After lunch we decided to leave the dogs and walk up the hill to the visitor’s center. They have a wonderful gift shop and I’d hoped to do some really early Christmas shopping ~ alas, their system was down and the gift shop was closed….
On the way up the trail, we spotted a pair of these Lark Sparrows….
This picture gives an idea of how easy it is to not see birds in this habitat…..the sparrow is in the middle at the bottom…
Because this is one spectacular looking bird ~ at least in the sparrow family ~ and because I don’t get to see them too often, I’m throwing in a few pictures….
Now we are back up on top, over looking the campground….
This shelter is located adjacent to the large parking area up here…
the path leading to the visitor center…
that’s Ernie sitting on one of the benches, enjoying the view…
This is a replica of one of the ‘writings’ on stone, located in the park…..this replica is on the outside of the visitor’s center. I’m sorry I don’t have any pictures of the interior of the center….you’ll just have to go there and see it for yourselves!
heading back along the trail, to go back down to the campground….this is looking off to the west, the sani-dump is up there on the horizon (always an important piece of information for RV’rs!)
Took this, just to give an indication of the terrain…..
Back in the campground, we had a visitor…
This, what appears to be a yearling Mule deer was very curious about Shantz….
we were actually worried she was going to walk right up to her. I’m not sure what would have happened. Shantz has been trained to ‘watch’ and not ‘react’ but there are limitations! Fortunately, discretion reigned and the deer decided that perhaps she’d been close enough and left.
back in the campsite itself, the bird activity continued. The silly Yellow Warbler was still warring with it’s reflection in our truck mirror….
Brown Thrasher continued to tantalize but never actually coming quite close enough for a really good picture…
Robin’s were around….this one having a bit of a dust bath….
I took this from the adjacent campsite, to show one of those Swainson’s Thrush, it’s proximity to the camp and to Shantz, who is lounging in ‘her’ chair. So much for shy, secretive….
this was taken out in front of our campsite, looking in the direction of the river….
this just shows one of the campsites….the one, if I remember correctly, the snake lady found the aforementioned specimen in….Note, too, the cloud…..we’d been listening to weather forecasts, and there was a reason why today would be the only full day we’d spend here….that ‘S’ word was creeping into the forecast again!
Here is another campground view….those blue containers are all recycle containers and they are that close together throughout the campsite ~ no excuse not to recycle here!
did another wander, back around behind the campsite, along the river trail….
and back into the campground….the white are all dandelions that have gone to seed….
These are Cliff Swallow nests on the rocks beside the river….they would be last years as there was no sign of any Cliff Swallows yet….
Sand dunes beside the river…
and another look along the river….that isn’t mud, it’s damp sand.
Here is a Brown Thrasher who came right into the campsite, only because I’d actually gone in the camper…..took this out the door.
a Magpie arrived as well….
Here are some more birds enjoying those dandelion seeds….
American Goldfinch had now joined the sparrows….
a final, after supper wander, and I spotted, first, this female Grosbeak up in one of the large trees in the campground….I thought at first it was a female Black Headed Grosbeak, like we have back home, but after spotting…..
this….realized they were Rose-breasted Grosbeak ~ you can really see where the name comes from!
another look at the male. Despite taking probably 30 or 40 pictures, I never really got anything good – after all they were up in a large tree, I was looking straight up trying to find them and get pictures….
By now, light was fading….a perfect day was drawing to a close…..
and tomorrow, we’d be heading on…..moving closer to home.