The Mountain Chickadees that took up residence in one of our bird houses are long gone, so we took off the door to clean it out and get it ready for a new family.
Inside we found layers of nesting materials - most of it from the "furniture store" I set out for them. The top was covered in soft cotton yarn-like material. There were no signs of feathers, egg bits, food or droppings. They were excellent house keepers. I'm not sure if you're supposed to clean out birdhouses - or leave the nest for the next visitor, but we decided that's why the houses come with doors that open - so we removed all of the nesting material and hung up the "For Rent" sign.
We have several planter boxes around our patio that we plant each year with annuals. I think these are especially pretty this year. We usually have great luck with Pansies - but this year they did not grow well at all.
On one of our hikes in Palmer Park we were excited to see several Western Tanagers. They visit our yard each May for a week to 10 days and after they leave, we don't usually see them again until the next Spring.
The Western Tanagers are Bill's favorite Colorado bird. I think the Painted Bunting is his favorite Florida bird. I like them all and my favorite is usually the last one I saw.
Mr. Squirrel is still protecting the yard - but lately he has not been doing such a great job. We have a very naughty gray kitty who visits early in the morning and lays in the yellow flowers around the birdbath. Twice we've spotted him just as he leaps into the air - catching one of my birds.
Next time I see him I'm going to put a note on his collar: "I'm a very bad kitty. Please keep me home so I don't kill any more of the neighbors pretty yellow birds."
Think that will work? I didn't think so either...
We've seen this female Bullock's Oriole several times - but no sign of a male. I even went out and bought a new feeder - especially for the Orioles - hoping to keep them around. Since it is filled with sugar water, the hummingbirds think it is for them.
The hummingbirds are thick. Each evening they delight us with their acrobatics as they try to keep each other away from the feeders. Since we have 3 feeders with sugar water, there is plenty of seating for everyone - but they still defend what they think is their exclusive territory. The male Broad-tailed Hummingbirds make a buzzing noise with their wings when they fly and some evenings they are so loud we need to turn up the television. Then again, maybe we need to turn it up because we are getting hard of hearing. Old age - the best of times, the worst of times (but certainly better than the alternative!)
My camera is in the shop for repairs and I really miss it when the hummers are everywhere. These pictures were taken before my camera broke.
While Geocaching in the park, we spotted this Downy Woodpecker. They haven't been around the yard much this year, so I always appreciate getting to see one.
This is another bird we don't see too often - a Dark-eyed Junco. This one was flitting around the trail when we hiked at Dome Rock State Park outside of Divide, Colorado.
I've been trying to get a decent picture of a Steller's Jay but this is the best I have so far. We only see them at higher elevations and this one was in Rocky Mountain National Park.
After our drive through Rocky Mountain National Park, we stopped in Grand Lake to see the water birds. At this point, my camera was not working well so the pictures of the rest of the large flock of White Pelicans did not turn out. This one is a youngster. I'm not sure what the shorebirds in front of the Pelican are since my books tell me only the Spotted Sandpiper is found in Colorado - and these look bigger than 8 inches. Maybe my sister Beth will know. Beth?
I forget where I took this picture - maybe at one of the lakes just outside RMNP.
The mammals we see in the mountains are, I am told, marmots - but look at these two pictures. They do not look like the same animal. The first picture was taken in Palmer Park.
This picture was taken in Rocky Mountain National Park and there was an informational sign nearby describing it as a Yellow-bellied Marmot. Another mystery!
The flowers at 11,000 feet are quite different than those at 5 or 6,000 feet. They are much smaller and shorter and often grow beside boulders that protect them from the strong winds.
Look at these growing on the rocks!
Such a beautiful rock garden.
I don't know which I like more in this picture - the neat fence or the view of the mountains. This is Long's Peak and I took it on the Peak to Peak Highway between Central City and Estes Park.
Okay, that's all the pictures I have until my camera is fixed. This weekend we are heading south to the Huerfano River Valley for 2 days of tent camping on the backside of Mount Blanca - and me without a camera!