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Jake has wrapped up a successful Arizona and Utah tour

September 30: Jake has wrapped up a successful Arizona and Utah tour

We just wrapped up the WINGS tour through northern Arizona and southwestern Utah. Over 2,000 miles of canyon country were explored from the cactus-studded slopes around Phoenix to the flexible limber pine trees at 9,000 feet in Bryce Canyon National Park.

Our group overlooking Bryce Canyon’s famous Amphitheatre.

In the 100 plus degree temperatures we decided to work the shoreline of Roosevelt Lake. We pulled close to the edge and within minutes a juvenile Sabine’s Gull landed just offshore. As we were trying to document the gull another bird slowly came to rest on the water right next to the gull. It was a complete surprise juvenile Long-tailed Jeager!

This Long-tailed Jeager found on tour, a first for Gila County.

California Condors were a highlight on this tour as we documented nine birds over 3 days. It was great to see this many of a species once on the verge of extinction. At one point we even saw a Condor set amongst throngs of other scavengers all waiting patiently for this big bird to open up the recently deceased.

A California Condor casts a long shadow.

The rushing waters of the Virgin River cut down through Zion Canyon with precision. We enjoyed strolling along the water’s edge and eventually found what we were searching for. An American Dipper was unusually approachable as we watched it foraging through the ripples.

American Dipper fed slowly amongst Zion’s cliffs.

Any and all migrant traps were checked and some of them were very productive. Flocks of warblers including Hermit, many sparrows including many Vesper, and singles of flycatchers such as Hammond’s were all utilizing these lush oases.

We saw several Hammond’s Flycatchers at migrant traps.

Posted: September 30, 2021