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Outdoors

  • Cattails have served many uses over the years

    Summer is here, along with the Denver International Airport weather station registering the first 90-degree temperature for the year on July 1. Along with the warm weather, afternoon thunderstorms continue to rumble across the mountains, bringing storms and tornadoes to the plains. There have been a few interesting bird records, but the spring migration has just about come to a standstill.

  • Wildflowers dot the landscape, but only for a while

    The wildflowers have been spectacular this year. I can’t quite get used to the peak bloom being in June, for I am accustomed to the peak of spring bloom being in May, for that is when the broad-leafed deciduous forests of western New York are carpeted in bloom. I had forgotten that the peak of bloom is in June in Colorado. What a glorious month it has been. Not only is it green from all the rain we now have had, but now all that verdant green is splattered with the color of various wildflowers.

  • Saving birds from death from window strikes

    About five years ago I was reading about the thousands of migrating birds killed every year by flying into windows. I had been concerned about the many birds that hit my big picture windows every year and decided I should do something about it. The article I read also told about a college student who was doing research on the problem and mentioned that a black-plastic anti-deer fabric had the best results in his tests.

  • The many and varied forms of clematis

    Last week we took a brief look at the white clematis, or Western virgin’s bower. This week we will take a look at a very similar plant known as yellow clematis or Chinese clematis, formerly Clematis orientalis. This is the plant that is on the noxious weed list and which so many people are concerned about.

  • Clematis vines add interest, beauty

    Several readers have asked recently for an article on clematis vines, since one of them is on the noxious weed list and others are not. Many people seem to be having trouble telling them apart. There have been five species in the genus clematis found on the eastern slope until recently, one white, one yellow and one blue. They have now been renamed, and although the plants are still the same, they are now in four different genera and six species.

  • June finally brings spring’s green hues

    June has finally brought spring to the mountains. Our Evergreen World is GREEN, as green as I have seen it since last August when the drought turned everything to a uniform tan. Even the ponderosa pine trees had lost their scintillating sparkle. Now, after nearly a month of rainy weather, they are sparkling in the sunshine. The hills are green with evergreen trees, kinnikinnick and grasses, and the valleys are green with the new growth of willows.

  • Late-spring arrivals making appearances

    Just as in days past, the summer folk have arrived in Evergreen. It used to be families that arrived as soon as school was out, and there were cabins to be opened, bed linens to be aired out and meals to be prepared during the last of May or early June. Now it is summer birds that still arrive during the last of May or early June.

    The summer birds have territories to locate, songs to sing to warn others to stay out of those territories, mates to court and nests to build. Soon they will have young to feed.

  • Rudy ducks are rowdy in mating season

    Editor’s note: Sylvia Brockner is under the weather this week. We’re reprinting a column from May 16, 2007.

    It is a lovely May morning as I write, a bit cooler than yesterday but still very spring-like. After throwing her last temper-tantrum snowstorm on April 24, April decided to behave herself, and the last few days were warm and beautiful. As a farewell gift, she brought back the sora and a flock of 14 ruddy ducks to Evergreen Lake on Monday, April 30.

  • 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.