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My husband wrote a song called Climb to the Top of the World and I thought of that when we reached this mountaintop on Tuesday.

It was a chilly day and the wind was blowing pretty hard at home and I almost didn’t go. Then I remembered that Luna does much better on hikes when the weather is not the best in my mind. She just doesn’t tolerate the heat well anymore. So off we went with a rain jacket for me and carrying extra water for the dogs. It was 48 at the 6560′ trailhead and I was glad to have a warmer jacket too. The dogs thought it was perfect.

The trail goes steeply through a burned forest and then into high meadows before going straight up through the rocky mountainside. Just before the last big ascent, there is a rock that holds any water from recent precipitation and I don’t know if Luna remembers it or if she can smell it but long before I got there, she was slurping up the remnants of the dirty puddle. I gave her clean water too and used some of that to replenish the puddle.

The views at the 8245′ summit just can’t be beat. Mountains everywhere. The flowers are just beginning. In a week or two, they will be glorious.

The weather has been most unsettled recently. Big wind (today for sure), thunder and lightning, unpredictable rains and sometimes a rainbow. All these seem to lead to wonderful sunsets.

Yesterday we went birding. We made a big loop around Okanogan County, crossing the mountains between the Methow and the Okanogan, up on the plateau on the east side of the county, and then down to the big river (Columbia) and back up the Methow. During the day we saw over sixty species of birds, two coyotes, one beaver and three pronghorns! This was my first time seeing pronghorns in Washington. The Colville Tribes have re-introduced them on their lands and the animals have quickly spread with reports of them across the Columbia in Douglas County. I wonder if they swam or crossed a bridge. Do pronghorns swim?

As for birds, I was disappointed that we didn’t see more little birds and also cranes. I often see Sandhill Cranes in March. I’ll have to try again soon. The landscape was drier than usual. Normally roads are pretty muddy with more snow on the ground. The weather was perfect. I think it must have been sixty degrees down on the big river.

As for social distancing, we did not talk to other people or go into any businesses.

This little Northern Saw-whet Owl may have thought otherwise. Ken wanted to see if we could find them so I told him to watch for white wash under dense trees and if he did, he should look up. Sure enough, it worked and he found this tiny owl tucked up in some branches pretty well hidden. It was very hard to photograph.

Yesterday’s bird list for the whole day:

Canada Goose

Swan sp

Gadwall

American Wigeon

Mallard

Northern Pintail

Green-winged Teal

Canvasback

Redhead

Ring-necked Duck

Lesser Scaup

Bufflehead

Common Goldeneye

Hooded Merganser

Common Merganser

Ruddy Duck

California Quail

Ring-necked Pheasant

Wild Turkey

Pied-billed Grebe

Horned Grebe

Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)

Eurasian Collared-Dove

Mourning Dove

American Coot

Killdeer

Common Loon

Double-crested Cormorant

Great Blue Heron

Golden Eagle

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Cooper’s Hawk/Northern Goshawk

Bald Eagle

Golden/Bald Eagle

Red-tailed Hawk

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Belted Kingfisher

Northern Flicker

American Kestrel

Say’s Phoebe

Black-billed Magpie

American Crow

Common Raven

Black-capped Chickadee

Horned Lark

Tree Swallow

Violet-green Swallow

Pygmy Nuthatch

European Starling

Western Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird

American Robin

House Sparrow

House Finch

American Goldfinch

Dark-eyed Junco

White-crowned Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Spotted Towhee

Western Meadowlark

Red-winged Blackbird

Brewer’s Blackbird

Yellow-rumped Warbler

We enjoyed walks on beaches. This one is in California. The morning began with a thick misty fog that gradually lifted but it never was sunny.

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