Thursday, 5 June 2014

Return to California and Arizona - Part 2

Following our leg in California we flew from San Francisco to Las Vegas, we had considered driving this leg but with Tobias in tow we thought it easier to fly. We spent the first night in Las Vegas seeing the sites that the city has to offer which in my opinion are pretty limited and reminiscent of a giant arcade-come-theme-park - pretty trashy! So after escaping Vegas we headed to the Grand Canyon with a short stop at Hoover Dam during the five hour drive. We spent much of the following day at the Grand Canyon in awe of the shear scale of it. A few birds were seen but they were pretty elusive in the pine forests flanking the canyon with the highlights being Juniper Titmouse and Black-throated Grey Warbler.

Grand Canyon (obviously!)

We then moved on to the Mojave Desert where there were two possible ticks and also the sight of the Joshua Trees for Sarah. After spending the night in a dive of a hotel at Primm Valley we started early to avoid the desert heat. The first tick fell fairly quickly with good but a little distant views of a male Gilded Flicker. Other desert birds included smart Black-throated Sparrow, Verdin, Cactus Wren, Scott's Oriole and Bendire's Thrasher. The walks through the largest Joshua Tree forest on Earth at the Mojave National Preserve Loop were outstanding. However, the final tick was to elude me until the final minutes of our time in the desert but after a last blast of the tape a Le Conte's Thrasher hopped onto a Joshua Tree long enough to get a decent scope view and then we were off back to Vegas for a final night before our flight back to san Francisco and then home - three ticks and a splendid first 'big' family holiday under the belt.

Black-throated Sparrow

Joshua Trees on Cima Dome, Mojave National Preserve
Scott's Oriole (adult female)
Cactus Wren
Venice at the end of our trip, oops no, its cheesy Vegas!

Part 1 of this post can be viewed here.