Perennially

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Our annual tribute to a perennial favorite wildflower of ours Painted Brush or Indian Paintbrush if you will. The plant belongs to the genus Castilleja of which there are over 200 documents species in the Americas. With 24 species in the Rocky Mountain region and with of those species nine in our local area we are always noting the subtle differences in colors, texture and shapes among these beautiful plants.

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This years photos were taken on a hike up an alpine ridge with this beautiful orange-red variety being most prevalent that day.

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Until we meet again.

 

Just passing through

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Just passing through might be a bit of an understatement. While just getting ready to doze off we heard a bit of commotion just outside our campsite and just across a small creek this male moose came passing though. He moved along quickly and we hardly had time to snap a photo yet along admire him. Just passing through indeed.

 

Happy Friday and wishing you a wonderful weekend.

Summer Days

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While spending time ogling the wildflower patches in front of us we almost forgot to turn around and breathe in the pure cloudless sky and wonderful mountain ridge behind us.

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An evening storm passes by bringing thunder but no rain on the mountain peak just across the way.

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A classic summer cumulus just seemed to hang over this rock formation from early afternoon until evening.

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The setting sun still shining out the mountains ever so close but still far away.

Summer days seem so few.

Along the edge of the pond

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Frogs and Toads along the edge of the pond. Us looking at them. Them looking at us.

On that day we walked along the edge and counted eight frogs looking up enjoying an summer day. This little guy was especially curious and we spent a bit of time staring into each others eyes.

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Next we came upon this Western Toad looking a bit cranky so just a quick hello and we moved along the edge until we came upon another toad.

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This guys was a bit less cranky but still with that full toad personality on display…”leave me alone I’m catching bugs can’t you see. ”

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And we weren’t the only ones staring at the wildlife that day as these two little frogs were having quite a stare down upon a small rock.

Happy Friday and perhaps you can spend a bit of time along the edge of a pond this weekend.

Remembering Bunnyville

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For each of the last several years there has been a place in a field close to home that we dubbed Bunnyville. Home to a family, or perhaps families, of Mountain Cottontail rabbits.

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Each spring and summer a new batch of bunnies would appear like clockwork and inhabit the flower filled field and forest edges nearby.

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However this year we are Bunnyless! Predation by a cast of characters which include the Ermine, Golden Eagles, Bobcat, Coyote, and Foxes over the previous winter appear to decimated the Rabbit population in our area.

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It is a strange thing to experience a summer without out the rabbits although the Penstemon in are garden are relived. Yet a summer without baby bunnies of groups of teenage rabbits frolicking in the fields is a stage thing indeed.

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The grasses a growing longer without the natural lawnmowers….

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They always put a smile on our face and it is sad to realize the sun may have set on Bunnyville.  There is always hope the rabbits will return after all it only takes a couple.

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Wishing you a wonderful weekend and here’s to remembering Bunnyville.

C is for Comma

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A short pause is in order today to just soak in the beauty of the Comma, butterfly, that is.  One of the earlier butterfly species to grace the skies in our area each summer many of the earlier arrivals we observed actually overwintered as adults. Some finding refuge from the winters freeze deep in crevices of a trees bark.

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Some we found warming themselves collecting minerals from the moist soil on the forest floor.

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Whereas others were often found feeding on the new growth of the trees and shrubs.

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Yes, C is for Comma.

Juniper Hairstreak

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One of the most interesting butterflies found in our area is the beautiful and fancy in a non-fancy sort of way Juniper Hairstreak.  Widely distributed across the United States this butterfly is often seen in old fields, bluffs, barrens, juniper and pinyon-juniper woodlands, and cedar breaks. This one was photographed feeding on biscuit root along the base of a cliff that had several areas of Juniper growing. The male will sit all day upon the ends of juniper branches to attract a female.