This winter (and late fall) we've had very cold temps, then a lot of snow, then even more snow, and then more cold temps, with one warmish week in early December. We finally stopped shoveling one mostly gray day last week and went snowshoeing in the canyon above our little house. Getting there wasn't as interesting as being there, looking upward at the untracked snow, and then tracking into it.
Here's an old, rusty tub or pot of some sort we found buried in the snow, with snowshoe for scale.
The canyon had little icicle-covered ledges and beds of limestone or dolomite sticking out here and there, and although they weren't terribly photogenic this juniper with boulder was. How and when did the boulder get into the tree? Hard to tell with the snow cover.
Ah, peaceful snow scene with sagebrush, hidden rock, and needle-covered soil under juniper and nearby piñon.
At long last, we reached a point with a view of the mountains and valley beyond...
...including the distant, sunlit alluvial fans of the Duck Creek Range.
About then, we looked at our back trail and started down.
Close to our ending (and beginning) spot, we came to a gate we go through, and MOH ahead of me spotted these birds pecking at seeds on the ground. I grabbed the camera out of my vest pocket and started trying to get some pix, mostly for identification purposes.
I leaned around MOH, as inconspicuous as possible, shooting between the horizontal railings of the wooden gate. The birds were alert and watching, and I thought they were antsy because of our presence. Suddenly, they all flew away from us, to the left - except for one bird that flew to the right. We had scared them off!
Before I could turn the camera off, a hawk was swooping in low toward the one lone bird, and toward us, finally coming to an air stop with it's wings right over our heads. I shot pics as fast as possible, barely aiming, and got this one picture of it flying away, unsuccessful at trying to have lunch.
The little bird had hidden from the hawk by landing on the back of MOH's snowshoe, right in front of me! The little birds are Horned Larks. Some had distinctive yellow under the chin, and you can (barely) see the "horns" in the pictures. Couldn't get an ID on the hawk, which had scared the birds away - we weren't the culprits!