The day turned out to be clear and sunny, only the cold wind a reminder of the recent (and soon to return) winter snows. Melted snow made for muddy conditions, especially on the North-facing slopes of the hills, and pockets of snow and ice and water were in every depression in the rocks. Lots of greenery was showing, though, new broadleaf rosettes covering the protected flats at the bottom of the canyon. Melted snow has revealed multiple patches of deer hair, some accompanied by the grassy remains of partially-digested stomach contents. Signs of scavenger action. Most of these patches are at the bottom of a draw, but some are under trees or in relatively more protected areas on the plateau. There were three or four groups of mule deer browsing, two of them with 8-10 animals. We also spotted a white-tailed deer leaping across a field, its white-flag tail prominent. Seeing both types of deer in the same hike made the difference between the animals obvious. Mule deer look like grey barrels with thick necks and sticks for legs, and they bounce while running (‘stotting’). White-tails have more visible bone structure and yellowy color, especially as they move in impossible long leaps to cover ground quickly. We deliberately searched for the owls, though they stayed in their tree until we were closer than we would have expected them to fly. I’m almost certain they were short-eared owls, and it was great to see them in the same tree as before. On the way out there was a golden eagle flying above the prairie dog town.