Weekend at Pagosa Springs

Back in July my friend Dia and I spent a long weekend at Pagosa Springs, Colorado.  I had never been there before, so I was really looking forward to a long, relaxing weekend hiking and soaking in the hot springs.

On our way we stopped in for lunch at the Purple Adobe Lavender Farm in Abiquiu, New Mexico.  (Pronounced Ab-eh-Q)  It was a beautiful place to stroll and the lunch was delicious.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Purple Adobe Lavender Farm

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Wonderful lavender!

10955

Kelly enjoying a wonderful lunch

We also enjoyed shopping in the little store.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Beautiful store

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Shopping at the cafe

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mmmmmmm…

As we drove down the road, we decided to pop in and check out the famous Ghost Ranch.  When people hear Ghost Ranch they usually think of the artist Georgia O’Keefe who loved to paint the beauty of the desert here.  We didn’t spend long, but I did take some time to take a few photos.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Great old western wagon

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Storms over Abiquiu Lake

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Old hand-hewn log cabin

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Beauty of the Ghost Ranch

As we neared Chama, New Mexico, we passed an Osprey nest.  Of course, I had to turn around to get a photo.  🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Female Osprey on the nest

While I was photographing the female on the nest, the male showed up with lunch.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Male Osprey with a meal

We stayed at the beautiful Springs Spa and Resort.  They have 25 different soaking pools that vary in temperatures from 96 degrees to as hot as 111 degrees.  HOT!  The hottest pool was called the Lobster Pot.  I couldn’t get more than my foot in before I was yelping in pain!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Springs Resort and Spa

After checking in we decided to go have lunch and let Scarlett run around a bit.  Of course, she was thrilled to play in the river.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Scarlett stretching her legs after a long drive.

We ate at a restaurant across the river that had a great view of the resort.  We couldn’t wait to get in those pools!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

View of the resort and the San Juan River

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Looks fabulous doesn’t it?

Of course, we had ourselves a giant margarita at lunch to kick off the relaxing weekend.

10964

Yum!

One of the things I really wanted to do while staying at the resort was take night photos.  I don’t get many opportunities to do night photography, so this was a real treat to have a unique setting.

I first photographed the resort’s hotel.  Such a beautiful place.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

While photographing the hotel, a pair of girls were playing the outdoor chess game.  I was thrilled they consented to let me take their photo.  I think it came out nice.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Outdoor chess game under the stars

From there we toured the pools.  The first pool we came to overlooked the resort.  I liked that there were some people relaxing the in pool.  I think they added interest to the view.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Soakers enjoying the beautiful evening

Here’s some other shots I got touring the pools.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sunken foot bridge through the warm springs

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I loved the travertine formations that builds up with the flowing waters of hot springs

I took a few shots from the bridge across the river and from the other side of the river.  Beautiful with the reflections in the water.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Gorgeous at night

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Definitely a special place

The next day we went on a couple of short hikes.  I really wanted to see the waterfalls in the area.  I never seem to tire of photographing water.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The views during the hike were spectacular.

Our first hike was to Treasure Falls.  It’s not a very long hike, but really beautiful.   Of course, where there’s water, there is always wildlife.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

MacGuilvray’s Warbler

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Adorable chipmunk

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

American Robin with a mouthful of moths

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Northern Flicker digging for grubs

This year the southwest had experienced a pretty severe draught at the beginning of the summer.  Because of this, the waterfalls were pretty thin.  But I think they were still beautiful.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lower part of Treasure Falls

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Gorgeous!

My favorite shot of the entire trip was taken at this waterfall.  I hiked all the way to the base of the falls to discover a tranquil pool.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tranquil pool

To my delight, I spotted an American Dipper.  It’s always a real treat to see one of these birds.  I love how they dip and bob along the water’s edge and dive into the pools looking for food.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

American Dipper

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Looking for goodies in the falling water

The other hike we did was to Silver Falls.  Dia was my co-pilot and was responsible for finding the trailhead.  She led me on a one-hour 4WD goose chase!!! DIA!!!!!   I was so busy stressing over the drive, I didn’t take any photos! LOL!

