Monday, May 29, 2017

Northern AZ roadtrip part 1: The Navajo Bridge, and a condor nest


My husband Eric & I were on walkabout yesterday, wandering around the northern part of Arizona. We started in Flagstaff and headed north, first driving through the Navajo reservation.
We turned, and then headed to the Navajo Bridge across the Colorado River.

It gives an incredible bird's eye view of the river below!

There is both a foot bridge, and a larger bridge for motor vehicles. We walked across, and perused the visitor station. Of course I had to look at the Navajo rug loom on display, with an eye toward figuring out how to set up the warp.

And I also had a look at the plaques that were around telling the history of the ferry that was in place before the bridge was built.

I particularly appreciated seeing both of the wives, Permelia and Samantha, recognized by name, and their multiple marriage matter of factly recognized instead of glossed over. No invisible women here.

On our way back across the bridge to the car, I thought I saw someone sitting on the structure underneath the car bridge. On closer look though, it was a huge, huge bird! Yes, I had spotted a California Condor!!
Back in 1987, there were only 27 of these birds left in the world. They were removed from the wild, and a captive breeding program was started. In the late 90's, the results began to be released back into the wild. As of last year, the population had rebounded to 446: 276 in the wild, and 170 in captivity. 83 of those are in the Arizona/Utah area.

There was another couple also watching Mr. 54 here, who let me know that he and his mate evidently had a nest on the cliffs upstream, visible from the bridge. So I began to scan the cliffs...

Ah ha! The droppings gave it away.
Condors lay their single egg in cavities, right on the floor or in a loose pile of debris. I tried blowing up the picture and lightening the shadows, to see if I had caught the egg in the picture...
I don't see it, but I think that black blob back in the cave is probably the mother condor at work. Wow. Just wow. I'm crossing my fingers that this nest produces a live chick!

I'll write another entry about the rest of our day's travels tomorrow. Stay tuned!

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