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Outdoors

  • Red-winged blackbirds are a feisty bunch

    (Reprinted from Feb. 6, 2008)

    Usually cold and wintry, February is made bearable by the first signs of spring — nothing as showy as the first daffodil in bloom, but still good, dependable signs of spring.

  • Shrikes common in foothills, though not easy to identify

    (Reprinted from Jan. 23, 2008)

    For some time now, the birds at our feeders have been nervous, flying into the prickly thickness of a nearby blue spruce or darting into the lilac bushes every time anything moves in the yard or even inside the window. Such behavior, especially in cold, snowy weather, can mean only one thing. There is a predator of some kind working in the area. But what kind? That is the question.

  • The final fate of Frances the goose

    Several readers of this column have inquired recently if I knew what had become of “Frances” the Canada goose that lingered at Evergreen Lake into winter. Since I had suggested that the people who were concerned about Frances should call Carol Wade, I called her last week to find out what had transpired.

  • Winter cottonwoods and a new year of good birding

    Reprinted from Dec. 31, 2008

    The good news is that the winter solstice marks the shortest day of the year. From now on, each day grows a bit longer until the spring equinox brings equal days and nights, the official beginning of spring.

    Actually, the first signs of spring appear long before March 21. Easter daises will be found blooming in February, early migrant birds will begin to move, and the twigs of the cottonwoods and willows will begin to glow with color as sap rises upward to nourish buds and soon-to-be flowers and leaves.

  • Winter solstice heralds the coming of spring

    (Reprinted from Dec. 28, 2009)

    Looking out the window, I still see snow on the ground, and we will have snow for at least three more months. However, this past Monday, Dec. 20, was the changing point, and yesterday was the beginning of the change, the winter solstice, or the first day of winter.

    That’s the day my husband, Bill, used to call the best day of the year because it meant that from that day forward every day became a bit longer, and this meant spring was on its way. The best time of the year.

  • Snowberries make an appearance despite little snow

    (Reprinted from Dec. 5, 2012)

    This has been an exceptionally warm, dry fall. We often have nice weather on Thanksgiving, but to have 60-degree days in December is unusual. Moist air coming in from the Pacific Ocean has soaked the West Coast with rain.

    It may reach here by the time this is published, and as it hits the higher mountains, it may well turn to snow. However, that still remains uncertain.

  • Evergreen Audubon finds a new year-round home

    A second base of operations will enable the Evergreen Audubon Society to provide year-round educational programming in addition to the warm-weather offerings at the Nature Center at Evergreen Lake.

    The organization is renting two offices, two classrooms and storage space in a former church building at 29997 Buffalo Park Road that is owned by Ascent Church Evergreen. Audubon board members said the new space was a major investment, but the location will fit the society’s needs perfectly.

  • Squirrels, catbirds are among area’s autumn visitors

    (Reprinted from Nov. 11, 2010)

    There has been very little new at the feeder this week. This is because it is empty most of the time. The maintenance man here at Elk Run is very kind and he tries to keep it up and filled. However, some critter or critters seem to knock it down as fast as he can put it up. Since I hope to be going home in about 10 days, it is not worth the expense of an elaborate pulley system, so I must give up even though the birds bring me much joy.

  • Meet A Ranger: Mary Ann Bonnell

    Name: Mary Ann Bonnell, also known as Jeffco Open Space's "Ranger No. 1"

    Originally from: Alamogordo, N.M.

    How long have you been a ranger?

    "Six years with Colorado Parks & Wildlife; two with Aurora; and now two-and-a-half with Jeffco Open Space."

    Which park, anywhere, do you like to visit most in your spare time?

  • Brown creepers have habit of climbing trees in spiral pattern

    (Reprinted from Nov. 26, 2008)

    Many people have asked recently about a little brown mottled bird with a white breast and a curved beak that they have seen circling around the trunks of their trees. The bird is a brown creeper, a fairly common resident in our woodlands. Why they have become so obvious recently probably has several causes.