The musical buzz of a Green-tailed Towhee darted out from limber pines along the Drinking Horse Trail this morning. On an unusually cool day for late July, I was enjoying the fresh breeze and late summer flowers when I heard him. I hung out in the shade for 5 minutes or so while I watched him in his plumage that reflected the coloring of his surroundings—olive green and gray with a russet cap—while he hopped among shining green needles and then up to the top of the ropey, bare silver branches of an old veteran limber pine. Puffy clouds floated by above us across a cornflower blue sky.

This is the first summer I have ever seen one, let alone the 3 or 4 on Drinking Horse Mountain and it added to the pleasure of a hiking/birding excursion that began with a Lazuli Bunting singing from a power line as I parked my car in the parking lot.

I had taken this particular hike to check on the noxious weed situation since the herd of 400 or so goats had been through chomping on leafy spurge and other invasive species a few weeks earlier. I also wished to know what wild flowers might be left. I was not disappointed! Yarrow, flax, harebells, bergamot, sticky geranium, scarlet gaura, blanket flowers and fleabane decorated hillsides and edges of the path. The goats will return for a second go around later this season to feast on more weeds or the ones that are beginning to grow back.

From my view on thehillside of the valley, everything looked as though ripening into summer—beginning to head out, some hay fields still showing windrows, some in bales scattered across the hills.

Other birds Inoted this morning were: Black-capped Chickadee, Tree Swallow, Gray Catbird, Western Wood Peewee, Dusky Flycatcher, Yellow Warbler.