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Outdoors

  • Eastern fence lizards are frequent visitors to our area

    (Reprinted from Aug. 13, 2008)

    A few weeks ago a lady named Elizabeth phoned to tell me she had seen a lizard in her yard on Old Squaw Pass Road. She was delighted to have this new resident sharing her garden but wondered what kind it was and why she had never seen one before.

    The answer to what kind of lizard it is: It probably is an eastern fence lizard, since they are the only species likely to be seen here.

  • August brings late wildflowers, fall migration

    (Reprinted from Aug. 5, 2009)

    July has been a great month. Most of the days have been blue and sunny, with cool mornings and warm afternoons with scattered showers. The summers of 1965 and 1969 were much like this, and I had very little need to water to have a bountiful garden. It seemed like we had moved to Camelot.

  • Brook Forest residents discuss problems on Maxwell Falls Trail

    Fire. Trash. Increased traffic. Illegal parking. Unsafe camping.

    These were some of the issues Brook Forest residents and others cited during a meeting to discuss the Maxwell Falls Trail at the Brook Forest Inn on Wednesday evening.

    The meeting was hosted by Clean Trails, a nonprofit that organizes cleanups and educational efforts. Richard Solosky, a Clean Trails representative, said the same problems are being seen across the state.

  • Meet A Ranger: John Queen

    Name: John Queen, also known as Jeffco Open Space's "Ranger No. 5"

    Originally from: Beaumont, Texas

    Stationed at: White Ranch Open Space Park

    How long have you been a ranger?

    “Five years.”

    What’s one thing you do as a ranger that people would be surprised by?

    “Swift-water rescue.”

    What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen at a park?

  • Jeffco set for debut of ‘Up Canyon Segment’ of Peaks to Plains Trail

    This week, Jeffco Open Space will celebrate its first milestone in the broader statewide effort to promote outdoor recreation when it opens a newly constructed section of the Peaks to Plains Trail in Clear Creek Canyon.

  • Cordilleran flycatchers have little luck with nesting spots

    (Reprinted from July 28, 2010)

    Although spring migration has long been over, we had a bit of excitement in the yard this week.

    The house wrens have long been nesting in a swallow box on the supporting post of the front porch. In fact, they are feeding young. Although it is supposed to be a swallow box, the swallows have never had a chance to use it because the wrens arrive earlier and have already taken it over. They usually have eggs in the box by the time the violet-green swallows arrive. That was the case this year.

  • The facts about our water mammal neighbors

    (Reprinted from July 16, 2008)

    A friend volunteering at the Evergreen Nature Center last week asked me about an odd water mammal called a nutria. It seems that a volunteer on the boardwalk has pointed out a muskrat to a group of visitors, and this person came into the center and informed the volunteer on duty that “those animals out there are not muskrats; I grew up in Louisiana, and they are nutria. I have seen enough nutria that I know what they look like.”

  • Sad sequel to the song sparrow saga

    (Reprinted from July 2, 2008)

    It is sad to report that the song sparrow nest met with ill fate.

    On Sunday, June 22, Linda called me to say there were three young in the nest. We were all thrilled at the news, although I am still confused about when the eggs were laid. Apparently, they were laid earlier than we had thought. The female diligently fed the young that day, but on Monday, June 3, the young were gone from the nest. Only two unhatched eggs remained.

  • Clematis vines add interest, beauty

    (Reprinted from June 17, 2009)

    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.

  • Saving birds from death from window strikes

    (Reprinted from June 29, 2009)

    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.