We finally realized we had driven past the falls.  We turned around and found the trailhead.  This was also a short hike, but very steep! We followed Silver Creek the entire way.  There were small waterfalls along the trail.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I wasn’t sure what to expect when we got to the main waterfall.  All I can say is WOW!  It was spectacular!  I think it was about 5 stories tall!  The sounds of the falls was almost deafening.  I can only imagine what they would look like if it hadn’t been a drought year.  Dia and I spent quite some time here enjoying the view and taking a few photos.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lower portion of Silver Fall

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Silver Falls

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

WOW!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Just spectacular!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lower portion of Silver Falls

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My beautiful friend Dia

Dia took a picture of me at the falls.  I look terrible after a stressful Jeep drive!  LOL!  My headband says “Jeep Hair, Don’t Care!”  🙂

11020

We spent the rest of the afternoon and the next morning soaking in the pools.  It was sooooooo relaxing.  We spent some time shopping the great shops on main street before we left town.   We found lots of goodies!

On the way out of town I spotted a Black-Billed Magpie.  I wish we had these birds closer to home.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Black-Billed Magpie

When we drove through Chama we spotted a little foal in a pasture along the highway.  We just had to stop and say hi.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dia made new friends fast 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Beautiful!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This guy was so new he still has his dried umbilical cord

The drought was about to be over on this trip.  The monsoons started in earnest on our drive home.  I stopped to take a photo of the storms over Abiquiu Lake.   Monsoons in the desert can be very dramatic!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Storms over Abiquiu Lake

All the rain made the Rio Grande turn red.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Rio Grande

I hope you enjoyed reading about my lovely weekend at Pagosa Springs!  I’m so ready to go back!

 

Red River Hiking – Day 2

On Day 2 we hiked to Middle Fork Lake.  It was a tough hike.  You climb 1200 feet in elevation in 2.5 miles.  Pretty steep and that was with switchbacks.  But the hike was beautiful.  We followed a stream called Middle Fork Red River up the canyon to the lake.

We started the hike at a high elevation of 9,579 feet.  It was beautiful right at the parking lot.  We parked right next to the stream.

The hike started climbing immediately.  Whew! Not much air at 9,579 feet and it got thinner as we climbed.  Scarlett didn’t seem to mind though.  She was thrilled to be out on a long hike.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Scarlett and Kelly enjoying the hike.

The trail was beautiful.  I had to stop off and take photos every time we crossed the stream.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Middle Fork Red River

There were little waterfalls all along the stream.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I loved all the big rocks in the stream.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After about a mile climb, we came to the stream again.  And this time there was a big waterfall.  Beautiful!  I just love waterfalls.  There aren’t many in New Mexico, so when you see one, it’s a real treat!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A beautiful waterfall

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Rugged and natural

After taking a nice break at the waterfall, the climbing resumed.  Whew! The air was definitely getting thinner.  My legs were getting tired too.  We left the river and it was just one switchback after another.  If there wasn’t the lure of the lake ahead, I might have turned around.  I hadn’t been on a long, hard hike for several months.

Finally!  I made it to the lake.  All of a sudden you top a rise and it’s there before you.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Middle Fork Lake

Well worth the effort of climbing to it.  The lake sits at 10,819 feet.  It’s a gorgeous glacial lake.  After standing there for a few wondrous minutes catching my breath, I walked down to the lake and took some scenic pics.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Middle Fork Lake

To my delight there were some Gray Jays there hoping for some treats from visiting hikers.  I had almost left my birding lens behind since it’s a very heavy lens.  But thankfully I had carried it up the mountain.  So I was able to get some nice shots of this cool bird.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Gray Jay

After sitting and having a nice lunch, I decided to walk around the lake.  Scarlett was thrilled when we came across a patch of snow left over from winter.  She had fun rolling and digging in the snow.  She was barking and letting everyone know how great it was.  LOL!  🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Scarlett loved the snow patch!

