopods (some looking like ruffles potato chips), bryozoans (look like chicken bones), corals, crinoids (small donuts), and sponges.

The ranger had mentioned some pictographs a short distance down the Bright Angel Trail, pas the first tunnel. After the walk, I went down there to take a look. It didn't take long to find them. I also noted that the Bright Angel Trail is very busy!

Next, I rode the crowded bus to Hopi Point, and continued walking the rim trail. There were more people on the trail today. I wanted someplace less crowded, and cut the walk short at the Abyss. I could barely get on the next bus. It was almost full. At the next stop, there were many who weren't allowed on and had to wait for at least one more bus. The shuttle system didn't seem to have the capacity to handle the Memorial weekend crowds.

By now it was getting close to 1pm, so I headed over toward Hopi House in order to see a demonstration of Navajo dance and music.

I then returned to Maswik for a late lunch. A bit later in the day, I did some more birding starting in the woods behind the lodge. I worked my way across the railroad tracks, then across a seasonally closed road and upslope. Although I didn't find new birds, I did get a chance to watch the crossbills, who were sometimes feeding on the ground. I also got to watch one of the Grace's Warblers too. It eventually came down low and even made a brief foray to the ground.

Sunset found me on the rim hoping for some good photos, then I headed to El Tovar for a late dinner.

So far, I have found 147 bird species and 15 mammal species during the trip.

Maswik Lodge, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