October 16, 2007

Flowers, Feathers and Fire

Sonja and I took a little drive to the top of the Mogollon Rim yesterday, hoping to accomplish two things: find an Olive Warbler and spend an morning together enjoying the beautiful autumn weather. We never did see the warbler, but the day spent exploring the forest roads winding through the ponderosa pines and volcanic mesas was well worth the trip.

Funny how we spent the majority of our time at this spot overlooking Oak Creek Canyon facing away from the view, looking back into the wonderfully aromatic ponderosa forest. While most of the migratory birds have moved on, we did spot some beautiful Stellar's Jays and a very vocal Townsend's Solitaire.

We stopped at a lake southeast of Flagstaff to check out some of the waterfowl that had been reported there a few days earlier. There were quite a few Ruddy Ducks floating around in the choppy water, but it was this tiny Dark-eyed Junco that captured our interest.

While driving back home through the Coconino National Forest, we spotted some smoke billowing in the distance. As we got closer it became apparent that we were going to drive right by it. Ends up being a prescribed burn right along the side of the road. While most of the fire had already burned itself out, the forest was still smoking. It was so neat that we pulled over and walked around through the smoldering understory. We did encounter one rather exciting flaming tree, though.

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