The mid-December sun, traveling low across southern sky casts long shadows on the icey blue face of a small pond and gently lights the landscape beyond. Decembers light is like no other and helps me keep track of the time like no wall calendar or wristwatch can.
Just a few weeks ago the Rabbit Brush was in full bloom and hosting quite a party where everyone was invited. Rabbit Brush is a native plant found over much of the western United States that blooms in late fall providing one final burst of color before winter arrives. According to the USDA, Rabbit Brush:Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus, provides both nesting habitat and forage for a wide variety of birds, insects and small mammals. One of the more frequent visitors to the party were White Crowned Sparrows.
In this case an immature White-Crowned Sparrow seemed to be foraging for insects.
Another visitor we noticed on more than one occasion was the Monarch Butterly stopping by for a sip of nectar as they migrate south for the winter.
Last but not least the Ruby-crowned Kinglets found the party too good to ignore and we frequently saw them foraging through the bushes in each of a meal.
A beautiful plant and a welcome splash of color as snow is forecast for the weekend.
And speaking of weekends, have a great one.
Golden fall colors reflecting upon a very calm lake. Silence is golden.
The golden glow of the Aspens in the morning light.
Two chickadees singing a-dee-dee-dee with a nuthatch honking as the leaves rustle in the breeze.
The crows gurgling and woodpeckers pecking in the distance.
Sights and sounds of the forest on a morning hike.
Almost like a drip from a leaky faucet this plant was sowing seeds slow and one at a time on a windless afternoon. One let loose and another follows. A wonderful display of flow in slow motion.
Small plants high up on a windy ridge doing their part in convincing me fall is indeed here.
High up in the hills the flowers have all flowered and transition fills the air. What a wonderful time.
The other day I saw a yellow flash land in a nice cedar tree. Thinking it was an unusual insect I quickly went over to get a look. Alas, it was not a new insect but a Honey Bee and to say this one was covered in pollen might be an understatement. This little bee could hard fly with the load they had acquired. After a few minutes of rest they slowly lifted off and headed back to the hive. A job well done.
We typically see only a few Preying Mantis each summer either while out hiking or in our garden. Last week, while out on a hike, we saw numerous Mantids and each one matched the specific grasses they resided in. The Mantid above was in grasses that were a mix of green and brown and the Mantid was green and brown.
While the Mantid above resided in fresh green grass.
This Mantids above were right at home in a field of brown.
We even got a look at one Mantid hanging upside down.
Photographed in Denver, CO
Prickly Poppies are a wonderful wildflower to have around. On our daily walks we can rest assured we will find some in bloom. Once found, we can stop for a moment and enjoy the show as beetles, bees and ants do their work pollinating these delicate flowers. Even now, as fall approaches and most of the other wildflowers have lost their blooms, a few Prickly Poppies are still going strong.
They a treat for they eyes, like little whipped cream sundaes with a cherries on top.
Those little prickles protect such delicate yet tough flowers.
I am looking forward to see how long they continue blooming into the fall.