Monday, July 22, 2024

Snapshots from July (and June)

Time has been rolling past, as it ever does, and somehow I've let six weeks' worth of ride photos build up without blogging any of them! I have no excuse, and will offer none. Let's look at wildflowers instead.

Here is some stately spiderwort, with a cloud of yarrow in the background:


Cheerful daisies growing wild in a field:


Dainty crown vetch:


And regal hoary vetch:


Bright hoary puccoon:


And, just for a change, a beautiful double rainbow that appeared between passing storms:


Back to the flowers. This beauty rejoices in the name of hoary vervain:


(On a side note, why hoary? Why not something more euphonious, like fuzzy or fleecy or woolly?)

Here's a lovely wheatfield that I pass on my way to work:


Starlike St. John's wort:


Glorious orange milkweed:


Snowy viburnum:


Knapweed:


One of the many varieties of wild sunflower:


A gorgeous combination of daylily and hoary vetch:


Wild bergamot (the Phyllis Diller of flowers, I always think):


Common milkweed:


The humble soapwort, or Bouncing Bet:


Fleabane:


And one of my favourites, delicate whorled milkweed:


Life isn't all wildflowers all the time, hence this photo of Amish hay-gathering:


And now, back to our scheduled programming. This is rudbeckia, or black-eyed Susan:


Though we've had some brutally hot and humid weather this month, there have also been refreshing days of halcyon blue-and-white skies. This was one of them:


The next little plant is the charmingly-named heal-all:


A favourite bend in the road:


This tiny flower has a name much bigger than itself - pointed-leaf tick trefoil, or Desmodium glutinosum:


This is a new-to-me wildflower called common kidney vetch:


This might be coreopsis:


And this, of course, is Iris the bike:


Butter-and-eggs, anyone?


Another of my favourite flowers, wild chicory:


My last photo is for the train-lovers among us:


Whew! All caught up now.

How is July treating you?

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Monday, July 8, 2024

Farewell to Colorado (for now)

All good things must come to an end, including vacations and vacation photos. Here are the final pictures from our recent trip to Colorado.

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On Day 4, I took my usual morning walk, and found still more flowers to photograph along the trail.

Wild geranium:

Huge drifts of lovely blue penstemon:


A small mystery plant about to burst into bloom (possibly Western stoneseed):


One last view down this loveliest of trails:


Teasels were growing next to the road on the way back to my nephew's house:


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Later that day, my nephew took us up to some higher elevations. We had hoped for a short hike at 10,000 feet, but the trails were covered with deep lengthwise ridges of hard-packed ice and snow - very awkward to walk on.


So back down the winding roads we drove, then turned to go up a hair-raisingly steep dirt road (no photos, I'm afraid) to meet my niece-in-law for dinner at a restaurant perched on the side of another mountain. The post-dinner drive down the dirt road was even more nerve-wracking than the trip up, but we got home safely in the end, full of good food and conversation.

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On Day 5, I walked to a different nearby trail that runs along a local creek.

Snowmelt was rushing down from the heights to my left, foaming over rocks and past fallen trees:


To the right, the water ran more quietly:


Near the creek grew a new-to-me wildflower that I haven't yet been able to identify:


Then it was time to hike back up the road to my nephew's house, and head down into Boulder for brunch.

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The next morning we said farewell to our kind hosts, and set off for home.


It's always hard to leave Colorado; to see the snowy Rockies dwindle in the mirror, and finally drop below the horizon, as we think of loved ones left behind. But I'm grateful for the chance to visit, and hope to return sooner rather than later.

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Thanks to the following websites for help in identifying many of the flowers I saw in Colorado:

https://www.swcoloradowildflowers.com/

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Friday, June 21, 2024

Colorado Interlude, Day 3: Lions and Tigers and Bears!

Our Colorado trip involved frequent wildlife sightings. Most days we saw at least one fox trotting through the yard, while groups of mule deer regularly came and went, sampling the trees and plants. In the evenings, black bear would wander past the house. (We quickly learned that dusk was not a good time for an outdoor stroll.)

Day 3 started with an exciting exhibition of squirrel acrobatics...


...as well as the usual birdwatching. Here we have a tanager on the right, and a mystery bird on the left:


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Later that day, my nephew drove us east to see some less-common wildlife.

The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado, is a non-profit, 1300-acre natural habitat for large animals that have been rescued from captivity. Newly-rescued animals arriving at the sanctuary are first rehabilitated in specially-constructed compounds designed for their specific breed. Once the rescued animals become confident in their newfound freedom, and can comfortably interact with others of their kind, they are released into the larger habitats of the sanctuary.

Visitors to the sanctuary can view the animals from a tall walkway that extends a mile and a half through the various habitats.

Since our visit was made in the daytime, many of the animals we saw were sleeping. This bear (look at those plush ears!) seemed to be dozing happily:


We were surprised and thrilled when it lifted its head:


We saw many sleeping lions:



This gorgeous serval, however, was awake and alert:


Wolves sprawled about in the wolf habitat, dreaming of rabbits (I presume):


And tigers slept the morning away:


In one of the outermost fields, a camel gazed thoughtfully into the distance:


In a habitat near the end of the walkway, this king of beasts was enjoying a respite from the cares of animal state:


On our way back, we saw bobcats relaxing on their custom perch:


Then one of them jumped down and began to pad along the edge of the habitat:


A coyote watched over its domain:


The last photo I took was of this lordly white tiger:


It was an exhilarating and sobering experience to see these animals - once captive, often sadly-mistreated - now living safely and freely with others of their kind.

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Back at the house, a different kind of cat was waiting for us:


And there were more birds at the feeders. I think this one is a black-headed grosbeak:


A western bluebird, western tanager, and finch congregated at the other end of the deck:


Thus ended another delightful day in Colorado.

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