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Outdoors

  • Surf scoter a rare sight at Evergreen Lake

    Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 1 and 2, Loie Evans identified an immature surf scoter on Evergreen Lake. No matter how good a birder you are or how sure you are of your identification, it is always a good idea to have at least one other person see and identify a rare bird.

  • First snowflakes herald the promise of a beautiful winter

    When I was in fifth grade, we were required to learn a poem and present it before our class. The poem I chose to learn and recite was the one printed below.

    The First Snowfall
    The snow had begun in the gloaming,
    And busily all the night
    Had been heaping field and highway
    With a silence deep and white.
    Every pine and fir and hemlock
    Wore ermine too dear for an earl,
    And the poorest twig on the elm tree
    Was ridged inch deep with pearl.
    From sheds new-roofed with Carrara

  • Solitaires stay around and stake out territories all winter

    The first Townsend’s solitaire that I ever saw was shortly after we moved to Colorado in April 1965. I was looking around our new yard and saw a strange gray bird just across the road, clinging to a giant mullein stalk in the open valley above Little Cub Creek. I watched it digging insects out of the dead mullein stalk and thought how often I had seen downy woodpeckers acting in the same manner.

  • Solitaires stay around and stake out territories all winter

    The first Townsend’s solitaire that I ever saw was shortly after we moved to Colorado in April 1965. I was looking around our new yard and saw a strange gray bird just across the road, clinging to a giant mullein stalk in the open valley above Little Cub Creek. I watched it digging insects out of the dead mullein stalk and thought how often I had seen downy woodpeckers acting in the same manner.

  • Squirrels bring life, activity through winter months

    When I was out on the patio to catch some of the fine fall sunshine the other day, I was sworn at with a loud, vociferous, emphatic blast of squirrel language. The western red squirrel, which has been challenging me all summer, had in just a few cold days claimed the patio as his territory with firm determination and loud raucous cussing at everyone else who thought to claim it for a few hours.

  • Get ready for winter birds now that first snowfall has arrived

    The first snow has fallen. Unfortunately, it came three weeks early this year. However, the fall color is still brilliant in some places, and we still have nice weather next week, according to the weatherman.
    I feel that it is early, since the first wet, soggy snow usually arrives on Halloween as if it were a mean trick, leaving all the new kids freezing in their thin costumes. You can always tell the newcomers from anyone who has lived here a few years because they learn to buy Halloween costumes large enough to go over their winter parkas.

  • Winged, furry creatures get ready for winter

    When I have time to sit out in the autumn sunshine, my favorite occupation is watching how all the various wild creatures that visit my yard are getting ready for winter. Nearly all of the “summer” birds have prepared for winter by leaving.

  • Trees turn on their vibrant fall colors

    It’s that time of year again when everyone is out looking at aspen leaves. Nothing makes Colorado’s scenery more beautiful than the gold of aspen leaves. We have aspen bowls through mile upon mile of our mountain country, nestled among the dark green of pines, spruces and firs. They are golden treasure for everyone to admire and share.

    I am amazed that Denver has not long since built and sponsored an Aspen Bowl where it could host and play major football games.

  • Fall marks the beginning of maturing seeds

    As summer comes to an end, fall arrives with its rich fullness of color. The end of the growing season is marked by the gold of aspen and the abundance of maturing seeds.

  • Young birds learn the ropes at feeders

    It has been fun watching all the young birds coming to the feeders. This has been a particularly successful breeding season, warm enough, food enough and no late June snow. It seems as though all the summer birds have raised successful broods. Even the grey-headed juncos have managed to raise a few of their own, not just one big baby cowbird as they seem to have done for the past several years.