I took a few more shots of the lake.  I was going to try and walk all the way around the lake, but storm clouds were brewing in the distance.  I figured I better start heading back down.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Middle Fork Lake

When I got to the waterfall, I decided to try and climb to the upper part of the falls.  It was worth the scramble for the beautiful scene.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Above the waterfall

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Above the waterfall

The waterfall was beautiful too as the light had changed since I had seen it earlier.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Gorgeous lighting

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A wonderful part of the hike

Going down the trail was way easier than going up.  We made good time working our way down.  I let Scarlett have one more fun time in the stream before we got back to the car.  She just can’t get enough water.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Scarlett enjoying the water

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My happy girl!

I’m so glad I went on the hike.  Everyone I hiked with was wonderful.  It was definitely worth the effort.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Almost back to the parking lot.  Whew!

Stay tuned for my last day at Red River.  I will be birding in Eagle Nest! 🙂

 

 

 

Red River Hiking – Day 1

I recently went on a hiking trip to Red River, New Mexico.  I love Red River.  It’s a beautiful mountain town with amazing scenery.  New Mexico has been experiencing a severe drought.  Many of our forests are being closed to safeguard them from forest fires. I think my trip was timed just before the Carson National Forest is closed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I drove through Taos and was happy to see Black-Billed Magpies busily hunting for food.  I usually get terrible photos of these birds.  But on this occasion, I had a very cooperative bird and was able to get some nice photos.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Black-Billed Magpie

While in Taos I came across several Rock Pigeons enjoying a puddle together.  I thought they looked adorable.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Birds of a feather….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Flock together….and enjoy a refreshing bath

I spent 3 days there and thankfully it rained each evening.  Hopefully they don’t experience any closures.  On Day 1 I drove to Red River and met up with the hiking group at the Columbine State Park trail.  This was a nice, easy trail.  I climbed about 500 feet in elevation over 2 miles.  The trail is along Columbine Creek, which is a lovely little creek.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Scarlett was happy to be on a hike and water to play in! She needed a good hiking trip.  She ran and ran and splashed and splashed.  But occasionally she used one of the bridges (after she ran through the creek!).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Scarlett

I loved how the trail crisscrossed the creek.  It always fun to walk along water – especially in New Mexico.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Only rocks here to cross the water.

There were a few flowers trying to bloom even though we are experiencing a drought.  Even a few strawberries were determined to bloom.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Shooting Stars

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Strawberry plant

I loved the scenery as I climbed.  The aspen trees were beautiful in their new leaves.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Quakies as they are called in New Mexico

I came across one area that begged me to take some creative photos.  I love how the log crossed the small waterfall.  I couldn’t decide which one I liked best….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I liked this area so much, I had someone take a pic of me and Scarlett.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Kelly and Scarlett

There were several small waterfalls along this trail.  I’m glad I was wearing my waterproof hiking sandals so I could get in the water for fun photos.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I eventually climbed higher and left the creek below.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Scarlett ran ahead of me most of the time.  At one point I didn’t see her so I called her name.  The silly girl peeked at me from around a tree.  LOL!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Scarlett hiding behind a tree.

I had wanted to hike further up the trail, but a storm cloud had been brewing while I hiked.  At one point it started rumbling, so I figured I’d better turn around and head to the condo.  Scarlett was happy to run back downhill!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I passed a small lake on the way to the condo.  It must have interesting minerals in the water to give it a beautiful turquoise blue color.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Eagle Rock Lake

Along the road I saw a beautiful little waterfall.  I just had to park and climb down the steep incline to photograph it.  Totally worth it don’t you think?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tune in next time for Day 2.  I hiked to a beautiful waterfall and a lake!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

Scarlett turns 3!

Saturday, March 24, was Scarlett’s 3rd birthday! So of course, to celebrate we had to do something new and different!

