Wednesday, July 29, 2009

More Fledglings and a Hail Storm

We are seeing young birds everywhere. The new fledglings usually appear plumper than the adults, gather in groups with their nest mates and chirp for momma to come feed them.

This is a young female House Finch that I encountered this morning on the way back from my walk. Her coloring is very similar to what it will be when she reaches maturity.

Young American Robins like this one perched on our little fisherboy pond ornament have speckled breasts until their first birthday.

This young Starling looks confused. She wanted to get into the bird feeder but wasn't quite sure how to go about it and finally left without eating.

I saw these young Kingbirds in a tree along side an urban trail that runs from downtown Colorado Springs east to Powers. We sometimes ride our bikes along this trail out to Einsteins for coffee. This morning I was out for a short stroll to look for birds and a couple of geocaches that I knew were along the trail.

This young Goldfinch seems to like sitting on top of the waterfall as we have seen him there a couple of days in a row.

We've been back to Pulpit Rock Park to hike and look for caches. This is the view from the top. One of the caches was in a large rock formation on the steep side of the hill. It was in a cave-like setting that a brown bear used for his winter nap earlier this year. Rattlesnakes have also been seen at this location - something I did not mention to Bill until AFTER our hike!

Another cache was at an entrance to the park - just off a cul-de-sac in a very nice neighborhood. The directions said the cache was small and very well camouflaged - so we had to look everywhere. I even kicked over a large pile of dog poop in case that was the great camo job! Off to the side of the trail were piles of branches carefully set to define the edge of private property. In one pile was a tree branch about 2 inches thick and 10 inches long. The cache owner had carefully cut a 2 inch piece off one end of the branch for a lid and drilled holes inside both pieces to set in a small plastic capsule. The cache logbook was in the capsule. I'm amazed we found it!

While hiking back to the car I found a potato shaped red rock with an opening at one end. The inside was hollow. I thought this would be the perfect camouflage for a micro-cache! I printed a logbook, rolled it up inside a plastic capsule that used to contain a fever thermometer and placed it inside the stone. Bill and I hiked to the top of the bluffs in Palmer Park and hid it under a tree just to the side of the trail.

We named our cache "Leverite" because when Bill hikes with his grandkids and they ask him what something is he answers "Leverite - leave 'er right there!" Our cache was published on at 6:44 p.m. and the first two cachers found it 31 minutes later at 7:15 p.m. Guess it wasn't as clever as I thought!

We have a beautiful bunch of 4 o'clocks that can't tell time as they don't begin to open until after 6 p.m. They are gorgeous first thing in the morning before the sun hits and they close for the day. This year we have yellow and red flowers. Some years we also have white - but you never know until they bloom.

As I was sitting here typing, it got very dark and windy. The thunder and lightening was loud and close. It started raining cats and dogs - and as is usual here in Colorado, it started to hail.

The hail was only pea-sized here but close by it was the size of golf and baseballs. The afternoon news special showed broken windows and dented cars. I know phones are ringing off their hooks at insurance companies all over Colorado Springs. We were lucky.

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