Categories

Quack Facts: Dabblers vs. Divers

Ring-necked Duck at Hallam Lake, an Aspen birding hotspot

Back at the end of August, when bear sightings were a daily occurrence and rose hips were beginning to grow plump, I took a pack of 6-year-olds for a walk around Hallam Lake. We stopped by the water to watch ducks -- a group of female Mallards -- swimming in the shallows. Every few seconds, as my class watched intently, one of the ducks would do this: 


Winter Songbird Flocks

Like a famous musician thronged by fans, or the popular kids at school who students gather around, chickadees often form the nucleus of mixed flocks of birds in winter. Among people the advantages are usually obvious: social stature by association, access to the latest gossip, and insulation from shunning or bullying. Popularity brings a wealth of advantages for people, yet what could it do for the little chickadee?


Being Bear Aware

Bear looks trough two trees
One of the most enjoyable aspects of living in Aspen is the ease of access to nature.  The close proximity also gives many animals easy access to the city. As Aspen dwellers, we must live responsibly in this place in order to facilitate safe urban/wildlife interactions.
 
In September, bear activity goes into hyperdrive.  Bears will begin hibernating in late October/early November, so now is their final push to gain as much weight as possible.

Choose Your Own Adventure

Outlook over Tivoli Bay
What's more important in life than surrounding yourself by beautiful people? The answer is nothing, however a close second goes to beautiful places. The conclusion of this summer was a difficult period for me.

Don't Leaf Aspen Without Peeping Those Colors!

Leaf Peeper: (n.) One who travels to view and photograph changing leaf colors in the fall.

Getting to Work

I registered for Pandora (internet radio) in the Bay Area, where I grew up.  Every so often, they’ll play a commercial for California’s ‘Spare the Air’ program, which encourages residents to leave their car at home and take alternative transportation when the local Air Quality Index reaches unhealthy levels.  This index was developed by the EPA and establishes a minimum threshold for when ground level ozone pollution, commonly known as smog, reaches unhealthy levels.

Who's That Dipping Under My Bridge?

"He is the mountain streams' own darling, the hummingbird of blooming waters, loving rocky ripple-slopes and sheets of foam as a bee loves flowers, as a lark loves sunshine and meadows.  Among all the mountain birds, none has cheered me so much in my lonely wanderings, none so unfailingly." - John Muir, The Mountains of California 


Aspen's Perfect Storm

Rain Storm on Aspen Mountain

I've never been so happy to see a storm roll in.  This felt counterintuitive to me after spending a long winter on the grey, misty Oregon Coast.  All winter, I'd wake up to another day of rainy mist swirling in off the coast, and groan about how I had to be deficient in Vitamin D by now. 


The Fox

Fox in the snow

I have been told that a fox stands atop a roof along the morning commute. Fox on a roof: a strange image to conjure, like “swimming cat” or “skateboarding dog” – the juicy stuff of YouTube. The mind is tempted to fit everything into its “place”: foxes in the woods; people in the towns; white snow on the roofs. Break down those walls in our minds and the forest creeps in.


Pine Marten

Pine Marten

Winter is here in Aspen and our first big snow fell on January 7th. Of course I was out snowboarding on the mountain. Unfortunately a few wrong moves on my first run and I found myself in a tumble. To make a long story short, I fractured my arm. It was definitely a bummer… but this blog isn’t about me feeling bad about myself. Nature always seems to have a way of turning things around for me. Just a few days later I was waiting for guests to arrive so I could lead a snowshoe tour at Snowmass.