On Friday my husband’s band played in Lamy, NM. It’s a little town that is basically a small railroad stop. A few of the residents recently set up an historic train car and turned it into a bar. The quarters were tight for the band, but it was a fun experience.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Vintage train car

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My handsome husband Tim

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Brad the drummer

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And Bill is on base

20180323_171627

Reverend E and the Vagrants

While watching the band, one of the locals told me about a hike nearby. They told me about a trail that followed the train tracks that led to a trestle bridge over a waterfall. Of course, I just had to go see that! What a great way to celebrate Scarlett’s birthday!

On the way there, I had to drive through Stanley. So I took the time drive down my favorite road there: Valley Irrigation Road. Since it’s between times for migrating birds, it was pretty quiet. But I did see a few local birds that hang out year round.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Northern Flicker female

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Curve-Billed Thrasher – the breeze was ruffling his feathers

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Common Raven

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Look at the talons on this Swainson’s Hawk

I came across a Say’s Phoebe busily looking for bugs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Say’s Phoebe

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And he’s off to get a bug!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So graceful

I saw some cute prairie dogs and some beautiful antelope too.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Prairie Dog

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Prong Horn Antelope – female in the background

The clouds were just beautiful behind this granary. I just love New Mexico skies!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Granary in Stanley.

My next town was Galisteo. I drove past a Red-Tailed Hawk hanging out on the power lines next to the highway. I turned around and managed to get a couple pics before he flew off.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Red-Tailed Hawk

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hmmm…looks like he learned from the Say’s Phoebe

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And he’s outta here! Showing off that red tail.

Finally we made it to Lamy. It’s about an hour drive from my home. I followed the directions I was given and eventually came to an area where I couldn’t drive any further. Time to get out and hike!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My beautiful Scarlett ready to go!

We followed along the tracks for a while.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Following the tracks

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I love the old glass insulators that used to be used on electric lines.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Old railroad bolt

20180324_122712

I heard lots of birds, but only managed to photograph a couple of them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bushtit

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

White-Crowned Sparrow

The terrain started narrowing from a wide valley. I’d never hiked next to a train track before. I kept wondering when a train might come through.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Soon we came to a narrow canyon. If the train came through now, there was nowhere to go! Yikes!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Scarlett is standing where the waterfall is below. You can see there’s nowhere to go if the train comes around the corner.

I looked down below and saw a beautiful sight. A sweet little waterfall with a beautiful pool.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Looking down to the waterfall and pool from the trestle

We checked out both sides of the trestle. A wonderful part of Galisteo Creek. I didn’t know until later that this area is called Apache Canyon Railroad Bridge Historic Site. There’s not a lot of information available about this area, but I did find out the bridge was built in 1908 by American Bridge Company of New York. It is also known as Spider Leg Bridge.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Scarlett looking down wanting to get into that creek!

I just had to get down there. It was steep! I slid down the whole way on my backside! 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Below the bridge

Once at the bottom, I made Scarlett wait before I let her play. She wasn’t happy about this, but I wanted to get some pristine photos before she got water everywhere. 🙂 I think you’ll agree, this is a special little place.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I love this shot!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Finally Scarlett was allowed to play. She had a blast running and splashing!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Doing her favorite thing: running back and forth in shallow water.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Headed for the deeper pool

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Such fun!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

That look tells me she is enjoying her birthday hike.

The day was in the mid 60s and it was beautiful. Next thing I know, I’ve got my shoes off and enjoying the water.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ahhhhhh……

Soon we had to leave. I have to say it was much easier going up than down. Whew!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

One last look before leaving. So beautiful!

Not long after leaving the bridge, I heard a train whistle. Yikes! We got out of there just in time! Luckily for us, the train stopped in Lamy to let the passengers take a break. I was able to walk all the way back to the car before the train went by.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sitting in my Jeep when the train finally passed.

It was a fun afternoon!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Happy 3rd Birthday Scarlett!!!

Summer Birds and Other Goodies

With my several trips this year and busy work, I haven’t had time to blog as often as I would have liked to.  So I thought I would combine several sightings over the summer into one post. Now that fall is officially here, many of these birds are gone or will be gone soon.

