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Outdoors

  • Forest Service considering ban on recreational shooting

    U.S. Forest Service officials are considering closing all public land to recreational shooting in a zone called the “wildland-urban interface.”

    The 400,000-acre wildfire zone — mostly along Colorado's Front Range and Interstate 70 — is an area where homes and other manmade improvements are close to natural terrain and flammable vegetation, according to information on a Colorado State University website.

  • Red-winged blackbirds are earliest spring arrivals

    Below my window is the roof of two buildings and two large paved parking lots that were scraped flat out of the hillside. Because of our hard rains, these are drained away to prevent puddling.

  • Open Space committee looks at potential properties for acquisition

    The Jefferson County Open Space Advisory Committee explored the potential of two properties offered by private landowners during a field trip last Thursday afternoon.

    Traveling to a field near Boulder and to Douglas Mountain near Gilpin County, OSAC members and Jeffco Open Space staff walked the properties and learned about the owners’ interest in selling them.

  • Summer's warmth brings golden banner

    June is such a beautiful month. It is so great to see the outdoors green again. The black-and-white beauty of winter is stark and often exceptional, but the fresh green of June is full of promise of a few months of warm weather.

    I am still at Elk Run Assisted Living, trying to get my back and right leg strong enough to go back home, at least for a little while.
    Looking out my window this morning, it was a delight to see so many spring flowers blooming. The ponderosa pine forest behind this building is where the greatest number of wildflowers grow.

  • Flycatchers move to land if food is worth it

    Still confined to Elk Run Assisted Living, my creaky back and banged-up knee still keep me from being able to do much. My good friends have brought me many things from home, so now I feel that I am close to being home. If I must stay where help is available, this is a fine place to be.

  • Ponderosa pines have long history in the foothills

    I am still at Elk Run Assisted Living and therefore my list of birds seen this week is limited and small.

    Out of my windows, which are on a corner and look both north and east, I have seen very few birds. A pair of robins have a nest nearby, a small flock of house finches flit in and out of some nearby shrubs several times a day, and 10 common crows spend a good bit of time each day picking up bits of food dropped by the children on a nearby school playground.

  • Walking into springtime at Reynolds Park

    Winding along the road to Reynolds Park in Conifer, bright green leaves popping out of aspen branches are a welcome sight after a long, cold winter that didn't want to quit. After arriving at Reynolds and heading onto Oxen Draw Trail, you notice that the woodland park is alive with springtime activity. Birds perched in high trees call to each other, and delicate wildflowers are blossoming brightly on the forest floor.

    Spring has returned!

  • It’s difficult to discern the two subspecies of ibis

    Two weeks ago, we had a small group of 15 glossy ibis at the lake, and I promised to write about them this week. The glossy ibis is usually divided into two subspecies: the glossy ibis in the East and the white-faced glossy ibis in the West.

    However, the problem lies in the fact that the birds are identical except for the white feathers at the base of the bill in the white-faced glossy ibis. Sometimes this is present in western birds but only in small amounts, and sometimes not at all. Therefore, it is difficult to positively name the western birds.

  • Rare plant, falcon nest discovered at Staunton State Park

    During a recent study of plant and animal life at Staunton State Park, the rare budding monkey flower was found on the Black Mountain parcel, along with a peregrine falcon nest.

    Raquel Wertsbaugh, coordinator of the Colorado Natural Areas Program, talked about the discoveries during a presentation at the Jeffco Open Space Advisory Committee meeting May 1.

    Areas of exposed Precambrian granite also have been identified on Black Mountain, Wertsbaugh said. Rock climbing on the mountain could imperil the rare plants and the falcon nest, she remarked.

  • Dawn chorus at Evergreen Lake brings new bird sightings

    Time flies. Already it is Friday, May 9, as I write, and spring, which has come and gone several times this past week, is now promising another 15 to 16 inches of snow on Sunday. Every day, the grass grows greener outside my window.

    I am at the moment at the Life Care Center of Evergreen, since I slipped at home and hurt my back. My hope is that a few days of physical therapy will set things right so that I can go home. I really need someone to live in with me. So far, I haven’t found anyone, so it may be awhile.