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Same with the pheasants not much farther along. There were hens and a couple of roosters and a trio of this year’s young just getting their adult feathers but man, did they ever scoot when I slowed the truck. It’s hunting season now so maybe they’re a little extra cautious.
The mule deer not far from the pheasants were unperturbed, as mule deer usually are. There was a momma and two babies down along the river and though they did walk off eventually, they basically just stared at me. I love mulies.
The wind picked up a bit more as I passed through Redland and Rosebud and kept going along the Rosebud River. The sun was more intermittent now, clouds blown in from the north beginning to obscure it, but it was still fairly bright.
Certainly bright enough to light the river valley.
I followed a twisty road down along the edge of steep coulee to a bridge over the river at a narrow spot in the valley. Water birch, now mostly yellow, and aspens covered the north-facing slopes while the bottom was full of willows along the banks and sagebrush out on the flats. Cactus hung in spiky drapes along the road cut.
All of it was in the first stages of the fall colour change, everything from lime green to bright red. Even the cactus was starting to take on a purple tinge. Patches of fleabane and hawkweed added a bit of late-summer loveliness.
I found another mule deer just up the road, a young buck this time. He didn’t want to stick around, though, and went pogoing off across a badlands outcrop into a stand of saskatoons. At the top of the hill, back on the flats, I ran into a flock of robins. Must have been over a hundred of them, so many that at first I thought they were starlings. They barely sat still as I tried for pictures.