Western Bluebird (female)
From the Visitor Centre we took the relatively short Alcove Trail (designated a nature trail). As we joined the trail a Cotton-Tail rabbit crossed in front of us, and ‘hid’ under a bush at some distance. There were some Robber Flies about which looked and sounded a bit like dragonflies in flight, but looked very handsome, if a little sinister, when they settled.
Soon we were seeing a number of lizards of various species (I have attempted to identify these but am no lizard expert so any input would be much appreciated). The first, a lizard with a striped back, I believe to be a species of Whip-tailed Lizard, but I can find no reference to a lizard with this few stripes - the Plateau Striped Whiptail is said to have 6 or 7 pale stripes, not the 4 that this had (perhaps it was a juvenile PSW?). This is the only one I saw, so I give you the best of a bad bunch of photos.
Whip-tailed Lizard species
I am not particularly interested in plants, but do have a passing interest in cacti, so was pleased to find Echinocereus Triglochidiatus.
There were a couple of Western Scrub Jays seen (but not photographed), and several LBJs (little brown jobs) which seemed to be hiding from the sun in dense cover. With a total lack of experience of American birds, the LBJs were as good as impossible for me to identify.
I attempted to photograph a hawk (unidentified) that passed by at some distance but my camera had gone faulty just before the holiday, with insufficient time to get it repaired, and so had a tendency for the lens to electrically uncouple itself from the body, thus rendering autofocus and light metering non-functioning. The temporary solution was to give the lens a gentle twist until it connected again, but grabbed shots were virtually impossible to achieve for the whole of the holiday.About half-way along the trail a Chipmunk (possibly Cliff Chipmunk) was seen scampering along the edge of a rock ledge, and then stopping under a bush.
Chipmunk (possibly Cliff Chipmunk)
At one point my wife was (unusually) just ahead of me, and suddenly put up a Hummingbird which hovered noisily for a split second and then shot off, never to be seen again (in spite of hunting for it for half an hour). It was all over and done with in maybe half a second. I did not notice any colour tendencies, so do not know what species it was, but I think that Broad-tailed Hummingbird is most likely.
Plateau Striped Whiptail Lizard
After this walk, we got into the car to explore the scenic qualities of the Monument from the various viewpoints. From these we saw Turkey Vultures and American Kestrels in the distance. There were also plenty of White-throated Swifts around.