The Divide

The Divide

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Hummingbird Time

It doesn't seem to matter to this Broad Tailed Hummingbird that it's snowing and snow has collected on the feeder--he still needs lots of energy.  The males have shown up in town and are setting up their territories.  I have been watching three of them fighting over the feeder.  Come on guys, there are lots of places to sit and eat around the table.  The females will show up soon.  The Broad Tails are probably my favorite variety because of the whirring sound they make when they fly--you always know when they are in the vicinity.  The other hummingbird species that frequent Colorado don't make that sound.  

This finch thinks he's a hummingbird.  I have seen him landing on the feeder and pecking around a number of times.   Summer is a great time for birdwatching in the Colorado front range.  Everything from wild turkeys, raptors, and water birds, to songbirds.   Many of them birds that I have never seen in Texas, but some that I see in Texas in the winter are here in the summer.  

This morning I watched a hummingbird flying parabolas out in the yard.  He would fly straight up and then straight down, but pull out of the dive maybe 6 feet from the ground.  Then I noticed that there was a second one sitting on top of a shrub near the low point of his flight path.  I think he was trying to scare that one away.  These little guys are the only birds that can even fly backwards.  Sometimes, I have also seen them fly up to the window while I sit typing on the computer.  They will just stare in the window for a few seconds and then fly away.  But this means they are very close to me--really cool!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Retirement = Too Busy to Blog

Can it be--that retired people are busy?  You think you are going to have too much time on your hands, but NOT.  Household projects, grandparent activities, travel, shopping, a little nap--and the day is gone.

But once in a while, you just take a day off.  Saturday was one of those days. We went to the Estes Park Rotary Club's Duck Race, which is an annual fund raiser event for local charities.  There were over 5700 ducks in the race.  Check out the little video I made:

Friday, April 27, 2012

Yard Friends of the Rodent Family

Our little friend above is a Wyoming Ground Squirrel.  They are plentiful around Colorado.  Many folks want to poison them so they don't mess up their lawn, but its not like I have a real lawn--just a meadow with native grasses.  You do have to watch where you step when walking out in the yard--there are holes, much like a prairie dog town.  But these guys are fun to watch.  This morning I watched two of them chase each other round and round, then get in a scuffle for a few moments and then chase some more.  I guess someone must have gone in the wrong tunnel.  They are almost perfectly camoflaged with the soil and grass.  Sometimes when I go outside they don't run away, they just freeze--makes for good picture taking.  Of course, if I get close enough, they will run.

This fellow is a Golden Mantle Ground Squirrel.  He (she?) seems interested in digging holes up under the rock outcroppings in the yard, rather than peppering the yard with holes and mounds like the Wyoming type.  Or, they also seem to like to tunnel under the concrete front porches--quess porches look like big rocks to them.

The bunny rabbits seem to place their holes right at the base of bushes in our yard.  And the field mice seem to like our crawl space under the house.   Representatives of the rodent family abound, and each has their preferred spot to build their dens. Although I have not seen rats, which is more than I can say for our neighborhood in Houston.

One rodent we do not have in our yard is beavers. However, to see them, we only have to go down to the end of our street where they have a lodge and many dams at a creek there.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Estes View

I "borrowed" this photo from the Estes Park Convention and Visitors Bureau brochure.  Isn't it beautiful.  No wonder I love this place.  The white tower at left center is the historic Park Theater.  The main street of Estes Park, Elkhorn Avenue, runs fronm the lower left corner diagonally across the page and disappears behind the hill at right.  About a half inch above the last "s" in Estes, an oval-shaped Christmas Decoration is visible sitting on the hill overlooking town.  All of the street trees along Elkhorn Avenue are decorated with small white lights for the holidays.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Discovery ready to fly

In this photo, the Space Shuttle Discovery sits atop the Shuttle Carrier  Aircraft at the Mate/Demate Facility at Kennedy Space Center.  Tomorrow morning, it will be flown to Dulles Airport outside Washington, D.C.  There it will find a home at the Smithsonian Institution's Udvar Hazy Facility for historic aircraft.

The Space Shuttle test vehicle, Enterprise, has been property of the Smithsonian Institution since 1985, and has been displayed at Udvar Hazy since the facility's opening.  Enterprise will be loaded onto the carrier aircraft and  flown to New York City for display at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum.  This flight is scheduled for Thursday of this week, weather permitting.

It's sad for those of us who worked in the Space Shuttle Program and experienced over 30 years of flights to see these unique vehicles put out to pasture.  There is not likely to be anything to equal them for a very long time.

Friday, April 13, 2012


These two ravens are observing the world from the top of a cabin roof near Estes Park.  They are certainly inquisitive birds.  One day I put out a bag of garbage for pickup.  I attached an envelope containing money for the man who picks up, using that clear packing tape that is absolutely people proof.  I noticed a couple of these ravens walking around the bag looking and pecking at it.  After a while I went out there to check on it because I could see a few holes around the bottom of the bag.  The envelope with my money was GONE.  Now, it was a pretty windy day, so I suspect that those guys pecked at that thing until it was loose enough to blow away.  OR, maybe they are out spending my money, doing a little shopping!

Ravens are known for being very intelligent, with reasoning powers almost equal to those of a dog.  I am used to seeing Texas crows and grackles, but these ravens make them look small--they are some big birds.  And very interesting to watch.  With some criminal tendenances as well--dang theives.

Monday, April 9, 2012


This post is primarily in honor of my daughter--who loves frogs.  Consider it one of those off the wall posts, not related to any subject I normally post about--except that it is wildlife related perhaps.

 One of my friends made a trip to Costa Rica and took photos of this frog.  She said it was a Red Eyed Tree Frog.  Obviously not one of those poisonous tropical frogs.   I just thought it was really cute.