Showing posts from April, 2019

American Avocet - An Elegant Glow

American Avocet The name Avocet comes from the Italian avosetta, which means ‘graceful bird'. If your looking for the American version of this graceful bird, you’ll find him foraging in the shallow marshes scattered throughout the wide open west. It’s easy to confirm his identity because of his distinctive features and striking colors. His sleek, white body is set upon a pair of long, blue legs and he has solid black wings broken by a broad, white bar. The Avocet has an outrageously long, recurved, black bill but his exquisite coloring is what really sets him apart. During breeding season his head, neck and breast is shaded in soft peach while in the winter those same areas are filled gray. He’s a common shore bird whose breeding grounds are often located along the lower fringes of the Rocky Mountains. He wades across the wetlands scything - sweeping his bill side to side through the water’s surface while feeding on tiny crustaceans and aquatic insects. He and his mate

Panorama of Winter Weather - Rough Seas

Winter Weather Winter weather has continued to pummel the foothills leaving behind a panorama of white meadows and black forests. The big peaks have all but vanished from the landscape as a layer of thick fog has erased them from view. The animals are tired of contending with the everlasting cold and wet weather. We are all waiting patiently for Mother Nature’s palette of Spring colors to be painted across the gray environment. Wide stretches of vast wilderness has become a desolate winter tract into which neither man nor beast wishes to go. Positioned on the Western Front, the region is mired in a rut of mud, muck and monochrome. There is something hauntingly beautiful about the way the storms come crashing into the mountains. As the new season unfolds, the snow keeps falling in dense squalls that make the trees look like ghosts of the Great White North. It’s not an ideal situation but battling the harsh elements is the type of adversity that makes us strong. We’ll bide o

Ushering in Spring - An Arctic Landscape

Ushering in Spring A classic seasonal storm swept across the foothills, lengthening an unending stretch of cold and wet. Dawn broke gray and murky as a thick vapor of fog permeated the pine forest, evoking an eerie atmosphere. The illusion of great depth was exaggerated as trees in the distance were placid silhouettes while the nearer rocks revealed a rough texture. An abandoned homestead was barely visible as it melded into the haunted hillside. When the turbulent episode finally hit, the snow came pouring down in sheets of freezing rain transforming the local wetlands into a white valley. Evergreen Lake with its black water, icy shoreline and invisible horizon looked like an Arctic landscape. The only inhabitants to be found on that frigid evening were a few geese whose silent wake shattered the serene reflections. Although a shock to the system, the winter-like weather is not unusual for this time of year. By the morning after, powder blue skies began to reappear and th

Last Light on Bergen Peak - First Birds

Last Light on Bergen Peak Bergen Peak’s high summit has been streaked with eternal snow all year long and the mountain’s east face is displayed like a silver facade. Ribbons of gray clouds fill the sullen sky, creating a forbidding flyway. During the transition between seasons, a mighty wind is funneled down through the foothills’ many drainages. It’s as if the powerful breeze banishes the current, lingering season and brings forth the stubborn, new one. After such a cold and stormy winter, the still frozen lakes and ponds have delayed the arrival of our feathered migrants. Despite harsh conditions, the first birds I’ve seen were a flock of famished American robins. The long flight apparently infused the red-breasted marauders with a voracious appetite. The birds were observed on the rocky slopes plucking blue berries from the fringes of a fresh juniper bush. The robins’ signature calls betrayed their frantic activity that added some color and interest to an otherwise dull