Saturday, July 29, 2006

Buena vista

We took the scenic route. The direct route from here to Glenwood Springs would have been to go straight north right back through Leadville to Interstate 70, then west. We didn’t do that. We left Santa Fe on Interstate 25 northbound and drove for a few hours, as far as Walsenburg, Colorado. From there we took a back way we never get to go on, a colorado highway through Westcliffe to eventually meet up with Highway 50 and follow the Arkansas River upstream through Salida. We were expecting great scenery and got it. So here we are again at the KOA in Buena Vista for the night. In Santa Fe, the hummingbirds were all black-chinned. Here, they are all broad-tailed and Rufous. Swarms of hummingbirds and a bonus; a roving pack of about a hundred pinon jays, complaining their way across the scrub forest.


Friday, July 28, 2006

Santa fe skies


From: Steve Taylor [mailto:spt@thetaylorcompany.net]
Sent: Friday, July 28, 2006 8:31 PM
To: Bill Taylor (Bill Taylor); David Taylor (David Taylor); Tom Taylor (Tom Taylor)
Subject: FW: santa fe skies



Karma

On our way to Santa Fe, on the outskirts, stuck in a traffic jam so bad they’ve closed the freeway, all three lanes of traffic being routed off the exit ramp in the distance to crawl along the access road until the next opportunity to return. We’re in the center lane. All three lanes barely moving, but the merge not happening until the police officers directing traffic right at the ramp. As we get closer, still barely creeping, another RV pulls next to us in the right lane. He opens his window, and invites us to merge ahead of him. We’re sixty feet; not that easy to change lanes without help, so we thank him profusely, and over the course of the next several minutes, manage to get our full length ahead of him and merge into the empty space. What a nice guy! He didn’t have to do that.

Time marches on.

This man should be rewarded beyond our measly thanks and light blinking recognition…. and he was! The universe is just and fair. His reward? Because he volunteered to wait just a little longer and let us go first, he didn’t have to be the last vehicle diverted onto the exit ramp. Somebody had to be last, and it wasn’t him….. it was us. Just as we passed the point of no return, the police pulled aside the barricades and reopened the southbound freeway.

He waved as he went past.


Stuff

The people who build Santa Fe Skies, the RV Park we're at, have been on the property for generations. They set some stuff out.

Some people probably know what these things are....., but not me.





Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Santa fe

Buena Vista to Santa Fe. Thundershowers in the afternoon. Rain on the roof. Dinner and coffee. A walk around the park during a break between rainshowers. Between showers, but a renegade lightning bolt so close overhead I felt the concussion. A quick trip back to the motorhome to wait for a better break between showers. That was invigorating.

A much quieter walk later in the dark, when it would stay dark.

A repeat client in Santa Fe tomorrow. A quick one; only get two days to do it.


Along the way

Along the way… to Santa Fe. An overnight stop at the KOA in Buena Vista. Pinon and sage covered hillside. Hummingbird feeders on every cabin. Half a dozen hummingbirds on each feeder. Hummingbird trills, a constant ringing accompaniment to any venture outside. A cool rainy mountain afternoon. Annie the dirtball got a bath.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Glenwood

A flock of band tailed pigeons in the pinon juniper outside Carbondale. Lewis’ woodpeckers in the campground. An extended flyover by a red-tailed hawk; seeming to take a close look at Annie. We stayed between them. Kingbirds galore. Spotted sandpiper. Swarms of hummingbirds to make me duck. Black-chinned, broad-tailed, Rufous. Swallows. Crystal River.

Enough of this place. We’re headed for Santa Fe.


Wildflowers

Trapper

Moose meadow.



Monday, July 24, 2006

Northwestern Colorado



Trapper’s Lake has come and gone. Lots of miles. One-hundred twenty each way. Flattops Wilderness Area. Hiking through the forest. Annie swimming. Moose meadow. Ponds. Goldeneyes to study with the scope. Not a single male in sight to make it easy; their markings are so obvious. Females. Immatures. Youngsters. No matter how hard we tried, we could not make them Barrows. Common goldeneyes.

We did, however, have a close encounter with a family of blue grouse on the way back home. Mom and three kids. Knew they were grouse right off. Hoped they might be sage grouse, but as soon as they flew, it was obvious, blue grouse. Rounded tails, not pointed. Still haven’t seen any sage grouse.

Farther along, wild turkeys.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Saturday, July 22, 2006

When I grow up

I should have a house in Aspen like this.



