After three nights at the Grand Canyon, our motor home was on the move eastward and northward to Lake Powell. Just before we exited Grand Canyon National Park we stopped to enjoy one of the most majestic views on the South Rim-- Desert View overlook.
Watch Tower at Desert View
As we got out of the RV at the parking lot, I immediately spotted a Western Tanager in living color. It disappeared before I could reach for the camera and failed to reappear as I lingered behind the rest of the family. My first (and only) photo of this species was an out-of-focus snapshot I took at "The Log" at Capulin Spring in New Mexico over 15 years ago. Wish I'd discovered the fun of DSLR a bit earlier!
A Rufous-crowned Sparrow lurked in the shrubs next to the path to the overlook. This is only the second time I have been able to photograph this large sparrow. It remained in sight for only a few seconds. Though far from perfect, this shot was an improvement over my earlier attempts.
I had never before photographed a Black-chinned Sparrow, and have only seen them on a couple of occasions when we lived in New Mexico. This bird was even more adept at remaining unseen, yet betrayed its presence by vigorously disturbing the twigs and leaves of its hiding places.
The final three days of our Arizona RV vacation were spent at Lake Powell, on the Utah border. We rented a day-use houseboat for two days and enjoyed swimming and fishing, at first deep in Navajo Canyon, a narrow extension on the south shore of the lake.
Here I am at the helm of the 36 foot "Weekender"...
...entering Navajo Canyon.
Far in the canyon there are unusual "Angel Wing" rock formations.
We spent the second day swimming and fishing with the houseboat anchored on a beach opposite the Antelope Point Marina. This was a special time for fun and getting wet, so I did not bring my long lens. In fact, I took my photos with a pocket-sized Canon A1100 IS point-and-shoot.
I caught two Striped Bass, which we cooked over charcoal that evening. Interestingly, this species normally lives in salt water and returns to the fresh water of rivers and inlets only to spawn. They have been introduced into many larger inland lakes for recreational fishing and control of invasive Gizzard Shad but usually fail to reproduce and must be periodically re-stocked. However they successfully breed in some lakes, notably Lake Powell, where they are now abundant and out-compete native game fish. Because they are considered pests, there is no size or catch limit.
The only bird of note was this Western Grebe, shot with my son-in-law's DSLR, a Canon EOS 5D Mk II zoomed all the way up to 105mm.
The rather long drive back to Phoenix encountered a major detour due to a landslide, and slow trucks climbing the 3% grades on Interstate 17. After a night back at Desert Shadows RV Resort, we returned the vehicle with over 1,300 (not 13,000-- thanks to Phil for pointing out my extra zero!) new miles added to the 4,000 already on the odometer when we started out.
We used our frequent-flyer miles to book a First Class flight back to Illinois, as there were no economy seats available. Very nice! This was the first time we ever traveled "in class."
Back home in Illinois, seeming quite oblivious to all the construction activity, a Red-tailed Hawk perched on a lamp post next to our condo.