The Class of 2014’s Happy Ending to Spring Migration

Dear friends, I am sharing the blog address below with you, written by WISReader, about Whooping Cranes.

Read about the Whooping Cranes’ migration south and then back north, and about the dedicated and talented people that assist with the hatching of eggs , migration, and other goals to  increase the Whooping Crane population.

From the website listed below you can link to Operation Migration and read about the capture and rescue mission of five young cranes that made their way south for the winter, but got LOST finding their way back to Wisconsin for the summer. Enjoy!

The Class of 2014’s Happy Ending to Spring Migration.

~A few remaining photos from our day trip to Rocky National Park with out-of-town friends

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Looking for food.
Looking for food.
Trying to hide
Notice the beautiful yellow throat, and the yellow patches on the sides and on top of the head.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet looking for food in the pines.
IMG_3774This little guy was flitting around from branch to branch and tree to tree, so this is the best photo I could capture of his ruby crowned head.
The header photo is a Pink-sided Junco, which was busy hunting for food in and around patches of snow. I was lucky it decided to get a better view of its surrounding by hopping up on this boulder.
It was a fun day that will be treasured always!

Sharing with:

Stewart at paying-ready-attention for Wild Bird Wednesday

Michelle at Rambling Woods for Nature Notes #312



~A new bird, Willows and an old Beaver Dam

On Monday, while visiting Rocky Mountain National Park, I observed two small sparrow like birds in a bush near the water. Turns out they are Brewer’s Sparrows. I was grateful to get these photos; they sure didn’t want to be seen.

I haven’t seen this bird before so it becomes number 386 on my Birding Life List!

Brewer's Sparrow
Brewer’s Sparrow. Note the complete and conspicuous white eye-ring.
Brown crown with fine black streaks. Upper parts buffy-brown and streaked.
Hiding! Number 386.
Close-up of a Willow Bush, just starting to bloom.
Close-up of a Willow Bush, just starting to bloom.
Willows are the dominant woody shrub on almost all wet meadow or riparian areas in the park. They establish on point bars, abandoned beaver ponds, and abandoned channels or ox-bows.
Fun Facts:
  • Willows can establish from seeds or from willow roots or stems that implant into the ground. Shoots from the roots are important because they allow existing willow plants and root systems to maintain themselves for long periods of time.
  • They provide shade to streams and critical habitat for a large number of terrestrial and aquatic species.
  • They slow water flow and allow the ground to absorb water and nutrients.
  • They stabilize stream banks.
  • They provide food and construction material for beavers and their dams which benefit ecosystem processes.
  • Willow growth and height in the park is determined by large ungulate and beaver browsing. Willows have evolved defenses against browsing. They can grow tall very rapidly beyond the height of browsing or they can produce defense compounds that make them less palatable to large ungulates like moose and elk.
  • Willow have declined in Rocky Mountain National Park meadows because there are fewer beaver and elk overbrowse their leaves and stems.

Info taken from park web-site:

An old Beaver Dam
An old Beaver Dam. Notice the Willows.

~Common Ravens?

Gay’s Black & White Photo Challenge #3

Black & White Photo Challenge #3
Bird Four
So long

I have been sitting here, for awhile with several bird books, trying to decide if these birds are all the same species and if they are Common Ravens.

Please let me know what you think –  Common Ravens (Y/N).

Bird One:


Bird Two:



Best photo to view all feature descriptions.

 Bird Three:

This one if my favorite. Notice the eye; he was watching me.


Showing shaggy neck.
Showing shaggy neck.


~A handsome fellow with a green head


Through the trees,

 at water’s edge,

A handsome fellow,

with a green head.

Through the Trees at Waters Edge
Through the Trees at Waters Edge


Enjoys a swim,

and searching for food,

head first he plunges,

unaware he is being viewed.



Using his feet,

to paddle around,

he goes in circles,

not making a sound.


Water swirls,

up he pops,

needs a breath,

off his body water drops.



Head first he tries again,

makes a wider circle,

paddles faster,

focused on his purpose.


This male Mallard made us giggle. We watched him tipping head first into the pond and using his feet to paddle around searching for seeds, plants and snails.


~My Sleepy Elk and his friends

Here are photos of three of the four Elk we spotted while driving toward Estes Park. These guys were lounging around in someone’s front yard. Perhaps full and lazy after a fine meal.

The Sleepy Guy
The Sleepy Guy

They were laying behind this fence on the grass and I didn’t want to get too close and bother them.

The Sleepy Guy and his friends
The Sleepy Guy and his friends
The Alert One
“Okay, you’re had your fun, now go away.”

These young Bull Elk are still sporting some of their winter coat, which will be replaced with shiny, smooth hair.

If you would like to read more about Elk visit this web site called Elk Facts. Below are a few Antler Facts taken from this web-site:

  • Only male elk have antlers
  • Bulls shed and grow a new set of antlers every year
  • New antlers are covered in fuzzy skin called velvet
  • Antlers harden by late summer and the velvet peels away
  • By September, antlers are solid bone
  • A set of antlers on a mature bull can weigh up to 40 pounds
 Featured photo: Meet another friend.
A little tease on an upcoming post.
A little tease on an upcoming post.

Enjoying retirement: On The Road & At Home


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