With only one month to go in September I stepped up the gas. My friend Peter Matthiessen showed up for our annual two days on the Yellowstone. Unfortunately, his arrival was accompanied by the most powerful winds of the season, not to mention a cold wave that chilled the kidneys. This ghastly weather, however, didn't disturb the trout who fed intermittently throughout the day. I tested the middle of the river while Matthiessen hit the banks. I was watching an osprey fight the wind for a meal when I hooked and landed a 5-pound brown. I didn't digest the impact of this until later because the three of us were busy identifying the strange influx of birds along the river. Peter is a grand writer and a naturalist who's taken birding trips simply everywhere in the world. The three of us identified a golden eagle, four bald eagles, a prairie falcon, two peregrines, two Cooper's hawks, two Swanson's, a sharpshinned, a harrier, and a rough-legged, along with dozens of other species including so sandhill cranes that flew low and over our heads. It was boggling. For a change I had to leave most of the rowing to Danny. Trying to maneuver a high-bowed MacKenzie in 50-knot gusts is work for an expert. I recalled us once being caught in a thunderstorm squall that blew down trees and Danny had to jump into the river with the anchor in his arms at our take-out spot. The next access was four hours away and the lightning was giving the air the smell of burned water.