Thursday, July 24, 2014

Camping at "Happy Jack Lodge" (Part 2) Grand Birding at the Grand Canyon

On July 17th my family and I took our first trip to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Of course, I was thinking the whole drive there of just how awesome it would be to see the ugly but, majestic California Condor.

The drive up to the canyon was awesome passing through all of the different habitats.  As we were going by Mormon Lake my family and I saw a huge herd of elk, we had to stop and take a look. The crazy thing is this is only a third of the herd.
After stopping in Flagstaff we had another two hours of driving until reaching the canyon. Once we paid our fee I noticed a couple of large birds soaring and when they showed me their under wing I noticed they were my lifer, California Condors already! My Dad then parked the car in the parking lot and we walked out to the rim by the visitor area. When I went around the corner of the trees I thought that I was looking at a painting, the Grand Canyon was amazing!!! There were also about five condors flying at fairly close range. The first is an adult and the second is a juvenile. Am I in Heaven?
                                                                California Condor

As my Dad and I were watching the condors fly by, my mom and brother said that there were some condors perched over yonder where all people were. I ran down to where they were and I found my self about eighteen feet from one of the birds I had only dreamed of seeing. If you noticed these birds are football wannabe's, with there jersey numbers.
                                                             California Condor

It was awesome watching these guy slowly soar through the air. They kind of reminded me of a plane, landing gear down; check.
There was also the much smaller and common cousin of the California Condor, the Turkey Vulture.

                                                                       Turkey Vulture
 After spending a couple hours watching, taking pictures of the condors and hiking we headed back to the car to go on a picnic, but before we could get to the car we saw a young elk about 15 feet away.
Once we arrived at the picnic area I went out hiking and was able to find a flock of Bushtits and a confused Juniper Titmouse that didn't know where it belonged, but I guess they are both gray right?
                                                                 Juniper Titmouse
I then headed back to eat and had this hobo begging me for food. 
                                                                Common Raven
We had a few more stops along the rim but the only notable thing we saw after the first two stops was this huge 7 point elk just 50 yards off the road. He actually stopped traffic.  Many took pictures!!
If you were looking for some photos of the Grand Canyon I was too caught up in the wildlife.
I hope you enjoyed this post, and it will not be the last of my Happy Jack adventures.                                                            


  1. Wow, congrats not only on a lifer but an endangered species as well! And you crushed it too! I didn't know they were in Arizona. Are they around all year or just the summer?

    My word, that's a big bull!

  2. Thanks Mr. Josh!
    I was near the visitor center and they are there all year! I was about 15 feet from them too! We talked to some friends who are hunters and they said "that bull would be around the 7th largest bull in AZ!"

  3. Great pictures Caleb. Wow, you really got some good ones of those Cali Condors, congrats on your life bird.

    Wow, that elk herd is massive, and more massive is that bull. When he loses the velvet and when the antlers harden, it'll be awesome!

    1. Thanks Mr. Tommy!!! I was awed by all of the CACO's that were around! When we saw that elk there were people within 20 feet of that bull, and I was thinks "man what if that bull all of the sudden gets ticked off and charges those people" but luckily the bull stayed down.