The birds were pretty quiet due to the wind, but we did see a couple lifers for Sonja, including her first Scott's Oriole.
We are also nearly 98% confidant that we spotted a Brown-crested Flycatcher near the White Mesa trailhead, a couple miles in from the parking lot. We spent a good ten minutes watching it and debating about whether it was a Brown-crested or Ash-throated Flycatcher. We finally decided upon Brown-crested after hearing several distinct whit calls. I tell ya, flycatchers always tie my brain in knots! We also watched a pair of Black Phoebes hopping around the rocks at the swimming hole we watered the dogs.
Anyway, the other excitement occured when we interrupted a Sharp-shinned Hawk that was in pursuit of a rather distraught-looking Ruby-crowned Kinglet in a juniper next to the trail. I could have sworn the Sharpie gave me a dirty look as it circled around with a last forlorn glance toward its almost-meal before heading off into the sycamores. I'm telling myself that the kinglet was grateful for our unintentional interruption of its near-death experience.
But the stars of the hike were all the wildflowers in bloom. We've had enough precipitation this past month that many of the cacti are beginning to bloom. They're even predicting a saguaro bloom next month down near Phoenix. I openly admit that I am not very good at, and only mildly interested in, identifying wildflowers. So, in order to avoid embarassment at getting these wrong, I'm making up my own names. If, however, anyone (*ahem* Chris?) does, in fact, know the names of these flowers, post a comment and let me know.
(attacking an Engleman's Prickly Pear)
These turn red due to all the blood they suck out of hummingbirds.