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Outdoors

  • March’s crazy weather brings spring birdsong to foothills

    I started this article four days ago. It was the vernal equinox, and the day was balmy and sunny. Since then, we have had new snow. It is cold, and winter has returned with just enough snow to make everything white and sparkly in the morning sunlight.

  • Subspecies of dark-eyed junco are complex but easily discernible

    For some time now, I have thought I should write a column on the juncos that we are seeing at our feeders, but something or another seemed to come up every week, and I put it off. No matter what juncos we have had all winter, there will be new ones coming in as many of them migrate in the early spring to more northern breeding grounds.
    Juncos are commonly known as “snow birds” in many areas because they arrive just before the first snow and leave in the early spring. They spend the winter or snow season with us and move northward to nest.

  • Spring’s warmer weather brings scent of skunks

    Spring is certainly a confusing season in this area. March and April are supposedly spring months, but here in the foothills, it is a time of indecision.

  • New ranger seeking solutions to issues in Evergreen parks

    As the newly hired park ranger for the Evergreen Park and Recreation District, Jason Garner says he plans to work with community residents to find solutions to issues that trouble them.

    “My goal is getting out there, making my presence known, so people have somebody to go to,” Garner said.

    By involving the community, problems in the parks can be reduced, he said.

    “Complaining, having issues, will only get you so far,” Garner said.

  • Nest boxes for sale; bluebirds a happy arrival

    Once more Evergreen Audubon has made some bluebird and chickadee nest boxes for sale. The sale this year will be held on Saturday, March 8, beginning at 9 a.m. at the King Soopers in Bergen Park and in Conifer. If you need bird boxes, this is the time to buy them. They will be available until they are all sold, so get there early. If no one is there selling boxes, they are sold out.

  • Song sparrows find their voice as winter fades, spring nears

    February creeps to a close. It is to me the most dreary month of the year. The pleasantness of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays is over, and winter seems to really settle in, with both more snow and colder temperatures.

  • Remote slash-collection sites announced

    The Jeffco Sheriff’s Office has announced its three remote slash drop-off dates for this summer. Jeffco again will team with mountain fire departments to host the sites.

    Slash disposal became more of a challenge when the Rooney Road Recycling Center stopped accepting organic material in 2012. Jefferson County has received a grant for an “air curtain” burner for slash, but a location hasn’t been decided yet.

  • Snowy owls seen more often in northern states this year

    This winter has brought unusually large incursions of snowy owls into the northern states. These big white beautiful owls nest on the arctic tundra, well above timberline, and regularly winter across southern Canada.

  • They are still red foxes no matter what color they are

    Probably the most common animal to be seen in this area is the red fox. When we first moved to Evergreen in 1965, there were only gray foxes to be seen, but it wasn’t long before a red fox moved in, and then gray foxes disappeared. For some time now, red foxes have dominated in the area to the point where I have not seen a gray fox for a long time.

  • Reeling them in, Evergreen style

    Sitting on the ice as a gusty breeze whipped across Evergreen Lake, Evan Gerbe was trying his luck at ice fishing for the first time.

    “It trips me out,” Gerbe said as he looked at the 2-foot rod he was dangling into a hole cut in the thick ice.

    Gerbe lives in Washington state, where he fishes for salmon with a 9-foot rod in a fast-flowing river. While visiting his mother in Evergreen, Gerbe said, he decided to participate in the second annual ice fishing derby on Saturday.