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Outdoors

  • 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.

  • Evergreen Lake is too congested for ospreys to nest

    (Reprinted from Oct. 7, 2009)

    The first two days of fall brought quite a few migrating birds to Evergreen Lake. A cold front moving down out of Canada brought cold rain followed by the first snow. I am not ready for snow yet and hope we may still have some Indian summer weather.

    The strong cold front also brought a flurry of late migrants at the lake. On the first day of autumn, a large flock of 200 or more mallards was on the lake. They were certainly not the local yokels that nested here but a big flock of migrants.

  • The sound of elk bugling buffets the fall landscape

    (Reprinted from Sept. 7, 2006)

    Once more it is time for the “bugling” of the bull elk to flow down the mountains. This eerie, wailing sound is part of the rutting season and as much a part of the Rocky Mountain autumn as the turning of the aspen leaves.

    The first call reported to me this year was on Saturday, Aug. 26. A bit early but not too unusual. The calling will continue through September and dwindle in October, with still a few last calls heard in November.

  • Wood rats are interesting animals, though unwanted tenants

    (Reprinted from Sept. 17, 2008)

    A friend who volunteers at the Evergreen Nature Center stopped by last week to show us photographs of a wood rat taken by a couple who live on Upper Bear Creek. These folks had seen and heard some little critter in their house and wanted to be sure to live trap it and remove it before they left on a vacation.

  • It’s important for foothills residents to be bear-responsible

    (Reprinted from Sept. 15, 2010)

    Bears have been particularly plentiful this summer and will continue to be until about the first of November when snow and cold weather will send them into hibernation.

    We have had a female with three cubs roaming around Herzman’s Mesa most of the summer. This is a dangerous situation, and we need to do everything we can do to avoid human contact with these bears.

  • Wet summer has brought new weeds to the area

    (Reprinted from Sept. 2, 2009)

    On Friday evening, Aug.14, the Weed Awareness Committee met for its last summer weed pulling at Evergreen Lake.

    This rainy summer has produced an unusual number of weeds, as well as unusually big weeds. Two of the participants had brought a sample of a new weed that had appeared in their yard.

  • Leafy spurge weeds can grow in abundance unless eradicated

    (Reprinted from Aug. 29, 2012)

    It’s beginning to look a lot like autumn, I’m unhappy to say. Seldom does autumn come this early, but the drought seems to have made plants mature early, and many of the late summer and autumn flowers are blooming or past blooming already.

    When any plant is stressed by drought or any other condition, they do what all plants do: They bloom and produce seeds to carry on the species. Last week, Sylvia Robertson brought me a plant specimen taken from a large patch at Evergreen Lake.

  • Migrating nighthawks fill the evening air

    (Reprinted from Aug. 22, 2012)

    There is a small order of birds known as goatsuckers. The scientific name is the Caprimulgiformes, which comes from the Latin Caprimulgus, a milker of goats and forma or form.

    This name comes from the old belief that these birds, which are often seen in low sweeping flight over meadows, were sucking the milk out of goats. There are not as many species in this order as there are in some other orders such as finches and warblers.

  • Migrating nighthawks fill the evening air

    (Reprinted from Aug. 22, 2012)

    There is a small order of birds known as goatsuckers. The scientific name is the Caprimulgiformes, which comes from the Latin Caprimulgus, a milker of goats and forma or form.

    This name comes from the old belief that these birds, which are often seen in low sweeping flight over meadows, were sucking the milk out of goats. There are not as many species in this order as there are in some other orders such as finches and warblers.

  • 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.