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Outdoors

  • Little green heron and Bill’s memorial bench

    Sunday, May 3, dawned wet and soggy. Not a very propitious day for the dawn chorus or, more important to me, the dedication of my husband Bill’s Memorial Bench. I think there were more people than birds. Birds have better sense than to be out and about in such weather. The bird count was low for the date, but at least the people had good views of the birds they did see, for there were plenty of spotting scopes available for everyone to look through. Western grebes showed off their black-and-white tuxedos and their diving ability. Eight song sparrows skulked in and out of the fog.

  • Big snow made squirrel population smaller

    With not much to do during the four-day power outage caused by the big snow, I had some time for squirrel watching.

    Under deep snow conditions, most of the tree squirrels stay in their treetop penthouses, sleeping away the time. However, when they become hungry, they are forced to venture out to obtain food. When the snow is light and fluffy, they sometimes just plow through it, but when it is heavy, wet snow and 3 to 4 feet deep, that is an impossibility.

  • Finches bring springtime joy to Rockies

    The big snow has come and gone. It was not quite as much as we had a few years ago, but it was more than we needed at one time. I measured 3½ feet at our house, but it was so warm that much of it melted as it fell, and it weighed so much that it compacted what had already fallen. So, measurements were less than accurate. I decided that the actual depth didn’t much matter. After you pass 2 feet of wet heavy snow, most of the roads are closed and the damage to power lines has been done.

  • Spring’s early arrivals make appearances

    Thursday, April 9, brought one of the earlier spring arrivals to the area. A hermit thrush showed up in a friend’s backyard on Fleming Road. Actually, they have been seen earlier, sometimes showing up in late March at lower elevations such as Red Rocks Park.

  • Pussy willows and mourning cloaks

    Spring returned again on Tuesday, April 7, with temperatures in Evergreen reaching the 60s. It was a lovely day sandwiched between two snowfalls, typical of “Springtime in the Rockies.” It was warm enough to be out with just a sweater and one of the first days that I wanted to work outside.

  • Trumpeter swans appear on Squaw Pass Road

    If you were driving up Squaw Pass Road recently and nearly had an accident because you thought you saw three swans on the second pond in Noble Meadow, have no fear: You are not flipping out. There really are three swans on the pond.

  • Bill’s Bench coming in time for favorite birds

    The ice went out of Evergreen Lake faster this year than I have ever seen before. One day it was honeycombed, with a few openings along the north and west shore, and the next day it was all open. The long spell of warm weather had weakened the ice, and a windy morning set up water movement, and the ice began to break up fast. By midafternoon the lake was free of ice from shore to shore. It was good to see the open water and a chop on the lake, even though the wind was bitter cold. I stopped by again the next day, and once more the cold wind sent me scurrying home to sit by a fire.

  • Birds celebrate spring; plants lag behind

    Tuesday, March 17, was St. Patrick’s Day, of course, but it was also the first day of spring in Evergreen. The day started with a meadowlark on the lawn at Evergreen Lake, reported very early by Deb Calahan and not seen after by any others. It probably had continued on northward.

  • Goshawks again brooding over Evergreen

    While I was visiting Bosque del Apache, an exceptionally fine photograph of a northern goshawk was printed in the Community Eye feature of the Canyon Courier. It was taken by Richard Gristak on Bear Mountain. I was pleased to see this beautiful bird’s photo for two reasons: one, because I have not seen a goshawk in the area for some time, and secondly, because I had been wondering what hawk was making the birds at my feeder so antsy.

  • Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge a wild time

    I am just back from a brief trip to Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge. Three friends and I drove down together and a fifth drove over from Arizona to join us, so we made five musketeers. We took one day to drive down and one to drive back with a few stops along the way and had two full days on the refuge. Bosque del Apache is one of the gems of the National Wildlife Refuges. It is managed largely for the sand hill cranes and snow geese which winter there in great numbers but it is also very people friendly.