Close-Up…..

Close-up

Honey Bees love Speedwell Flowers
Honey Bees love Speedwell Flowers

A beautiful day to examine you closely

Your…..

~Bold anatomy is needed to defy harsh climates

~Craftiness is your ability to survive

~Delightful details disclose your secrets

 ~Exposed expression shares with us your true meaning

 ~Faults are forgotten and blended with your overall beauty

 ~Graciousness in your offering to those dependent on you is

admired

~Hidden beauty goes unnoticed for most, but not all

~Intricate symmetrical angles and shapes reflect the sun’s rays

 ~Joyful existence is what you present to those who truly see

~Kaleidoscope of colors and hues so vivid they appear seemingly unreal

Looking close, into your soul, reveals your inner strength

Day Trip to Rocky…..

Small but vigilant scout
Small but vigilant scout

     Early Monday morning a friend and I left Loveland and headed to Rocky Mountain National Park. It is a short drive of about twenty miles and I always take the scenic route through the town of Glen Haven. It is a gorgeous drive.

     Traveling though the Big Thompson Canyon is always a special event, with its tall, jagged, cliffs jetting into the sky above you and the flowing waters of the Big Thompson River running below you. 

     Most times, driving this canyon, one will get a glimpse of a few Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep grazing on the sides of these steep, stone walls, but on this trip we did not spot any.

     As you drive through the canyon there are many places to pull off the road and enjoy the scenery and the smoothing sounds of the rapidly flowing river, especially this time of year with the spring snow melt raging downstream.

      It is relaxing to stand by the river, close your eyes and listen to the sound of the water as it searches it way over, around and even under boulders that are in its path as it traverses down the canyon.

      Fly fishers (men and women) {Smile} come to the waters of the Big Thompson from all over the world to cast their lines hoping to snag a Rainbow Trout. It seems so memorizing observing a person out in the middle of a stream, dressed in waders and all their waterproof clothing, casting their long lines back and forth, back and forth. I will have to try to photograph a fly fisher person.

     As we left the canyon having traveled through the little mountain town of Glen Haven we  crested the last hill and descended into the valley toward Estes Park. The Rocky Mountains, with their snow covered peaks, are what you see first. As your eyes adjust to seeing these magnificent mountains you can then and only then take in the beauty of the valley as it stretches out in front of you.

     Mountain Blue Birds call this area home in the spring and summer and you will usually see them sitting on a fence post or flying up to catch a bug. I did not get to take a photo of one, but next time….

     This year we had two late-spring snow storms that took a told on the Mountain Blue Bird population as they were migrating through the area. People were reporting large numbers of dead birds in their yards. One lady had twelve. My husband and I found two in our yard.

     Leaving the valley, heading to the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, we had to make an immediate u-turn. We had spotted a huge, bull Elk along the side of the road and decided he would definitely be worth a photo or two. One can imagine, or maybe not, spending the winter at or near 12,000 feet. This poor guy was looking exactly like he had experienced a harsh winter – a little ragged with tuffs of fur hanging in clumps off his body; however he still was wearing his beautiful felt-covered antlers. He was having a mid-morning snack at a backyard bird feeder. Good for him.

     We finally entered the park. As we drove and hiked around experiencing the serenity and wonder of this national park, as on this day and with every visit, it did not fail to bring joy to my soul and deep appreciation for the beauty of nature.

     The highlight for me, this visit, were the two dueling male Broad-tailed Hummingbirds defending their territory. Each surveying their world from the high perch of their own pine tree. High into the air they would fly, soaring downward and then back up just as you think they are going to crash into the ground. Who is the bravest?

     We drove the twenty miles back home with wonderful memories and meaningful impressions of a successful and fun day visiting Rocky Mountain National Park.

     

 

Bullock’s Oriole…..

Bullock's Oriole ~Enjoying its new feeding station~
Bullock’s Oriole
~Enjoying its new feeding station~

Cheh, Cheh, Cheh, Cheh

I have been hearing this harsh cheh call for a few weeks now while out in my yard. It is a very distinct call – loud and repeated very quickly many times.

Cheh, Cheh, Cheh, Cheh

I knew, by this call, it was a Bullock’s Oriole. A beautiful and very colorful bird of orange, black and white.

For many years during the spring, I would see these Orioles flitting around. You can hardly miss the flashes of bright colors nor their noisy vocals. They would fly into my yard and fly right back out. Not much to entice them to stay I guess. This spring I noticed a pair hanging around more than usual and considered that they might be nesting near by. I was hopeful!

