Thursday, July 20, 2017

Our week so far!

We've had more rain than I expected.  Here is the valley below us after a night of showers..


 Look closely and you see several greenhouses, and some fields lined with plastic to keep weeds down?  That is the marijuana grow operation.  They have plants in different stages of development.  At night the greenhouses are all lit up. 


Here's the "kids" on the deck looking out to see what they can bark at!


We hung the hummingbird feeder and got the black chinned hummer right away, 
and Monday I saw a Rufous Hummingbird my #400   (yippie)    

BLACK CHINNED (really is violet)

RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD 

  So there is a rest area nearby! Grizzly Creek Rest Area.  It's quite the happening place...there is a small pond, and lots of birds hang around...We took the dogs walking there on Sunday and I saw this Osprey in the nest with her "almost ready" young! 



She was shielding them from the hot sun with her big wings...what a mom eh?  At first I only saw one, and what a surprise my photo showed the second chick.  I should of taken more photos of the rest area...next time will do! 

and just across the River was another nest I couldn't make out if this is adult or some juvies...but look what a messy nest!!


the red stuff is shipping strapping from what I could tell...

Back at home we relaxed on the deck again Casey needed to rest...

 

I was out with the camera finding some isolation shots of the cool gnarly trees...like this one. 


And then out on the rocks... what else but a rock wren!  I've seen several young ones too...


I need to find the Sedge Wren to have the full monty!!



The good news is the sedge wren winters on the South Carolina coast...sooooo that's good for me!
 And this lovely  canyon wren showed up here this morning...


Since I haven't yet seen the sage wren... up till now the canyon wren is my favorite...he/she has such an aerodynamic shape.

Another "yard" visitor this morning was the Woodhouse Scrub Jay, June of 2016, they split the western scrub jay into  Woodhouse and California.  Supposedly the California has more of a turquoise vivid blue.  Very hard for me to keep up with all the changes the AOU is always implementing!  I almost feel like it's really not necessary? What do ya'll think?? 

Woodhouse scrub jay

...as promised here's a few shots of around town, its small so not a whole lot to show...

Here is  main street.  Railroad Ave.  It is a small western town...supposedly the first town in Colorado to have electricity, hydroelectric power from Rifle Falls shown in a previous post.  There's growth over toward the interstate, Walmart, and other familiar chains. Luckily it's away from the original old town area.  





1882

One of the local attractions and on the top 10 list  of things to do in Rifle is to visit the Ute Theater, its Live Entertainment! 


Also on the list of top 10 things to see is the Rifle Creek Museum 


I haven't visited either yet!  It's hard to want to be indoors when there's so much to see outdoors!  Like the picnic we had yesterday at Rifle Gap Reservoir.



We saw spotted sandpiper, imm bald eagle, belted kingfisher, more mountain bluebirds, and some Canada geese, people boating, kayaking, tubing, fishing, and just hanging out! 

imm mtn bluebird

There is camping here too...they have 4 or 5 campgrounds! I should pick up a park pass, it's $7 each time you enter and if you camp that is in addition to the camp fee...the pass is $70, good for a year! I should have bought one right off the bat since we've already spent $21.  Tomorrow I am off for another adventure!! 


PEACE
Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

399 @ Vega State Park

Sister had mom for the day so I was free to ramble off somewhere! I had a list of places I wanted to explore and Vega State Park made the top of the list as it is pretty close.  Only about 68 miles away and at 8,000 ft elevation I hoped for and got cooler temps.  The drive is really pretty and one passes through varied terrain of all kinds, from canyons with rock formations to thick stands of fir and aspen.  

DeBeque Cut Off

along hwy 330 east near Collbran, CO


Vega is 1,830 acres and includes a 900 acre reservoir build in 1957.  There's 4 campgrounds in the park.  I really hope I can camp in the Aspen Grove campground at some point.   There is a visitors center, and the park is well staffed as far as I could tell. 

The lake is really picturesque...


My interest is in the natural beauty, the birds, animals and plants in the park!  The main campground is early Settlers it has water and electric so it was pretty full it has 34 sites some were still available.  Aspen Grove has 28 sites with water pumps and vault toilet.  So only one camper was there.   I hiked down along the edge of the lake and had some mosquitoes but away from the high grass they didn't bother me.  

