All posts by Mel

The Bull Elk Are Growing Their Velvet Antlers In Estes Park And RMNP

Within a few days after the Bull Elk lose their huge antlers, they start growing new ones. You can see the beginnings of these antlers covered with velvet. They will grow this way until the rut in the fall when the velvet will come off and they will be ready to fight for their harem of cows (female elk).

It’s really fun to watch these little stubby antlers which look like a velvet bow on their heads grow into magnificent 5 and 6 pointers by the end of August.

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Fish Creek Trail Is A Great Walk In Estes Park, CO To See Birds And Wildlife

 

Many time when it gets windy by Lake Estes, Phil and I will take a walk along Fish Creek Trail. It’s such a pretty trail, winding along s little stream on one side and the golf course on the other. Whenever we go there we see a great assortment of birds and wildlife.

The other day was a bit windy so we decided to try Fish Creek Trail. What a treat! In about 3/4  hour we saw 3 Kingfishers squabbling in the sky, many Ravens flying about, 2 Goldfinches flitting from tree to tree, Nuthatches playing on the trunks of the trees, a Downy Woodpecker drumming on a tree, a few Robins looking for worms, about 8-10  bluebirds flitting from post to post and 3 coyotes walking along the stream. It was awesome!

You never know what you’ll see there, but there is always something. This morning was just amazing. Every time we turned around something else caught our eye. It’s a pretty trail and goes for quite a ways if you want to go for a longer walk.

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The Pasqueflowers Are Blooming On Black Canyon Trail On Lumpy Ridge In RMNP

It was a gorgeous sunny day with the forecast in the low 60s. Phil and I got our cameras out and went wildflower hunting on Black Canyon Trail. It’s a gorgeous trail with views of Twin Owls and Lumpy Ridge.

We found many new buds with wildflowers to come but this one was just beautiful! The Pasqueflower is one of the first wildflowers to bloom in the spring. We got there early when there was still some dew and ice particles on the closed Pasqueflowers. But as the day warmed up, the flowers bloomed and this is what I got.  I thought it was just spectacular! What a beautiful flower and such a nice welcome to spring.

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It Was An American Coot On Lake Estes In Colorado

My Dad is a really great birder. He knows his birds, what they look like and their calls. Being 91 years old now, his eyesight is failing but he still knows his birds.

I was describing to him on the phone ( he lives in CT) a duck on Lake Estes that I thought was  a black duck. He said, “No, I think it sounds more like a Coot.” So…I went home and got my birdbook out and yes, it was an American Coot. What I learned was very interesting. It has the bill of a chicken, the feet of a grebe and the body of a duck. When they swim, the coot’s head rocks back and forth in synchrony with their swimming speed.

The coots love to squabble with each other, often seen running across the surface of the water charging at its rivals. What an interesting bird.

Thanks, Dad. I sure wish I knew as much about birds as you do!

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The Bull Elk Are Losing Their Antlers Here In Estes Park And RMNP

It’s so beautiful to see the Bull Elk all fall and winter with their huge antlers…5-pointers and 6-pointers. They are just magnificent!

And then this time of year, their antlers fall off and they have these little stubby spots where they once were. Within a few days they will begin to grow new antlers for the rut season again in the fall. These antlers will be covered with a soft velvet until September when it sloughs off and their can begin the rut.

I happened to see this big guy grazing on the hill on one of my walks. You can see the shiny little black spots where the antlers were just a few days ago. They look so different until the new ones start to grow back.

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