Northern Arizona's Colorado Plateau is well known for its unrivaled beauty of canyons, mountains, pine forests, and Red Rock formations, as well as the Painted Desert and the spectacular Grand Canyon. On this short tour, based in the cool pines of Flagstaff at an elevation of 7000 feet, we will visit these breath-taking habitats in search of high-desert and mountain specialties, many not normally encountered in southern Arizona. Within short drives of Flagstaff we'll encounter birds from the southern Arizona deserts, the Rocky Mountains, and the Great Basin desert of the north. Such species as Common Black-Hawk, Red-faced Warbler, and Painted Redstart reach the northern limits of their ranges here, while some Rocky Mountain birds such as Dusky Flycatcher, Clark's Nutcracker, and MacGillivray's Warbler breed no farther south, and Pinyon Jays and Gray Vireos are found in the Transition zone.
During our four full days of birding we'll search for these species along with Zone-tailed Hawk, Lewis's Woodpecker, Williamson's Sapsucker, American Three-toed Woodpecker, Gray and Cordilleran flycatchers, Mountain Bluebird, Green-tailed Towhee, and Black-chinned Sparrow along with more widespread western birds. We'll explore the Red Rock area of Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona, the San Francisco Peaks, Arizona's highest mountains at 12,600 feet, and visit the Grand Canyon, where we'll seek the majestic California Condor which was returned to the wild here in 1996 and has successfully nested on nearly inaccessible ledges of the canyon.
John Coons has lived in Flagstaff for more than thirty years. His enthusiasm and love for the area has caused some to ask if he is on the payroll of the Flagstaff promotional board!
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