Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Love Colorado Weather!

Sunday, out looking for wildflowers... Tuesday, watching a llama pack train go by on the trail... Wednesday a.m., back to snow again.

Just yesterday I noticed that many of the huge snowbanks we'd accumulated this winter had completely melted, but it looks as though the few remaining may get a new lease on life! Wasn't bad earlier this a.m., but it's now looking decidedly blizzardy out there. A hundred red-winged blackbirds are taking advantage of the seed I put out, and even Artemis came by for a look around!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Signs of Spring

Was it silly to go looking for spring flowers on February 25th? You be the judge...

The Oregon grape (Mahonia repens) is showing fall color in its leaves (thanks to sun exposure), but look at those yellow buds! They're thinking about spring... This one, on a warm south-facing bank next to the trail, is well ahead of its greener brethren half-buried in dead leaves under the Gambel's oaks. (As always, click to enlarge.)

But there, among those dead oak leaves, a few spring beauties (Claytonia lanceolata) are also thinking about getting going. Unlike the Oregon grape, which is visible while standing, you really have to hunt for these guys-- about an inch tall now, but with little pink buds tucked up under, just waiting to unfurl.

As you can see, the snow has not been off them long. More is due tomorrow...

A closer look at those buds... These little wonders have to make an early start, and plan to run through their entire season before the oak leaves appropriate all the sunshine.

So, yes, there are signs of spring, if you only know where to look!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Winter Wonderland...

Last week, Nature repeatedly provided opportunities for awe, as the last post suggests. Dustings of snow, rather than the recent major dumps, allowed appreciation with less frustration. Time for a trip through Red Rocks, where the foothills were once again looking very fancy!

I think this one is my favorite from Thursday, although it's very hard to choose.

This is Ship Rock, near the Red Rocks Amphitheatre. For a look at it from another angle, see Ship Rock Then & Now, on the Mountain Parks history website.

Today, warmer weather prevails and we are fast going back to brown! Although thawing and chill have been alternating, the ground finally has appeared for the first time since the Winter Solstice storm. It means the disappearance of these gorgeous views, but has several nice side effects!

As always, click on photos for a closer look.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007