It’s spring in the open prairie, and the bird songs can get bewildering. Instead of letting my mind push the confusing sounds away into the background, I’m determined to identify at least one. I pick one I’ve been hearing all my life:
The Western Meadowlark. They perch on high rocks and sage bushes to sing, but even with binoculars they often fly away before I can get a good visual. There’s no mistaking the song, though.
As I walk and listen, I realize there are really only about three distinct calls creating the din that seemed impossibly complex before. Now that I’ve listened closely enough to realize that, maybe my ear will catch an unusual call if I happen to hear one.
We catch the wind exactly wrong today, and spend the first half of our hike smelling the concentrated manure from Wilson Creek Feeders. It lets up a bit when we enter Reynolds canyon. I’m curious to what a free-flowing creek looks like this time of year. Apparently the spring runoff is already underway in the Owyhee mountains.
Today is the day to be out here, and we get a good cross-section of the people who recreate on this BLM land: a family hiking, some mountain bikers, lots of equestrians, and one dude firing a pistol next to his car (and picking up the shell casings, we notice).