Glenwood

Wow. That was a long time in one spot. Weeks! We’ve left Basalt and moved to Glenwood Springs. Rock Gardens at No Name. A thirty mile day.

Tomorrow, a day trip to Trappers Lake. Barrow’s Goldeneye reputed to be there. Don’t have that one on the list.


Glenwood Springs

Wow. That was a long time in one spot. Weeks! We’ve left Basalt and moved to Glenwood Springs. Rock Gardens at No Name. A thirty mile day.

Tomorrow, a day trip to Trappers Lake. Barrow’s Goldeneye reputed to be there. Don’t have that one on the list.

When I grow up


I should have a house in Aspen like this.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Fishing

A tri-colored heron showing us how to do it.



Fishing


A tri-colored heron showing us how to do it.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Health update

Had a good conversation with a cardiologist. He resolved the apparent contradiction between the two tests I’ve taken, one of which said my heart was in great shape and the other which suggested I was in grave danger. The “grave danger” one said I have too much plaque accumulated on my arteries. The other one, the treadmill exercise test, said there was nothing wrong at all.

Clarification. He said “Of course you have plaque on your heart. You’re sixty years old.” Are there any obstructions in my circulatory system? Probably. Are there any significant ones that obstruct blood flow? No. That would have shown up on the stress test.

He thinks I need to lower my cholesterol to slow the accumulation of plaque, but otherwise, I’m a healthy guy. This is an explanation I like. I’m sticking with it.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Health update

Had a good conversation with a cardiologist. He resolved the apparent contradiction between the two tests I’ve taken, one of which said my heart was in great shape and the other which suggested I was in grave danger. The “grave danger” one said I have too much plaque accumulated on my arteries. The other one, the treadmill exercise test, said there was nothing wrong at all.

Clarification. He said “Of course you have plaque on your heart. You’re sixty years old.” Are there any obstructions in my circulatory system? Probably. Are there any significant ones that obstruct blood flow? No. That would have shown up on the stress test.

He thinks I need to lower my cholesterol to slow the accumulation of plaque, but otherwise, I’m a healthy guy. This is an explanation I like. I’m sticking with it.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

What a day

We drove to the top of Independence Pass and spent some time on the tundra. A twelve thousand foot start, for our hike across the grassy rolling fields to higher and higher ridges. A slow pace to accommodate the altitude. We watched for birds. Judy kept counting the different kinds of wildflowers, but countless times lost track and started over. Snowfields and collapsing cornices. We stayed on the trail. Judy stopped in her tracks pointing to a spot in the grass and flowers next to us. It was a baby bird that scurried off the trail just before she stepped on it. The bird turned invisible two feet away, and didn’t move. If you look away you lose it and it’s really hard to find again. We tried to figure out what kind of baby it was. I was hoping maybe white-tailed ptarmigan with a defense of holding perfectly still, just like its parents. We looked all around for the pack of adults. We walked fifty feet away, sat down, and waited for mom to come to the rescue. Finally, a horned lark flew in. Baby jumped up and off they ran through the grass together. We say we’re birding, but really we’re just out there soaking up whatever happens.

Horned larks, white crowned sparrow, american pipits. It was a good day.


What a day

We drove to the top of Independence Pass and spent some time on the tundra. A twelve thousand foot start, for our hike across the grassy rolling fields to higher and higher ridges. A slow pace to accommodate the altitude. We watched for birds. Judy kept counting the different kinds of wildflowers, but countless times lost track and started over. Snowfields and collapsing cornices. We stayed on the trail. Judy stopped in her tracks pointing to a spot in the grass and flowers next to us. It was a baby bird that scurried off the trail just before she stepped on it. The bird turned invisible two feet away, and didn’t move. If you look away you lose it and it’s really hard to find again. We tried to figure out what kind of baby it was. I was hoping maybe white-tailed ptarmigan with a defense of holding perfectly still, just like its parents. We looked all around for the pack of adults. We walked fifty feet away, sat down, and waited for mom to come to the rescue. Finally, a horned lark flew in. Baby jumped up and off they ran through the grass together. We say we’re birding, but really we’re just out there soaking up whatever happens.

Horned larks, white crowned sparrow, american pipits. It was a good day.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Along the way

A close encounter with a fox.



Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Tramp

Fourth of July. A good time was had by all.



Monday, July 10, 2006

Grandkids

Teigan reads to Conner.



Life on the road

Judy walks away, to the next room. I hear her say out loud, “light”. A carryover from the Louisville house: sound activated light switches.

Hard to break old habits.