During the summer I went on several day hikes within a couple hours of Albuquerque.  Partly to see something new in scenery and partly to see some birds I don’t normally see around home.

One hike that was new for me was the Cave Creek hike in the Pecos Wilderness.  It’s about a 5-mile round trip hike to some caves that were created by water eroding through limestone.  It was a beautiful hike in thick forest along a creek.  Of course, Scarlett enjoyed the water immensely!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So much fun at the water crossings!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lovely stream to hike along.

The caves were very interesting.  There were several that were big enough to walk inside of.  I didn’t go very far in as it got dark quickly and I wasn’t sure how deep the water got.  But lots of fun to explore.  Scarlett was curious about the caves as well.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Unique caves created by water erosion.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Scarlett exploring a smaller cave.

On this hike I saw a flock of Dusky Grouse.  This is pretty much the only grouse specie New Mexico has.  I’ve only seen this bird a few times of the past 20 years and never very close.  But I was lucky on this hike.  When I startled them, they flew into a nearby pine and sat very still – which was perfect for a great photo.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dusky Grouse

Another day I ventured to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains next to Santa Fe.  It was a very cloudy day and the birds were few, but I managed to get a few nice sightings.  A favorite – Green Tailed Towhee – came close to check me out so I was able to see his colors nicely.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Green Tailed Towhee

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Williamson’s Sapsucker – Juvenile

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dark-Eyed Junco

One of the highlights of this hike was seeing lots of mushrooms.  I’ve seen photos of the red and white polka dot mushrooms, but never have seen one in person.  It was a real treat seeing and photographing them.  🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Poisonous mushroom – but so pretty!

Aspen Vista is a beautiful hike at about 8,000 feet above sea level.  As you know Scarlett loves water.   But she also loves culverts.  She’s always looking inside them to see what might be hiding.  On this hike, she found a culvert that was big enough to run through and it had water flowing through it.  Bonus!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Scarlett having a blast!

I walked along the Rio Grande several times.  Most of the colorful summer birds love the Bosque.  It’s so much fun looking for and photographing these beauties!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Blue Grosbeak

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Summer Tanager

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Neotropic Cormorant

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Downy Woodpecker

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Great Blue Heron

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Say’s Phoebe

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Broad-Tailed Hummingbird enjoying the summer mimosa blooms!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

House Sparrow

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

House Finch – partial orange morph

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Orange-Crowned Warbler

One day while hiking along the river, I came across a Cooper’s Hawk enjoying breakfast.  You could tell it had caught a songbird by the foot hanging out of it’s beak.  Poor thing….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Songbird for breakfast anyone???

While reviewing my photos, I realized I had captured a lifer bird on one of my outings along the river.  I love it when that happens!  In this case, I had mistaken it for a Summer Tanager.  But when I reviewed the photo more closely, I realized it was a Hepatic Tanager.  Yay!!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hepatic Tanager

Of course, Scarlett always enjoys a visit to the river!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Look at that big grin on Scarlett’s face!

One day I took a drive out to Stanley.  I hadn’t been there for quite some time.  I saw a lot of the usual residents there.  I never tire seeing a Western Meadowlark or the many hawks that live there.  🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cliff Swallow

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Red-Tailed Hawk (juvenile) – I love the coloring of this particular bird

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Western Meadowlark

Around home I’ve had several new birds visit my yard this summer.  It’s so exciting to see something new show up.  I hope they find me again next year!  Some were easy to photograph, while others were very elusive.  The birds I was unable to photograph but saw were Yellow-Headed Blackbird, Brown-Headed Blackbird, Northern Saw-Whet Owl, and Green-Tailed Towhee.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pygmy Nuthatch

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Curve-Billed Thrasher

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I love their orange eyes.

