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Outdoors

  • G-town lands grant for accessible piers at lake

    Georgetown has received a $50,000 grant to build two disabled- and senior-accessible piers on the west side of Georgetown Lake.

    It’s one of six projects being funded by the Fishing is Fun program of the Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife. The goal is to improve fishing opportunities in the state.

  • 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.”

  • There’s a very 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.

  • Controlled burn near Empire improves bighorn sheep habitat

    The U.S. Forest Service conducted a controlled burn on 50 acres northwest of Empire on Monday to improve bighorn sheep habitat.

    More than 40 firefighters participated, many staying overnight to keep an eye on the fire’s embers to prevent rekindling.

    Forest Service spokeswoman Reid Armstrong said the controlled burn was essential to bighorn sheep habitat.

  • Spring beauties signal season’s awakening

    (Reprinted from May 19, 2010)

    It is a lovely May morning. A half-inch of sugar snow covers the rapidly greening world like frosting on a cake. The sky is blue, the sun is out and the snow is already melting.

    Branches, twigs and leaves are dripping diamonds. It is a glorious sight to behold, refreshing to smell the damp earth and exhilarating to hear the spring medley of migrating birds at the feeder and the burbling music of Little Cub Creek in the valley below.

  • G-town lands $338,000 grant to complete trail around lake

    Georgetown received a $338,000 grant last week from Great Outdoors Colorado to complete construction of the Bennhoff Lake Trail loop.

    The trail, which will encircle Georgetown Lake, is expected to be finished this summer. The town has been trying to complete the trail for years.

    The GOCO grant for the lake trail will join $85,000 in funds from the state Department of Local Affairs, and $30,000 each from Clear Creek County and the Clear Creek Metropolitan Recreation District.

    Albert Frei & Sons Quarry is donating the gravel for the 2-mile path.

  • Bill’s Bench coming in time for favorite birds

    (Reprinted from April 8, 2009)

  • Despite snowy weather, spring is finally here

    (Reprinted from March 31, 2008)

    Spring is finally here!

    We may still have a snowstorm or two, but today it is spring. When you live in the mountains of Colorado with their variable weather conditions, you learn to take the good days when they come, and today it is spring. Going out to fill the birdfeeders, I found yellow-green daffodil shoots poking up 3 inches out of the newly bare ground and pushkinia in bloom along the side of our stone wall.

    Spring is here — no doubt about it — and I am grateful.

  • Rock squirrels are rarely found in foothills

    (Reprinted from March 20, 2010)

    It was shortly after we moved to Colorado that my late husband and I were birding one morning in Red Rocks Park, and we saw our first rock squirrel.

    Rock squirrels are the biggest of all the many ground-squirrel clan, and despite the fact that they are ground squirrels, they are quite capable of climbing over rocks and boulders and even well into trees as if they thought they were tree squirrels.