The wildflowers were fabulous...


I need to pick up a wildflower book to help me ID all these awesome flowers...some are sunflowers but I don't the others...


There is a $7 fee for Day Pass...and it's good in all the parks for 24 hrs! I had one left over from Rifle Falls, but it expired in exactly 1/2 an hr so I had to get a new one.   I parked in one of the day use lots and headed off to hike one short trail down to the water...that's where the skeeters got me.  So back at the van I got my spray and hat and didn't have any more problems.  I was so happy to hear birdsong..so I immediately starting looking around for birds..All around me were Mountains Bluebirds teaching the young how to hunt...



Check out this lazy Marmot!!


It's nice to be under these Aspens, 


Always did love the eyes...


Back to the Flower fields, I saw Pine Siskin, 


Lesser goldfinch male and female



Image may contain: plant, flower, bird, outdoor and nature

this could be larkspur...

Image may contain: plant, flower, nature and outdoor

flowers attract flies, and worms...and so that means worm eaters...like the yellow rumped warbler, this one is of the Audubon variety...he blends quite well with this flower patch!



I moved up into the Aspen Grove Campground area  up this road, 



and in the aspens I spotted several house wrens.  


the lake is even more beautiful on this side...



I almost missed this bird, so I didn't get a good shot but I kept it anyway, the black headed grosbeak.


...not new for me but always a pleasure, there is never a bird that I  am not happy to see no matter if I've seen it a million times.  Also ran into this cute Yellow Warbler...


up close to the campground the trees withdraw and it opens into a nice valley...



and even more wildflowers...





then BINGO, my 399th bird popped up in an Aspen tree...the Lazuli Bunting! I didn't get the beautiful wing bars in my photo...but no matter, it was an exciting sighting!!


Really a thrill!! 

and then several beautiful cedar waxwings flew around 



SOOOO happy I chose Vega it IS such a gorgeous park to visit!!


PEACE
Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

A Sunday Drive

We drove about 14 miles out to the Rifle Falls, and Rifle Recreation Area.  
There is NO handicapped access to the falls so I found a good shady spot to park, mom and the dogs waited while I hiked the short distance uphill to view the falls.  It is not a steep hill, but it's beyond Mom's ability.  The falls are as pretty as I recall, I do think there is more lush green foliage around them now.
There's a hike to the top but I knew Mom would not stay put if I stayed away too long so no hike was done.


Rifle Falls is 3 good sized falls all falling off the same ridge...It really throws out a mist.   So some rainbow effect shows up...

                      


...and all this time I thought these black edges on the upper part of my photos was my hat...but I was not wearing a hat when these photos were taken,,,,so it means my camera is having an issue...eeeeekkkkk. And I've noticed a couple other issues with it...so I am going to have to replace my camera...I go through a camera about every 2 yrs!  That is why I can't get into expensive cameras that I have to worry about tossing it around like I do.  Hope it will continue to work.   
We took the scenic route (kind of an oxymoron because every route is scenic) back to civilization and came across a huge herd of sheep.  I don't know sheep so I have no idea what breed this is...





this is Rifle Gap area...



Spotted these 2 birds of prey along the roadside...the American Kestrel, a female. 


and a dark red tailed in the cedar...


This is called Harvey Gap Reservoir the water is such a lovely turquoise color...I'd love to take my tube down there and float...the water is Freezing!! It looks warm and inviting but when I stuck my foot in....OHHHH it was cold.

 

back down in the valley it was hazy...


and later at home we had some lark sparrow's give us a visit...


and the Ash throated Flycatcher is teaching a young one to hunt...


A nice pair of Eurasian collared doves stopped by for a visit...


When I took the dogs out the other morning, the deer were in the front this time....his shadow is really cool don't you think?


then they disappeared over the ridge...



We had a nice rain overnight and in the morning the clouds gave us a nice sunrise...we are still on Eastern time so we're up at sunrise every morning...


It's Mother approved! 



Tuesday I had the opportunity to take a day trip to Vega State Park! I got my 399th lifer, soooo stay tuned for that!




PEACE
Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.