Both the male and female seemed to like a Hawthorne tree I have in my front yard. I noticed that they would fly into this Hawthorn tree and not any others. In the spring this tree is simply beautiful with its dark green leaves and clusters of white flowers. In the fall and winter it has bright, red berries. It is what I call an umbrella shaped tree, which to me makes it even more lovely. It seems as these clusters of white flowers reach their peak this tree begins to – stink! Yes, truly stink! This smell must be what attracts the bees and birds. I can’t think of any other explanation for the smell.

Hawthorn Tree (Stinky) We planted this tree over 26 years ago.
Hawthorn Tree (Stinky)
We planted this tree over 26 years ago.

I wanted to see if I could entice these Orioles to stay around in my yard knowing the stinky tree would not totally do the trick.  So I did a little research on what type of feeder and food to put out for them. Yesterday, I bought my first Oriole feeder, which is designed just for them. 

This feeder holds Oriole “syrup” just like the Hummingbird syrup you can mix up yourself or buy already mixed to put into a Hummingbird feeder. The Oriole syrup is “orange” in flavor and color! It smells pretty darn good! I also brought some oranges, cut them in half and placed them near the feeder and the “stinky” tree.

During the day today both the male and female would fly into the “stinky” tree and then over to the feeder. Not very quickly  as they are very wary birds. They seemed perplexed and would peck on the clear plastic bulb containing the syrup. They did not know how, it seemed, to get to the liquid. With this particular feeder they have to use their bill to depress the covered opening to get to the syrup. For whatever reason, they seemed to be ignoring the oranges.

Okay, I’am thinking, what can I do to help them find the spot to depress. After all I had just bought this feeder and I really wanted it to work for them. I remembered they also like jelly. There are jelly jar lids that you can buy, which allows the jar to be hung on a feeder and the birds eat right out of the jar.  I did not have a jar holder, but I did have some jelly!

I placed a few dabs of jelly over the spot that they needed to depress. What the heck it was worth a try. Well, I don’t know if the dabs of jelly worked or the birds were smart enough to figure it out for themselves. I did see them eating the jelly off the feeder.

This afternoon I was delighted to see that I had three male Bullock’s Orioles and one female at my new Oriole feeding station, enjoying their Orange Syrup (finally), Grape Jelly and fresh Oranges. I finally observed them munching away on the oranges.

This sighting of three males together was a first in my yard. 

A little money, a little effort and a little time has resulted in one of life’s little pleasures.

Smile!

Hopefully, I will get some better photos as they get use to this feeding station.

A Memorial Day Walk…..

 

Monday morning, after breakfast, we headed out our front door for our daily walk. This two mile walk is one of our routine paths and a favorite as we get to experience nature for at least one-third of the way.

This past Monday was Memorial Day and we were feeling sad remembering what this day represents and had given our thoughts to those who lost their lives for our beautiful country. So we needed a little cheering up and nature did not disappoint.

~ Leaving our home for our walk ~ You can just see Howard's Ham Radio Antenna
~ Leaving our home for our walk ~
You can just see Howard’s Ham Radio Antenna
~Howard, Kloudy and Skye~ A short walk east leads to this natural area.
~Howard, Kloudy and Skye~

A short walk east leads to this natural area. The snow in the mountains melts and the run off is collected in area reservoirs. The water is then released into these “ditches” for the farmers to use for irrigation. Many species of birds and other wildlife also depend on this water.

~ Thankful for a litle Nature Preserve - nearby ~
~ Thankful for a litle Nature Preserve – nearby ~
~ Nice to see some deer ~ We were being watched. Usually we see Elk in this area.
~ Nice to see some deer ~

We were being watched. Usually we see Elk in this area.

~ Male Mallard watching over a nest ~ He kept swimming back and forth never going far from, I am guessing, a nest.
~ Male Mallard watching over a nest ~

He kept swimming back and forth never going far from, I am guessing, a nest.

~ A little water in the pond ~ We are now facing West toward the mountains.
~ A little water in the pond ~

We are now facing West toward the mountains.

~  Enjoying the Shade ~ While I take just a few more photos.
~ Enjoying the Shade ~

While I take just a few more photos.

~ A Buzzing Beehive ~ I did not want to get too close!
~ A Buzzing Beehive ~

I did not want to get too close! Beautiful, Cottonwood Trees are home to many creatures.

~ A full Nesting Box ~ Note the feather hanging out the front
~ A full Nesting Box ~

Note the old feather hanging out the front.

~ A Game Trail ~
~ A Game Trail ~
~ A Beautiful Flax ~
~ A Beautiful Flax Flower ~
~ A Field of Flax ~
~ A Field of Flax~
~ An American Flag at Half-staff on Memorial Day ~ On our way back home we have to pass a hotel and this flag was flying proudly.
~ An American Flag at Half-staff on Memorial Day ~

On our way back home we have to pass a hotel and this flag was flying proudly.

