Above, a male Townsend’s Warbler forages in shrubs growing along an irrigation ditch in the Nevada desert, far from its Pacific Northwest breeding grounds.

I just returned home from a long journey through a few western states. When I began, spring was well underway in the region where I live. Most trees had leafed out or were beginning to do so, and flowering trees and shrubs were attracting hummingbirds and a swelling throng of insects. But as soon as I crossed over the Cascade Range into the high desert lands of the interior, things were different.

There were no obvious signs of spring in these places:

At higher elevations, snow still drifted in the shade of the pines:

But the creeks were overflowing their banks:

And the riparian shrubs hosted waves of northbound warblers, like this Yellow-rumped Warbler:

However, the surest sign of spring’s return were the many Turkey Vultures soaring over the mountains, plains, and canyons, rocking and tilting on their up-swept wings:

Thanks for visiting, and may you be well.

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