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Outdoors

  • Witches and bats and bears -- oh no!

    I am sorry to say that I made an error in my article of two weeks ago. In the article of Oct. 7, I wrote that grizzly bears “had been all but eliminated in the contiguous 48 states.” This is not true, and I apologize. I checked this information in the book “Bears of the World” by Lance Craighead, and assumed it to be up to date, for he is an authority on bears and it is a fairly recent publication. However, I had two phone calls this week telling me that the brown or grizzly bears are indeed still found in the lower 48 states.

  • There’s more to turtles than shell games

    A reader of this column recently phoned to ask me if there were any turtles in Evergreen Lake.

    Yes, indeed, I have seen turtles in Evergreen Lake. However, turtles are far more common in the rivers and ponds on the plains, mostly below 5,500 feet.

  • Whiff of garbage will bring bruins from miles away

    Snow and below-freezing temperatures tell us that winter is here, even though it’s still supposed to be fall. Shortening days are growing still shorter and will for three more months until the winter solstice is reached and the pendulum swings the other way and they begin to slowly grow longer. My husband, Bill, used to feel the same way, and we used to celebrate Dec. 22 as if it were the first day of spring and then celebrate again in March when it really was the first day of spring and the days began to get longer than the nights.

  • Evergreen Lake too congested for ospreys

    The first two days of fall brought quite a few migrating birds to Evergreen Lake. A cold front moving down out of Canada brought cold rain followed by the first snow. I am not ready for snow yet and hope we may still have some Indian summer weather.

  • Autumn in the Colorado Rockies creeps up

    The first day of autumn has arrived and with it came our first really cold day, which made it really feel like autumn. I’m not happy to see the cold weather come, but at least it gives me a good excuse to have a fire in the fireplace in the evening. The aspen have reached their peak in the high country; they were beautiful at Echo Lake this week, but those in our valley are still green.

  • A mouse in the house is worse than two in the yard

    There is definitely a hint of autumn in the air and in other places, too. Yes, the cool dawn air is sweet, clean and sharp from our cold nights.

    The rising sun is welcome and warming, but afternoon showers soon cool things off again. There are signs of fall, also.The first aspen tree in the valley below our house has turned golden and is now beginning to lose its leaves. The grasses are ripening their seed heads, so our hillside is now a warm tawny tan, with splotches of green from weeds and bits of red from wood beauty cinquefoil and wild roses.

  • Finches, sparrows abound as autumn approaches

    After a hard rain during the night, the morning of Aug. 30 was damp, misty, humid, partly cloudy, partly sunny, foggy, hazy and warm, with a slight breeze that would sway the tall grasses and flowers occasionally just enough to send a raindrop rolling off.

    There was a definite feeling of autumn in the air that Sunday morning and an unusual number of birds in the yard and at the feeders. I was only getting quick flashes of them from the window, so I finally went out on the carport where I could see over a larger area and follow them from place to place.

  • Cowbirds find sanctuary in other birds’ nests

    Every year in late August, I receive phone calls from readers who want to know about a large brown baby bird that is being fed by a much smaller parent. This is usually a chipping sparrow or a gray-headed junco locally, but it may be almost any smaller bird. Brown-headed cowbirds arrive in the spring about March 1 and are the only bird in America that does not build its own nest. They come to feeders regularly because they prefer millet to all other grain. They watch the other birds to see where they are building nests, and when the rightful owner of the nest is away, they deposit an egg.

  • Wet summer has brought new weeds to the area

    On Friday evening, Aug.14, the Weed Awareness Committee met for its last summer weed pulling at Evergreen Lake.

  • Swallow in flight a fascinating sight

    The lake is calm and peaceful this morning. Some 37 Canada geese are resting on the sandbar. Among them, a few double-crested cormorants jostle for room. A light breeze is rippling the surface of the lake, and the path of Bear Creek can be seen by the dark streak running across the ripples like a smooth black ribbon.