21 Aug (Thu) Wide awake at 3 a.m. to a sudden rain drumming on the roof. Oh, no! Packing in the rain. So I barely got to sleep again, for just minutes (glad to have ‘em) before getting out of bed at five. It stopped raining right about then and I went out to feed the horses (locked in the corral) by flashlight. At 6:30 I was catching all the rest of the horses, panniers loaded. Real efficient this morning…no unforced errors on my part, no knaveries on theirs. ◦◦◦◦◦ Before we left the cabin I noticed this audacious young Cassins finch on the ground out at the hitch rail. An immature. While I was saddling and loading this silly bird was there on the ground virtually under the horses’ feet, presumably scouting for scattered oats (though I hadn’t given the stock any grain this morn). After we rolled and went through the gate and then headed down the hill, a young finch appeared and followed us for quite a long ways. I’m virtually certain it was the same bird though I never imagined a songbird would stray so far from its territory. Solitaires are conspicuously curious birds. I’ve seen them flit from tree to tree staying just ahead of me and near the trail, sometimes for a hundred yards and more—a behavior I’ve observed a number of times. But this adolescent bird—an impetuous teenager—followed much farther, for perhaps a third of a mile. It would land in trailside saplings to watch us pass, then dart ahead and land right by the trail on the ground to intently watch us go by again, oblivious of the pounding hooves. Over and over it leapfrogged ahead only to stop and observe our passing yet again. I couldn’t believe how long this went on—never seen nuthin’ like it. For some reason it caused me to feel utter delight and joy: tiny young bird following us solely from curiosity. I was talking to it, asking pointed questions, and felt a vague kinship with another soul who was following whims out of sheer inquisitiveness. Big grins for the ranger.
©2017 Tim Forsell 23 Apr 2017