My body was still on British time. I woke up at 4:30 a.m., and decided to take advantage of the time and go to the trail early this morning. I arrived just before sunrise around 7:00 a.m., but was not prepared for the early morning cold as the forecast was for the low 60's later in the day. When I arrived, there was light frost on the ground and low ground fog. But it was beautiful. Within a few minutes, the longer red wavelengths of the sunlight behind the Ragged Mountains to the east was refracted and illuminated Three Ridges and other mountains to the west with a pink wash. Soon afterwards, the first rays of sunlight changed pink into gold. I headed upstream first, as I knew that downstream birds needed to wait for the sun to get higher into the sky.
Eastern Bluebird in the early morning ground fog
Red-tailed Hawk bathed in gold
As I neared the western end of the upsteam trail I noticed a flash of white against the tree line of the southwest corner of the field. I first thought it was a White-tailed Deer, and when I raised my camera a few moments later, I saw that it was a coyote! Wish I had paid more attention to the white flash and had gotten a better photo.
The rest of the hike was not very eventful, and I ended up with seeing 25 species on the trail this morning. I did have some excitement on the east side of Reids Creek. I heard what I thought was a hawk just behind me where I had walked a minute earlier, although it did not sound like a hawk that I was familiar with - the call was a bit deeper than that of a Red-tailed or Red-shouldered Hawk. As I walked back a few feet, two juvenile hawks flew out of a tree and across Reids Creek and out of my view. But I did get a good look at their undersides - almost totally unstreaked creamy white breasts and bellies, and bold, broad, evenly sized black and white tail bands. Tail length seemed a bit short for an Accipiter, and too long for a Buteo. Not sure what kind of hawk they were.
Female Red-bellied Woodpecker
This morning's list (25 species):