Along with the new birds I’ve seen this year, I’ve had plenty of the resident birds stopping by the feeders and bird baths.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Western Bluebird

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A very shy Ladderback Woodpecker (hence the blurry photo)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Wilson’s Warbler – coming to enjoy my bird bath

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hairy Woodpecker

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mountain Chickadee

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Holding down a sunflower seed to extract its goodness.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bushtit

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lesser Goldfinch

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Black-Headed Grosbeak

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Juniper Titmouse

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Virginia’s Warbler

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Rufous Hummingbird

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bewick’s Wren

This summer New Mexico saw several forest fires in the Jemez Mountains.  Because of this, a lot of the bird life has migrated south to new habitats.  This summer we saw a large number of Lewis’s Woodpeckers in the greater Albuquerque area.  We normally don’t see them here, so it was a real treat to see one only a couple miles from my house.  It seemed to prefer this telephone pole as it was sighted there often.  And it didn’t like the squirrel using its pole.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lewis’s Woodpecker

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Get off my pole!!!

I drove down to the Monzano Mountains a couple weeks ago hoping to see the fall colors starting in 4th of July Canyon.  Though the colors still haven’t begun, I did get to see several birds.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Steller’s Jay – so beautiful!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Red-Tailed Hawks

I saw a Brown Creeper – always a delight.  They are very difficult to see against the bark and they move quickly.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Brown Creeper

Plus I got a lifer!  A Golden-Crowned Kinglet.  I’ve been looking for this bird for several years and just happened upon it on this trail.  Yay!  This guy was way up in the canopy shadows and moving so fast!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Golden-Crowned Kinglet

Among the many bird sightings I had over the summer, I came across some other interesting things.  I thought you might enjoy seeing them.  🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cool bee on a beautiful summer sunflower

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ahhhhhhhh……

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Southwestern Fence Lizard

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hoary Comma

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Aphrodite Fritillary

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Police Car Moth

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Western Tailed-Blue

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I love the colors on this dragonfly

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This beetle “hisses” when you touch it.  A unique defense!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Great Plains Skink (juvenile).  This guy was so cool!!!  I love the markings on the face.  This skink will turn plain brown all over as an adult. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Painted Lady

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Can you see the walking stick expertly hiding

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Marine Blue

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Common Side-Blotched Lizard

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Jackrabbit

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Rocky Mountain National Park – Day 4

Our last day in Estes Park.  I really didn’t want to leave.  There was so much to explore!

Dia said she wanted to sleep in.  So Scarlett and I headed out very early to go birding in Moraine Park where I had seen so many birds before.  It was a gorgeous morning.  And when I arrived at the trail head, there was birdsong everywhere.  Yay!

The trail I chose crossed a creek flowing through the meadow and headed for a rock outcropping with large pines and oaks.  I figured this would give me a bigger variety of species to look for with the range of habitat available.

My first bird sighting was a Lincoln’s Sparrow.  I could hear him singing among some dead trees along the creek.  But it took me forever to spot him.  He was very camouflaged among the dead branches.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lincoln’s Sparrow

Up ahead on the little bridge crossing the creek I saw several American Crows enjoying the morning sun.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Soon I was at the treeline edge.  Lots of birds here.  There were many House Wrens busy flitting here and there so it was a challenge to get a decent pic.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

House Wren

While photographing the wrens, a pair of juvenile Williamson’s Sapsuckers came over to check me out.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Juvenile Williamson’s Sapsucker

A White-Breasted Nuthatch was busy feeding above me.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

White-Breasted Nuthatch

I saw several Northern Flickers. For the most part they stayed a ways away.  I did manage to get a decent pic of one before it saw me and took off.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Northern Flicker

Then I saw a quick peek of yellow.  At first I thought it might be a warbler, but when I finally got a good look at it, I realized it was a young male Western Tanager.  Always a pleasure to see!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Western Tanager

A cute little bunny was feeding next to the trail.  I always think they are so adorable.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

All of a sudden Scarlett let out a low growl.  I saw where she was looking and realized there was a coyote in the meadow.  It decided it didn’t want anything to do with Scarlett, so it quickly headed off deeper into the meadow.  He was between me and the morning sun, so I didn’t get a great pic.  But I always love seeing coyotes.  For some reason, Scarlett always growls when she sees one.   That’s a good thing I guess!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Coyote

