We returned yesterday evening from our trip to John Martin Reservoir State Park. We had a glorious time and I highly recommend visiting this park. We spent zero time at the reservoir, but explored Lake Hasty which is below the dam and also hiked the Red Shin Trail. Yesterday morning I was up at 7:00 (quite early for me) and ran around the lake (and then again in reverse). The sun was shining as the geese honked and the ducks quacked and paddled. I grinned pretty much the whole three miles.
When we’d first arrived at tree-filled Lake Hasty Campground late afternoon on Wednesday, a couple Turkey Vultures casually flew overhead. Then my attention-deficit kicked in because there were SO MANY BIRD SOUNDS. I immediately got out my binoculars and Sibley, but as soon as I began to focus on one bird/sound I was distracted by another. After a while, I began feeling overwhelmed by my ignorance ** and Zippy suggested a walk around the lake. Good call. The light was incredible and I just drank it all in.
Tons of Cliff Swallows were swooping above the water and along the shoreline. I took loads of photos, many of which were photo-bombed by swallows.
We eventually made our way back to the campsite as a few vultures floated overhead. Then I noticed something: vultures in the trees around our site. We watched in awe as one after another floated down and into the trees, their wings sounding like crinkling paper as they touched the branches.
About twenty vultures roosted above us all night. We felt honored. The next evening, we returned from our lake excursion in time for me to set up the camera and tripod. We waited quietly. Two vultures settled into a tree next to us and then . . . nothing. About three minutes later, they took off. Guess they headed off to find out where the rest of the gang was roosting. Won’t lie, it was a disappointment. But expecting two nights of turkey vultures might be a bit greedy. Best to share the wealth.
** I spent the final morning focusing on birds — sights and sounds — without worrying about the camera, and made progress. I identified a Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle variation) and felt immense satisfaction. I’m now going through my many poor quality photos of ducks on the water, seeing if there’s enough detail for identifications. I’ve found a Horned Grebe and a Blue-winged Teal. Woot!
I took this photo a year ago today. As I recall, it was a balmy day filled with bird songs and busy bees. We were in the early days of the pandemic and communing with backyard nature was balm for my soul.
Today, plenty of birds are singing on this cool and rainy day. However, the shrub in the photo is behind last year’s schedule –buds still folded up tight –and I’ve yet to see a bee in the yard. We’re still experiencing a global pandemic, but the blooms and bees are on their way. And when they arrive, I’ll be out there again, drinking in all their glory.
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~ Elizabeth Appell
This feels like a universal quote that applies to all of us, possibly on multiple levels. Here’s hoping we all blossom in one way or another this week. Remember, spring is the season of new growth. (And yes, I’m also speaking to myself here.)
Hidden in shadow
sunlight betrays tail and eye
bird seed raid failure
Sometimes I find myself putting a whole lot more time and energy into a project than is warranted. Something about this image caught my attention and I kept experimenting with the editing tools, wondering if there was greatness hidden within. I eventually stopped when I reached this point:
Not because I believed I’d finally unearthed any inherent greatness, but because this version pleases me. But to be honest, so do these:
I seem to be walking a very thin line between creativity and procrastination today which is not necessarily great. Or productive.
If you surrender to the wind, you can ride it. ~ Toni Morrison
I received my second Pfizer dose today and while I rest on the couch, feeling depleted, the nine-plus inches of snow continues to melt outside.
This is all a temporary setback. Spring is happening no matter what and soon the maple tree and I will be in full bloom.
wrought iron cushioned by snow
butts will be cold, though
The sky is one whole, the water another;
and between those two infinities the soul of man is in loneliness.
~ Henryk Sienkiewicz
Uprooted by wind
felled by slashing chain saw teeth
final resting place
If you’re quiet,
you’re not living.
You’ve got to be noisy
~ Mel Brooks
Today I’m grateful for Zippy, pictured here when he traveled with me to the Chiricahua Mountains to see birds. He shops and cooks for us, lets me sleep in as long as I need, and supports me in whatever I set out to do. He will even sometimes laugh at my jokes.
This guy’s got a good heart and I’m oh so grateful he chose to share it with me.
The whole point is to live life and be – to use all the colors in the crayon box. ~ RuPaul
Today I am grateful for the ongoing generosity and kindness of others, especially during these difficult days.
I wrote something in an email that could have easily been misinterpreted and this woman read past my fumbling and clumsy words to recognize the intent buried within. In that moment, she granted me peace and tranquility. Her kindness changed the trajectory of my day.
One of my favorite aspects of living in Colorado is the quick change in weather. Yesterday was the snowpocalypse and today is, well, see for yourself.
Shoveling was hard work this morning. There’s A LOT of moisture in the snow and so the closer to the ground, the heavier the load. As I cleared the sidewalk, it took three shovelsful (carving away layers) before I saw concrete and could move ahead.
But now much has already melted. Here’s the corner of the deck from yesterday’s post, along with a shiny photo of the rail at a different stage of meltage:
Can’t wait to see what tomorrow’s weather will bring!
All week, those of us in Colorado were bombarded with forecasts for an epic snowstorm. The forecasts frequently changed (regarding intensity, snowfall, start time, etc.) and during one 45-minute period in which Zippy checked three times, he read three different forecasts. The whole situation began to feel a bit hyperbolic.** That’s no longer the case.
The birds are doing their best to weather the storm, including these two Northern Flickers clinging to the telephone pole and three American Robins hunkered down in a Russian Olive tree:
Drought-stricken Colorado definitely needs moisture so I’m not complaining, especially since I’m warm and safe inside. I realize how very fortunate I am.
** My favorite tweet from the week (@PhosphoSolution):
From parched and cracked soil
a leafy bouquet erupts
now sharing the trail
I miss the bees and am looking forward to when they return to perform their vital work in my yard. Here’s a little sample of what’s in store for the coming months:
Yesterday (March 7!), Zippy removed the lights from the locust tree in our front yard. We’d stopped turning them on several weeks ago but left them wrapped around the trunk. I could lie and say it was because the bulbs provided bits of much-needed color in the brown/gray landscape. Really, it’s because we procrastinate. Either way, now that the holiday lights are gone, I’m ready for spring. Bring on the bees and blooms!