Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Never-Ending Pond Project

These pictures are already outdated. Just as I think we have finally finished the pond - we decide to change something. We moved the bird feeders away from the garden area as I did not like the droppings on the rocks and flowers. The sides have been rebuilt so many times - I've lost count. We are on the sixth (at least) major rebuild of the main falls. We've made so many trips to Pioneer Sand and Stone to find the perfect rocks for the pond that I feel I need to remember the salespeople in my will.

Yesterday, we emptied most of the water out of the lower pond and put foam behind the falls. Let me tell you about this foam. It's purple and expands to 3 times its original size - so after you apply it, you watch it grow - like the original blob - from behind the stones (where it belongs) to surround the pretty browns, reds and golds with its ugly shinny purple. Once it stops growing - you can take a knife and cut away the parts you don't like. It's messy - but the final result is that the water flows on the outside of the rocks (where you can see and hear it better) instead of running silently under the rocks. So far we are pleased with the results - but I'm not so sure about the top rock on the main falls. If I could just find one that is a little thinner and redder....

The birds don't seem to care - they liked all of the versions of the falls.

This Lesser Goldfinch played and played - splashing water and sliding down the rocks.

This one has more green on his back than some of the others that come to the feeders. The larger American Goldfinches have more bright yellow - but we haven't seen too many this year in the yard.

I took this picture on one of our recent hikes in Palmer Park. The wildflowers have been especially beautiful with brighter colors this year. On the news this morning they commented about the wildflowers saying the vibrant colors are due to the recent rains and mild weather.

This is a Mountain Chickadee - the first one we have identified. Bill took this picture (and dozens more that show nothing but blurry feathers and pine needles) as this little bird quickly flitted from branch to branch.

As we see and identify birds, we check them off in our "Birds of Colorado" Field Guide. So far I have checked off over 2/3 of the birds in the book - but still have about 60 to find. Almost half of the birds we have yet to see here in Colorado, we saw while in Florida - especially shore birds like herons, egrets and ibises.

In "Birds of Colorado" by Stan Tekiela, the birds are sorted by color - all the ones that are mostly yellow are in one section, red in another, etc. It makes it easy to find a bird when you have no clue as to its type.

The other references that I use to help me identify the birds we've seen are: "The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America," "Peterson Field Guides, Western Birds," and "Stokes Field Guide to Birds, Western Region." I also have an Audubon Guide and a couple of beginner books that I have outgrown.

Today is cloudy and a little chilly - a perfect day to hike in the mountains - so I'm off...

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