Showing posts from March, 2019

Forest Dwellers - Revealed by First Light

Forest dweller On a cold, winter morning while traversing a snowy hillside, a couple of hidden creatures was revealed by the day’s first light. A young doe and buck were foraging so quietly in the shadows that they could have been easily missed. As they must be used to human contact, they never became startled and seemed to be curious about my ability to maintain balance. The north facing slope is always more difficult to negotiate because the shadowed terrain is broken by rock, snow and ice. The harsh conditions didn’t seem to bother the mule deer as they were completely at ease while grazing in the depths of a dark woodland. It’s a secretive environment described by dense foliage, damp atmosphere and cool temperatures but it’s a safe haven providing security and shelter to all of its forest dwellers. Completely at ease Quiet in the shadows Revealed by first light A secretive environment

Hooded Merganser - Positively Flamboyant

Hooded Merganser The hooded merganser is a secretive creature that prefers to live in a secluded woodland somewhere near a small pond or stream. A mated pair nests in a cavity of either a live or dead tree where the female lays a clutch of seven to fifteen eggs. Remarkably, the fuzzy hatchlings leave the nest within 24 hours after they hatch. Upon reaching open water, the tiny youngsters begin diving and foraging immediately but remain close to mom for warmth and protection. The hooded merganser is a diving predator and the only duck that specializes in capturing fish. They’re able to track down food by sight because their eyes are specially adapted for unsurpassed underwater vision. These speedy, little ducks are found almost exclusively in North America. They must like it here because even during the spring and fall their migration routes are usually just a short distance. Perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic is their striking appearance as both male and female

Winter Cyclone - A Blizzard's Aftermath

A winter cyclone Over the past month, the Front Range foothills have been battered by a series of severe storms. The latest of which has been appropriately deemed an historic weather event. The winter cyclone came spinning into our state from the southwest, dumping buckets of heavy, wet snow. A vicious wind came blasting down through the valley at 70 miles an hour leaving 10 foot drifts in its wake. The only saving grace during this unique system was the warm temps that pumped much needed precipitation into the parched landscape. After the blizzard subsided and daylight broke, Bergen Peak was a black mountain frosted with white dust. The big mountain loomed solemnly over a barren meadow of smooth, polished snow. The fresh pack was about knee-deep and required a great amount of physical exertion in order to plow through. The exposed ponderosa pine were blown clean of any pale lace but in the more protected pockets, the trees were plastered with snow. The silence was eerie a

Fillius Loop Trail - A Fortress of Solitude

Fillius Loop Trail March has arrived like a lion and exerted it’s ferocious nature by unleashing a storm distinguished by heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures. The foothills resemble an arctic landscape reminiscent of the last ice age. The lower Fillius Loop Trail is in a secluded setting located near the edge of town. The park seems to be not well known so whenever I’m there, I usually don’t see another living soul. The old-growth, ponderosa pine forest is a steadfast fortress of solitude. The uncultivated woodland is a barrier between an urban environment and the vast Rocky Mountain wilderness beyond. Last week, the morning after the storm, the trees were glazed with scumbled swatches of fresh snow. Their cobalt shadows crept quietly across the smooth drifts. Bright sunlight beamed through the clear, thin air while thawing the bone-chilling cold. The distant mountains were dusted white and set against that pale landscape, the sky was the deepest blue imaginable. Trudgi

Urad Lake - Colored Pencil Drawing

"Urad Lake" Colored Pencil “Through art we can change the world.” ~ #twitterartexhibit It’s a warm, summer evening at Urad Lake with skies of steel blue in the low, fading light. Situated at tree-line below the Continental Divide, the high basin is enclosed by a black forest and dense willows. An aggressive creek and its lively tributaries come roaring down from the high peaks, spilling into the bottom of a narrow valley while forming a fan-shaped reservoir. Filled with this frigid snowmelt, the water is ice cold. Patches of resilient snow still cling to the red mountainside and the steep, grassy slopes are dotted with tundra wildflowers. Shapes and colors from the surrounding landscape tint the reservoir with shimmering reflections. The peaceful haven for wildlife is found off the beaten path just past the outskirts of Empire, Colorado. Flush with fresh air and bountiful fish, the tranquil setting is undeniably therapeutic. Through trial and error, I try to ex