You just never know when you start out on a walk what you might see. A very nice walk indeed!!  

Nature never seems to disappoint…

Cool Temperatures and Nesting Birds…..

~ A Slice of my Hill ~
A small view of my backyard hillside.

When we returned home from our six-month (half-time) RV travels back in May, we were greeted with several days of snow and cold temperatures. After several days of warm weather, I thought we would go from winter to summer. However, for several days now it has been “cool” here in northern Colorado, currently it is 55 degrees!  Lovely!! These lower temperatures are welcome!

The hubby and I were sitting on the deck one evening last week enjoying a glass of red wine when all of a sudden we heard loud quacking. I turned toward the noise and saw a huge crow trying to gain altitude with a baby bird in its claws. The baby bird was heavy enough and the attack by the parents powerful enough to caused the crow to land in the middle of the street. I tried to run out to assist, but as I was making my way down the driveway the crow flew off ~ with the baby.

This crow raided the nearby nest of a pair of Western Scrub-Jays. These Jays were so upset flying in circles and “crying” for the longest time. My heart broke listening to their cries and I just hope the baby Jay died quickly. Mother Nature can be so cruel.

Since the snow melted, I am not seeing the Dark-eyed Juncos at my feeders, haven’t for two weeks now They are probably enjoying higher elevations (perhaps up in Rocky Mountain National Park) and much cooler temperatures. I guess five-thousand feet wasn’t high enough for them!

A few Western Scrub-Jays, over the years, have adopted my yard to spend their spring and summers. I often see them chasing away the Blue Jays – this is their home after all. This morning I did observe a Blue Jay grabbing a peanut!  Where were you Scrub?? I delight in the Scrubs presence with their comical antics and look forward to seeing them upon our return home. In the mornings they will hear my garage door opening and will fly to greet me chattering away, because they know I am putting out bird seed and their favorite – peanuts.

Scrub Jay
Scrub Jay
Black Bird - Crow or Raven
Black Bird – Crow or Raven?

I have several species of birds nesting either in my yard or near by. Among these are: House Finches, Spotted Towhees, Black-capped Chickadees, Morning Doves and Ringed Turtle-doves. There might be more, but I have not witnessed the nesting activity of others.

~ Spotted Towhee ~ a nesting pair in my yard
~ Spotted Towhee ~ a nesting pair in my yard
House Finch
A handsome male House Finch
Lichen Covered Boulders, Resting Dragon Flies, Sleeping Cats and a very old Grape Vine
Lichen Covered Boulders, Resting Dragon Flies, Sleeping Cats and a very old Grape Vine. Another view of part of my back yard.

And , of course these bird-seed eating machines What can one do, but to enjoy their antics as well!

~ You talking to Me ~
~ You talking to Me ~

Yeah, spring is here and I hope it lasts for a few more weeks!!!!

FP: ~My Spring Yard~

 Pretty Periwinkle
Pretty Periwinkle

Yesterday…

My spring yard with its many colors,
The Purple and Golds are most vibrant,
Demanding to be noticed on THIS day,
Their appearance is simply glorious.

Pretty little Dandelion
Pretty little Dandelion
~ I Love Purple ~
~ I Love Purple ~

Today…

To my list of colors, I add two,

Whites and Pinks in a showy display.

Growing on this mountain,

Despite the struggle, they make their presence known.

When you look at this little Columbine,

First appearances can be deceiving.

As with all things, striking beauty and magic.

Appears deep in the details and from within.

Sweet Woodruff
Sweet Woodruff
Columbine
A Small Columbine
Columbine
Striking Beauty
~ See a Bug ~
The Bug just might be the Magic

Poetry: ~Dandelions~

Boulders and Dandelions
Boulders and Dandelions

~Splash of color in a bunch,

early spring appearance.

~Hated, cursed, sprayed with poison,

not to be tolerated, disrupting a manicured environment. 

~Dare you show your presence,

aw, but abundance defies this abuse.

~I think they are beautiful, 

most people don’t agree.

~Struggling to live in nature,

lovely brilliant flower to fun willowy seed.

~I leave them be,

their presence is fine with me.

Pretty little Dandelion
Pretty little Dandelion
Dandelions, Periwinkle and Creek Boulders
Dandelions, Periwinkle and Creek Boulders
Broken
Broken
Aww ~ Sparkling Seed Head
Aw ~ Sparkling Seed Head
A Lovely Dandelion
A Lovely Dandelion

Enjoying retirement: On The Road & At Home