It's warm and windy today, with strong gusts that bend the treetops! Wandered on the pipeline looking for a patch of mushrooms I saw yesterday, and as I stood looking down at the spot where they had been a big shadow moved past me on the ground. Looking up I saw a huge red-tailed hawk just as he landed in a nearby pine tree. The small oak in front of the pine had a hole in the branches that framed the hawk perfectly as he preened and fluffed himself up. He was so close I could hear little noises and flutters of wings as he balanced and adjusted his stance. His rusty-red tail glowed in the sun. He finally saw me and flew off his perch with loud flaps. The strong wind buffeted him as he flew across the pipeline and made his flight quite ungraceful.
Another special treat of the day.... while I was drawing Beard-tongue flowers, a newly emerged Red-Spotted Purple butterfly wobbled out of the woods and landed on my backpack. His shimmering blue and black patterned wings, with spots of red, took my breath away. He rested a minute then fluttered up and over about five feet and landed again. He kept making these short flights, over and over. I followed him downhill until he finally warmed up and took off over the pipeline's waving grasses and wildflowers.