Sunday, July 9, 2006

Owl

And, after all that, I discover I didn't send the owl picture I meant to send.


Here is the real owl picture. Burrowing owl. On a post.




Cedar Waxwings

Last year there was an irruption of Bohemian Waxwings in Aspen. We’ll be sure to inspect every cedar waxwing we see just in case…. We’ve never identified a bohemian waxwing.

Meanwhile, we’ve got black-headed grosbeaks on the feeder. Lesser goldfinch too. Western wood peewee and olive sided flycatcher in the forest.


Juniper titmouse!

Juniper titmouse! We’ve been looking all over the western United States for the last year, and finally we find it. It’s been in Jim and Ellie’s yard the whole time. We went to dinner at their house outside Carbondale (pinon juniper) and there they were. Mountain chickadees, white breasted nuthatches, and juniper titmouse. All over….. at Jim and Ellie’s anyway.


Dillon

This last time over, however, completely different.


Dillon

The previous time through, Dillon looked like this, rain and snow mix.

Burrowing owl

The elusive burrowing owl.

We've waited years to spot one. When we got this one, we spent twenty minutes watching and taking pictures of him. When we finally drove on, we found another standing on a post within half a mile, then another, then another. Altogether, we saw five of them standing on posts.

Actually, they don't live on fence posts, they live in prairie dog burrows. Later, we did see some on the ground in and next to burrows.


From: Steve Taylor [mailto:steve@taylorroth.com]
Sent: Sunday, July 09, 2006 11:07 AM
To: spt@thetaylorcompany.net
Subject: burrowing owl


Saturday, July 8, 2006

Aspen

So here we are, ensconced in Basalt. A new job in Aspen, twenty miles up the valley. This is the only campground along the whole Roaring Fork Valley, so we always stay here for Aspen work. We got a better spot than we usually do. Most of the sites are back-to-back utilities. It’s a tight park. This time we got a back-in spot along the back fence. Roomier. Much better.

We don’t usually see cedar waxwings, but we get to see them every day here this trip. Nice looking bird.

Next week…. Our friends at the Physics Center in Aspen. We’ve been doing that job for about twenty years.


Thursday, July 6, 2006

Time flies

We’re off to Aspen. While we were at St Vrain, we did a half-day birding trip to Pawnee National Grasslands seventy miles northeast. Bill will remember the grasslands, we took a hike there to Pawnee Buttes. Judy and I went there for one bird, the chestnut collared longspur. We put four birds on the target list, just in case: the chestnut collared longspur, McCown’s longspur, mountain plover, and burrowing owl. We didn’t get the chestnut collared longspur. We did get two out of the four; two new life birds for us, the McCown’s longspur and burrowing owl. Eight burrowing owls altogether, and flocks of McCown’s longspur. Had a close encounter with a mountain plover. Made eye contact. Naked eye, no binoculars, but there in the grass, maybe fifty yards away, a plover head looking right at me. As I raised the binoculars, I could see his head lowering. By the time the binocs were up, there was no sign of him. I kept locked on that exact spot and walked right to it, but there was still no sign of him. Nothing moved, he just disappeared in the grass. Didn't get a good enough look to count him.

No chestnut collared longspur, but two new birds…. And a good reason to go back.


Monday, July 3, 2006

St Vrain State Park

We’ve left Northwest Colorado and headed back down for five days with the kids on the front range. Craig was good, the job went well, saw lots of birds, and even got in a game of racquetball with the executive director, my first racquetball in months. Didn’t get to explore the surrounding countryside as much as we wanted; maybe next time.

No freeway routes for the ride back to the front range. We took the scenic route, highway 40 east through Steamboat, Rabbit Ears Pass, and Muddy Pass. Highway 14 through Walden in North Park (the moose viewing capitol of colorado), Cameron Pass north of Rocky Mountain National Park, and down the long winding Poudre Canyon to Fort Collins, then south to Longmont. We’re at St Vrain State Park. It used to be Barbour Ponds County Park. They’re upgrading it. Nice pads and electric at all sites. Next year they’ll have some full hookup sites. It keeps getting better and better for us.

Meanwhile, family for the Fourth of July.


Saturday, July 1, 2006

Las vegas

After the conference, we exposed ourselves to the slot machines. Dropped a few twenties, then my machine started dinging. Then Judy’s machine started dinging. Played a little longer then quit. It seemed attractive to leave with a little of the casino’s money in our pockets. Judy left with a hundred. I left with five hundred. We’ll keep it for bail money we might need the next time we go back to Texas (no word yet from the jury coordinator’s office).