Skip navigation

Tag Archives: spring

The hillsides are really drying out quickly this year. Mud season usually seems to last weeks but this year it has been short. My favorite vernal pond isn’t a pond. I’ve seen salamanders and spadefoot toads there some years. I wonder how long they can stay dormant underground til the water returns?

Dry hillsides make for good hiking so the girls and I are enjoying it while we can. It won’t be long til we will be able to get up into the mountains!

This time of year it is difficult to find good walking places. They are either covered in soft, unpredictable snow, or slush and mud, or just plain mud. The girls really like a little variety in their lives so I do try to get them out and about to various places. This morning we visited a small piece of public land on the river. It was a mix of soft and hard packed snow, very wet slush and occasionally wet ground. They were ecstatic. And Sky found sticks. Lots of sticks. What more could she want? Luna found smells. Lots of good stinky smells. It was a perfect dog walk.

Yesterday the girls and I set out around mid-afternoon looking to stretch our legs and enjoy the fresh air. We headed up Frost Road and walked to Aspen Lake. It’s a pleasant hike in the spring and fall with great views of the valley and surrounding mountains.

We started out in warm sunshine but soon it was raining and I was grateful for my little rain jacket and wool hat. Following the rain was a terrific rainbow. Some snow remained in the shady areas and some places were very wet with water running down the trail. A few small flowers are blooming and grass is greening up. Lots, like hundreds or thousands, of Dark-eyed Juncos and some other birds. The lake is still mostly ice-covered but won’t be for long.

Finally, the snow is retreating, leaving enough bare ground that a person can safely walk without getting her feet wet. Muddy, but not wet. Little patches of green grass are everywhere (except in our yard which is a whole other topic best left alone). Tiny forbs are sending out small shoots and I was even able to find one tiny flower. Sky found her own treasure.

I went birding with a friend last week, visiting an area not far from here but new to both of us. We had a pretty good birding day, seeing more than seventy species! One of the first birds we observed was a Lewis’s Woodpecker – first one of the season for us. They are really beautiful birds with striking reddish bellies and iridescent greenish black backs. Before the day was over we had seen three of them. I guess they all arrived at once.

At one stop, I was caught up with the patterns in the water while Juliet was searching down a bird with an unusual song she could not identify. We looked at a new burn area from last year and tried to find morels with no luck.

Here is a list of the birds we saw:

 

Canada Goose
Mallard
Green-winged Teal
Ring-necked Duck
Barrow’s Goldeneye
Common Merganser
Ruddy Duck
California Quail
Pied-billed Grebe
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
Red-tailed Hawk
Sora
American Coot
Killdeer
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Mourning Dove
Rufous Hummingbird
Calliope Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Lewis’s Woodpecker
Williamson’s Sapsucker
Red-naped Sapsucker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
American Kestrel
Hammond’s Flycatcher
Dusky Flycatcher
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Say’s Phoebe
Western Kingbird
Warbling Vireo
Black-billed Magpie
American Crow
Common Raven
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Mountain Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Pygmy Nuthatch
House Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Western Bluebird
Townsend’s Solitaire
American Robin
European Starling
Nashville Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Townsend’s Warbler
Spotted Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Lazuli Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Brewer’s Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
Cassin’s Finch
Red Crossbill
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

 

%d bloggers like this: