Finally after 2 miles of hiking we reached the lookout tower. It only took a few minutes and we heard a Short-tailed Hawk. It took us a few more minutes but we finally saw one in flight. As we watched it, it rode a thermal and ended up right at our eye level!
Once we finally got back down to Portal and the Portal Peak Lodge we were quite tired and had decided to take it easy for the night. That plan fell through when I got online and saw that there was still a pair of Elf Owls at a nest hole by the library. We walked over there just as it was getting dark. Luckily a local birder showed up and pointed out the nest hole. We watched as the male brought food to the nest. I recently learned that we saw the owls just in time as the young fledged only a few days after we left.
A tarantula on the road in Portal