Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sedona, AZ - Day 3 - 02 Mar 2012

Morning arrived and we had breakfast in the Arrivals Building.  A walk back to our cabin yielded a Western Bluebird, Lesser Goldfinch, and another Ladder-backed Woodpecker. We took a Tai Chi class, then decided to rent a car for the remainder of the trip.  The folks at the lodge were gracious enough to drop us off at the Hertz Local Edition in Sedona where we had a reservation.

Imagine the looks on our faces when the guy told us he didn't have any cars available.  It was like reliving the Jerry Seinfeld episode: "But we had a reservation!"  "Yes, you did, but a reservation doesn't guarantee you a car..."  The poor guy felt bad for us, but what could he do?  We decided not to get upset over the snafoo, but now had to figure out how we were gonna get back to the resort 5 miles away.  We called a rental car agency at the Sedona airport, and they agreed to come pick us up and get a car.  But John at Hertz was able to find a car for us at the last moment.  Yay! Karma rewarded us for not losing our tempers at the rental location.

Once we were in a car we headed back to L'Auberge to grab camera gear and head off toward Slide Rock State Park. As we approached the end of the driveway a pair of Say's Phoebes appeared along the hedge row.  We had point-blank looks at the birds, but I had no camera. Grrr.

Once I had the gear I couldn't relocate the phoebes, so we continued on up Hwy 89a N toward Slide Rock State Park.  At 5000 ft the air was beginning to feel pretty thin, and walking was a bit of a chore.  Its a small state park of 43 acres or so.  I took off toward a hillside orchard when I spotted a small flock of Steller's Jays making a racket in the trees.  The jays were actively moving through the trees, so I had little luck trying to photograph them.  While trying to digiscope them I spotted a Red-naped Sapsucker (male) foraging in the trees, but again, too obscured to photograph.  So I spent some time photographing the beautiful mesa around me.

After taking a few photos of the Oak Creek headwaters we headed back to the car.  Along the way we spotted a few Cheetos, and I heard a nearby Steller's Jay.  This gave me the opportunity to get some photos of the bird, so I moved the orange puffs to a nearby wooden fence and waited for a jay to come in to feed.  I didn't have long to wait when a noisy Steller's came in to investigate and gave me the opportunity to get some nice pics (finally!).  Besides a few more flyover Lesser Goldfinches and a couple of American Robins the birds were scarce.

We returned late enough in the afternoon to think about dinner, and decided to hike uphill to Uptown Sedona.  As we enjoyed the clear skies and late afternoon sun playing on the mesa I spotted a soaring Great Blue Heron over the Oak Creek riverbottom.  The heron landed atop a large Cottonwood among several other birds.  A rookery!  I counted six birds total.

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