Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Birding in Arizona - Day 5, Sedona to Flagstaff

Wednesday started well enough.  We headed up the Oak Creek Canyon road towards Flagstaff, with a number of stops planned along the way.  Unfortunately at the very first stop Helen tore her right calf muscle, severely.  It became quickly apparent she was unable to walk and in a lot of pain.  We'd checked out of our hotel in Sedona so I took a gamble and decided to head up to the hotel in Flagstaff, the Renaissance, which we'd pre-booked.

The Night Manager was a star, he sorted us out a room there and then and when he saw me struggling carrying Helen into the hotel, he met us on the second floor with a wheelchair.  Top bloke.

Next I went out to a pharmacy for a bandage with which to compress the muscle, having given Helen painkillers and got her leg propped up on pillows.  

After a while we decided that it made sense for me to go out rather than just hang around so I headed off, first to the Arboretum.  It turns out the Arboretum, unlike anything else in Arizona, doesn't open until 10am and, even better, is only open Thursday through Sunday.  So I headed back down the 4 miles of dirt track and south of Flagstaff to the Kachina Wetlands, a wetland created with 'reclaimed wastewater'.

Apart from the smell it was a great place.  Northern Flicker were noisily about:

And on the water a lifer, 'Redhead': 

Together with a once-familiar sight in the UK, Ruddy Duck:

The ever present Red-winged Blackbird occupied a lot of the reedbeds:

Though another lifer emerged from the reeds, White-faced Ibis:

Splendid birds and an unexpected sight!  It was also really good to see and hear, for only the second time, Yellow-headed Blackbird:

I'd not seen females before:

In the parking area I also saw my first Pygmy Nuthatch, however I wanted to be back at the hotel so headed home via Safeway to stock up on supplies and booze.

Somehow we managed to drink a significant amount that night!


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