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Outdoors

  • First flowers of spring bring color to foothills landscapes

    It is wonderful to see spring greening the hills once more. I drove south to Colorado Springs and Pueblo with friends last week and was once more impressed by the changing landscape south of Colorado Springs.

  • Western red squirrels begin roaming forests in April

    March has been an interesting month with weather zig-zagging between record highs, record lows, exceptional spring-like weather along with exceptional drought with which came a serious forest fire near Conifer. All of this brought a great deal of uncertainty.
    April has already greeted us with a rain and a snowstorm, and we can’t help but wonder what else it will bring before the month is up. April has a reputation of being unable to make up its mind as to whether she will spring or put on her parka and dive back into winter.

  • Fascinating great-horned owls may make an appearance here

    The great spring weather has miraculously continued through another full week of late March. In fact, March has been so unusually mild, I am beginning to worry about what April and May will bring.

  • Warm weather brings buds on narrow-leaf cottonwoods

    What a remarkable day this has been. It is only March, but the temperature soared to 72 degrees in Denver, and it feels like spring.
    The sky is mostly blue, and the willows along Bear Creek area dressed in their brilliant spring orange-yellow. The buds of the narrow-leaf cottonwood are swelling. The sticky bud scales are giving color to the otherwise bare crown. As the buds swell, the crown appears to start to fill in or thicken even though there is not yet a true leaf in sight.

  • Mountain bluebirds already seen at Three Sisters

    The weather has been surprisingly spring-like this past week. However, driving by the lake, I noticed very little change. It remains frozen shore to shore. The first sign of ice breakup is usually the appearance of a larger and larger amount of open water at the inlet.

  • Ducks will arrive soon at Evergreen Lake

    Soon the ice will break up on Evergreen Lake, and migrating ducks will begin to appear. Usually blue-winged teal are the first to arrive. It is interesting to keep track of the large variety of ducks that can be seen on this little lake.

  • Trip to Red Rocks Park nets a plethora of bird sightings

    This past week has once again been one of vacillating weather with spring-like temperatures one day followed by a day of snow. Temperatures have ranged from normal to 20 degrees above normal.

  • Hint of spring can be found on the plains

    Friday, Feb. 17, was an amazing day. A friend called to say she wanted to go out on the plains to search for the snowy owl that many have seen just east of Barr Lake and asked if I would like to go with her. She didn’t want to go alone and was willing to put up with me, my oxygen, etc., so I went and had a great day.

  • Northern shrikes are winter visitors to area

    Late winter brings strange weather into this area. This year, January brought much warmer weather than usual, giving everyone spring fever. February thus far has turned out to be colder than average and has brought back-to-back snowstorms with scarcely a break in between.
    The only thing that you can be positive about is that it will change. Whatever it is like at the moment, it probably won’t be the same 10 minutes from now or tomorrow. Usually our mornings dawn clear and bright because the skies often clear overnight, however, even that is not a certainty.

  • Running through the lore of roadrunner history

    The greater roadrunner, which has been seen for the past few months at Dinosaur Ridge, has been an interesting visitor.
    Although they are regular residents in the southeast corner of Colorado, they seldom go north of that. They are essentially desert birds and are found all across the desert Southwest. That little corner of our state is the only place where they apparently have traditionally felt at home.