I haven't been doing that much hiking recently, not since our second Wheeler Peak hike, which was one week after the Wheeler hike I reported on last month. The second hike on Wheeler was less spectacular, except for the increase in blooming wildflowers; oh, and it was sunny.
We didn't go as high, I couldn't go as fast, and it became apparent that I had inflamed or overused my right IT Band, resulting in something commonly called "runners knee." I've been going easy on any walks or hikes on hills ever since, with the downs being worse than the ups.
Last week, I broke from the taking-it-easy mode, and went farther up our hiking hill than I have been going recently, resulting in another flare-up, though one not as bad as the first. Overall, that aspect of hiking has been discouraging. What I need are hills where I can walk down first, then walk back up. This can be done at Great Basin National Park, not by heading for the peak, but by walking down from the Wheeler Peak Camp toward the Upper Lehman Camp, then turning around and walking up before the leg and knee get sore. That's the reverse of the kind of hiking I prefer to do.
On the way back down, not far above our little house, MOH and I came across a group of birds hanging out in and near this stack of railroad ties. The railroad ties had obviously been stacked up for the birds' convenience and entertainment.
The birds turned out to be Rock Wrens. More pictures of these birds and interesting descriptions of them and their habits can be found here, here, and here.
Most of the Rock Wrens we saw were fluffy, as though they were newly fledged. This one appeared to be begging for food.
This is the same bird with it's mouth closed.
A Rock Wren blends in with a nearby pile of old cottonwood stumps.
I managed to catch two of these birds engaged in a curious activity.
These birds pop up and down, up and down, as you can see in these three photos.
Up and down, up and down... doing something The Sibley Guide to Birds refers to as "deep knee bends."
MOH and I have both seen Rock Wrens in and near our little garden, although I have not yet managed to get a photo of them there. We are hoping they are eating nasty bugs and insects, such as the large grasshoppers we have seen recently.
Grasshopper in our kale!