Great horned owl
American Coot on the Refuge admiring his reflection Below, an alligator juniper tree in Water Canyon.
Here is a close-up view of the bark. You can see why it is called "alligator" juniper.
The Mountain Birding Tour was led by Mary Alice Root, Bill Thompson and Julie Zickefoose. On the way to Water Canyon we saw a herd of pronghorn antelope grazing in the field. I haven't seen any pronghorn for many years, so I really enjoyed seeing them out "on the range." Also, before getting to Water Canyon, the group stopped where there was a huge rock wall (in the distance). We stopped to look for a great horned owl that was spotted the day before. The owl was still there; and it was also noted that there was a honeybee hive attached to the cliff wall. Once we got to Water Canyon, we saw a cliff chipmunk and a young rock squirrel (identified by JZ). They sure were cute to watch. The birds we saw were: bushtits, juncos, a ruby-crowned kinglet, white-breasted nuthatches, bluebirds, a couple of Stellar's jays, acorn woodpecker, red-naped sapsucker, and a Williamson's sapsucker. Many of these were lifers for me, and you can read more about these birds and the Water Canyon trip in Julie Zickefoose's and Bill of the Birds blogs. You'll also see photos of many of the birds that I did not get. Most of the birds were in areas that were too dark and/or too far for me to get any decent photos; so I didn't bother. While heading back to the cars I took this photo of a few birders - namely, my husband, Liam (JZ's and BT's son), and Linda (who we had carpooled with).
Below is the photo of the great-horned owl that was found perched in the cliff wall. We took this shot on our way out of the canyon since the lighting was better than when we first saw it on the way up to Water Canyon.