Friday, September 17, 2010

Fall Colors in the High Country

Fall comes early to Colorado. By mid-September, the Aspens are in full color - yellow. When I lived back East, the trees displayed every color in the rainbow - but here in Colorado, the main color is yellow with a little orange and a few reds thrown in to keep it interesting. The yellows are beautiful against the greens of the ever-present Pine trees. Sometimes the ground cover is as colorful as the trees.

We decided this was a cute fixer-upper. I wonder when it was built or who lived there - on the high plains between mountain ranges.

Way down behind the cabin, we saw a lake with lots of ducks. It was private property, so I had to take my pictures from the side of the road.

Several of the ducks flew overhead - and I assume they are Teal - but that's only a guess.

Looking over at the side of the lake, we spotted a large white bird (the one on the right in the picture). I thought it was an American Avocet, but I could not confirm that until I got home and looked closely at my pictures; I did and it is. He has his winter plumage. Last time I saw an Avocet (April, 2009) he had a rust-colored head, typical of Spring breeding colors.

But the bird on the left, which I never saw until I cropped the image, is still a mystery - Dowitcher? Yellowlegs? Godwit?

Further up the road by Cottonwood Lake, we could see the full splendor of the colors. We drove past the lake and up, up, up.

This shot was taken just past the campground - near where we stopped for a delightful picnic lunch.

It was somewhat smoggy from the wildfires burning near Boulder - so our pictures are not as crisp and clear as we would have liked.

The air was clearer the further up we climbed.

Timberline! We couldn't drive much further because the dirt road we were traveling on became too dangerous, so we turned around and drove back down the mountain, past the lake and into the town of Buena Vista.

The deer in town are practically tame and we see them munching on lawns, shrubs and fruit trees almost every time we visit.

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