~Today’s Feathered Friend-Tree Swallow in Rocky Mountain National Park

Tree Swallow
Tree Swallow

It’s early morning. The car is packed with snacks, lunch, water and lots of camera gear. Excitement fills the air. We chat about our hopes of seeing a Moose, of taking photos of other wildlife and capturing the serenity of nature, and of breathing into our lungs the fresh air in the higher elevations of Rocky Mountain National Park.

Leaving Loveland we travel west along the twisty Big Thompson River, into the narrow canyon and continue climbing until we reach Rocky Mountain National Park. We make one stop along the way. A stop in Drake; I want to look for a Dipper.

I have fond memories of observing Dippers feeding along the Big Thompson River years ago when we first moved to Colorado. We pull over and search the banks of the river, but our luck isn’t with us on this endeavor. We hop back into the car and continue our journey. We enter and drive through the town of Estes Park and soon we reach the entrance booth into Rocky.

We stop at Sheep’s Lake, because Linda had heard that the day before a Moose had been spotted wondering around the area. We stopped also, because we just couldn’t drive by this picturesque scene. We didn’t see a Moose, but stood in awe gazing at the beautiful, snow-covered mountain tops and enjoying the quiet.


After “drinking” in the beauty of Sheep’s Lake, we continued toward Endovalley.


As we travel along, I stop the car and ask Linda “What is that bird sitting on the branch of that tree? Oh, its a Tree Swallow.” I jump out of the car, grab my camera from the back seat and try to capture this gorgeous Tree Swallow as it sits in the sun preening. The first photo above is the ever swooping, diving, sliding little swallow as it takes a “sun” break. What a beautiful area this little Tree Swallow calls home.


Slowly driving a little further we enjoy the scenery and just had to stop when we saw these backlit, Aspens. Yes, spring has reached some areas in Rocky! The photos don’t reflect the beauty of these trees as a faint breeze and morning light kiss their new leaves.




A glance across the road reveals the beauty of more Aspen, plus the signs that Elk have been enjoying a snack.




Well little Tree Swallow, thanks for sunbathing this morning. You invited us to pause for a closer look, giving us a chance to observe your surroundings and to photograph you. Thanks for sharing your home with us today!

Our day in Rocky Mountain National Park  continues, so stay tuned.



Poetry: “Old Man Resting”

Old man resting,

in a field of spring’s new growth,

tired from the season.

Strength builds,

antlers grow,

peaceful are his days.

Rocky Mountain Elk
A sad looking fellow!
“You would be sad looking as well, if you had the winter I have had.”

In a few weeks this Elk will be strong, sleek and handsome. What a gorgeous velvety rack he is growing!

Something got this one’s attention.
A scene from Rocky Mountain National Park, June 2016



~Cold and Rainy

What does one do to keep busy when it is cold and raining? If you are a birder, enjoy feeding, watching and photographing them, then that is how you spend your time.

Rufous-sided Towhee:



Lazuli Bunting:

These guys are hard to capture, always moving and wary. Didn’t capture the eye well, but he is showing off his gorgeous breeding plumage.
Lazuli Bunting (photo taken through glass a few days ago).

Cold and rainy weather, especially this time of year, can cause birds to temporarily interrupt their migration to their northern breeding ranges, laying over in areas until they can continue on their journey. Storms can also cause birds to move to lower elevations.

We have had quite the variety of birds visiting our yard over the last two days. It will be interesting to see how soon they continue on their way. Some, such as the Juncos, Chipping and White-crowned Sparrows left before this last spell of wet, cold weather. Our rainy weather should be over tomorrow. It will be nice to see the sun, but sad to see some of these birds leave.
In past years, I would have been lucky to see one male Western Tanager. This past week I have had three males, two females and several younger adults. They have stayed during this weather system to enjoy the suet, oranges and jelly I put out for the Bullock’s Orioles. Today, for the first time in two days, I have seen them hunting in the trees, bushes and scrubs, which is a good sign.

Western Tanagers:

Western Tanager
Guess, I got carried away! They are giving me a lot of opportunity to photograph them.
Also, we have Green-tailed Towhees, Lazuli Bunting, Pine Siskin’s, Cedar Waxwings, Virginia’s Warblers along with the usual suspects.  I am on my second sack of oranges, which not only the Orioles and Tanagers enjoy, but also the House Finches.
A very shy Green-tailed Towhee
A very shy, elusive, Green-tailed Towhee (photo taken through my kitchen window).
Virginia’s Warbler (this one was a nice surprise)
Blue Jay
Pine Siskin
I believe, during these past few days, Howard and I have helped some of these birds survive. They have been cold and wet, pretty drenched.  You should see the feeding frenzy this weather has caused, it has been quite the show and is still going on.
I put out peanuts for the Jays, mixed seed with corn for the Doves and others, suet for the Woodpeckers, oranges and jelly for the Orioles, sugar water for the Hummingbirds, which the Orioles drink. I have noticed, as an example, the Scrub Jay’s, eating from the suet feeders, which I believe is to feed their young. The suet is a great source of food for birds.
A wet male Bullock’s Oriole
Pretty wet guy.
I watched a pair of Scrubs work so hard to build a lovely, sturdy nest in a pine tree right where all the feeders are located. At first the Scrubs would chase away all birds that attempted to eat. It was a losing battle and they wisely decided to abandon their lovely first nest and relocate. I don’t know where they moved. The Scrubs would have gone crazy with all the recent activity.
So, if you are ever stuck inside, want some entertainment, have a few quarters laying around, purchase some bird seed and enjoy the show!

I had so much fun today taking photos of my feathered friends!

Enjoying retirement: On The Road & At Home


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