Before I progress beyond the landing I have to scout the route to the saddle. So far, I haven't had the energy to climb past the landing but hopefully with a trail to the landing it shouldn't be difficult to make it over the ridge and down (or across?) to the saddle, which is my destination. Before I commit to the side of the ridge I'm going to check, once again, to see if there's any way I can put the trail atop the ridge. As I recall, it's too rough and rocky on top, but once I get nearer I'll take another look. Soon I hope to post a photo of the saddle. And Lucifer nests below it. They're there. Somewhere.
Several people have asked me how it can be easier to build a trail than to just climb the mountain. I can't explain it, but it just is. Climbing the whole thing at one time is too exhausting. But hoeing, and occasionally picking, for 2 hrs a day is not that hard. Getting to where I left off is getting harder every day. I don't know if I'll be able to make it past the landing, even with a trail. But I have a better chance of making it with a trail than without one. I only work on the trail for 3 consecutive days, then I go to town for 3 days. I work for 2 hours a day, but it's possible that I'll have to cut down on the working time as it takes longer to arrive to where I need to start work.
Ann and Julie are working on the other side of the mountain on a trail past the Blue Oaks to the pouroff. They aspire to eventually be able to walk the loop. From the pouroff across the mountain valley (Brian calls that valley "Little Green Gulch.") to the saddle I'm working towards, and down my side. The only problem with doing that is getting back to your vehicle. Better to do it when someone is on hand to shuttle you to your vehicle.
Meanwhile, back at the oasis, I saw a Giant Darner but could not get a photo. Lucifer Hummingbirds are still very plentiful and consuming lots of sugar water. I heard the distinct "fitz-bew" call of a Willow Flycatcher and finally got a photo of it although I was looking into the late afternoon sun so the color is bad. I was surprised ebird flagged it as rare. I've had them before but I guess not in June before.
I can't explain why the sides of the tail appear to be white. They shouldn't be. Maybe the way the light was hitting it. Empidonax flycatchers are maddening. If I hadn't heard the call I wouldn't have attempted to ID it.
At least the bill is consistent with a Willow Flycatcher.