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Roaring Fork Valley Phenology | July 8, 2013

Strawberries are just beginning to ripen above 9,000 feet. Judging from the abundant flowers early in June, this could be an amazing berry season. Have you seen the ripening fruits on the serviceberry and chokecherry lately? Fledgling birds and fawns are out, and so are butterflies: mating and laying eggs. 


Roaring Fork Valley Phenology | July 1, 2013

Columbine Time:

For the best blue columbine show in years  head over to the Government Trail ASAP.  There is an unequalled patch of Colorado’s state flower on West Buttermilk, and another just before entering Snowmass Ski area. The aspen groves in between are full of wild rose (stop and smell them), lupine,  indian paintbrush, and many, many more incredible wildflowers. The blue columbine, Anquilegia coerulea is in the Buttercup family. “Anquilegia” may come from the Latin Aquila (eagle) based on the the plant’s long spurs which resemble an eagle’s talons.


American Pasqueflower & ACES Community Field Lab phenology projects

A couple of times a week I walk a loop from Hallam Lake down the Rio Grande trail and up through the Meadows and through the West End. In the past year I have been recording the changing of the seasons by photographing and taking notes about the snow on the mountains, water in the creeks, changes to plants (phenology), and presence of animals.


Bird Nerding with a Kid

Posted in Bulletin Board
Chickadee

My oldest son Jack (5.5) has had an interest in nature for most of his life. Yes, we get outside a lot living down at Hallam Lake, but Jack is into books, videos and computers too. Nature shows like “Wild America” and “Zoboomafoo” by National Geographic, and bird and mammal field guides, have been a part of his afternoon quiet time for most of his life. During the past couple of years we have been identifying birds visiting our feeder. It began simply enough with magpies and robins, but our list has been steadily growing.


What Could Be Better than a Powder Day

Posted in Bulletin Board

Imagine something so monumental that residents of an entire town would drop everything to celebrate. An entire population would leave work, skip school, drop what they were doing, and party like there was no tomorrow.  Picture a parade, fireworks blasting from all directions, banquets, grand balls, open bars at local establishments, and bands playing throughout the night in town... What kind of event is cause for merriment of this scale?


Unprecedented RF Peak Flows

It may be too early to call but we could be in uncharted waters as far as Roaring Fork River peak flows go. Bad pun.

Possible Peak of Roaring Fork at Aspen, 128 cfs 4/27/12.

Previous lowest peak 202 cfs in 2002. (47 years of record keeping)

Last year peak was 816 cfs.

Historical Peak Stream flow complete record here: Roaring Fork at Aspen

   


What's Where When

It's never too late to start observing nature and keeping records. Phones, cameras, and social media make it easy to share. Collective observations by all of us (citizen science) can be a powerful tool for understanding the landscape. Citizen science and phenology are gaining attention. An ACES goal is to facilitate our community's observations and reporting of nature. Direct engagement with the natural world connects us to our environment, providing intellectual, spiritual, and physical sustenance.


In the Woodpile

While splitting some aspen on Sunday I came across a perfect circular hole the diameter of my finger in one of the cut ends. A strike with the maul and the wood split along the hole. Inside was what looked like a green leafy cigar divided into six sections. In each chamber a leaf-cutter bee larva (genus Megachile) is overwintering. Inside it is nourished by pollen ball provided by the female who dug the cavity, cut the leaves, and laid the eggs. Leaf-cutting bees are solitary bees unlike hive forming honey bees and yellow jackets.


The Mink and the Fish

Mink

About 7:45 Sunday morning before heading to the West Buttermilk beach, I spotted the flash of a brown weaselly animal out of the laundry room window. I yelled for Jamie to quickly look out the bathroom to see what it was. She said it was carrying something and that it was headed back toward the hanging log bird feeder that has had a pine marten in it in past years. I caught up with it as it was going along by the kitchen window and around to the front of the house. Mink!