There were several hummingbirds about.  I believe they were all Broad-Tailed Hummingbirds. In that same area where we saw the coyote, there was a patch of Bee Balm.  I love these flowers.  Such unusual blooms and hummingbirds love them.  I managed to catch one feeding but that low morning sun didn’t make for very good photos.  Sigh….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Broad-Tailed Hummingbird

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Broad-Tailed Hummingbird feeding on Bee Balm flowers

Further up the trail I saw a LBB (little brown bird).  That’s usually how I end up identifying sparrows when you can’t get a good enough look at them.   This one caught my attention because it had two wing feathers sticking out funny.  🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I believe this is a Brewer’s Sparrow

I only got one butterfly photo the whole trip.  There were wildflowers everywhere but very few butterflies.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Small Wood Nymph

There were squirrels everywhere.  This park has a healthy population of a large variety of squirrels and chipmunks.  I almost didn’t see this chipmunk as it blended very well with the rock it was sitting on.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

To my delight a Steller’s Jay landed nearby and the sun was behind me!  🙂  This one looks to be a young one starting to get more adult plumage.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Steller’s Jay

Out in the meadow I saw a flock of Red-Winged and Brewer’s Blackbirds feeding on the grass seeds.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Brewer’s Blackbird

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Red-Winged Blackbird – female

 

I saw many American Robins while in the park, but I only managed to get one good photo of one.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

American Robin

As I was getting into my car to leave, I got one last photo of a Black-Billed Magpie.  I love these birds.  I’m so glad I was able to see so many of them and get some nice photos.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Black-Billed Magpie

 

I was sad to leave the park.  I am definitely coming back again in the future!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mule Deer

Dia called me as I was heading back to town.   I asked her where she was.  Where else?!? Starbucks!   So I met her there and we enjoyed sitting by the river that runs through Estes Park.   Such a beautiful town.

IMG_20170722_174100446

Dia at her happy place!

Before I end this trip, I thought I would share some of the fun and silly photos we took over the weekend.  🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I made Scarlett get in the water.  She was not happy with me.  I think the loud waterfall nearby was scaring her.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Scarlett didn’t know what to think of all the raging rivers and waterfalls.  Even though she loves water, this kind of water was scary!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

These marmots knew how to beg for treats

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is definitely NOT my husband’s Jeep LOL!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dia photo bombing me

IMG_20170723_095905538(1)

Dia enjoying all her pleasures

IMG_20170723_084605984_HDR

Kelly and her precious Scarlett

IMG_20170722_082749814

What I do to get that “perfect” photo LOL!

IMG_20170721_100400242_HDR

I just couldn’t get my new tube scarf thing to work 😐

IMG_20170722_165339371_HDR(1)

Enjoying gourmet ice cream on main street

20170722_170222

And of course, Scarlett wanted ice cream too! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rocky Mountain National Park – Day 2

It’s been a little while since I posted Day 1. Sorry about that! Life has been busy!

Day 2 was my favorite of the 3 days at the park. Dia and I hiked most of the morning. We took a hike that passed by 3 lakes. Just stunning! I think it was the most beautiful hike I have ever been on. Seriously! You’ll see why when you see my photos. And trust me….they don’t do it justice!

We started out very early in the morning to miss the crowds and to hopefully get some pretty photos of the lakes. And our planning paid off.

The hike started off in deep forest with a slight incline. About a 1/2 mile into the hike we came upon Nymph Lake. A beautiful little lake full of lily pads.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Nymph Lake

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lots of lily pads

Fortunately there was a couple there willing to take our photo. Even though I had my tripod, sometimes it’s just easier to have someone take your pic. 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Scarlett, Kelly and Dia

Scarlett was wearing her new backpack. We had her carry all of our water and snacks! 🙂 Being a working dog, she loved it. Plus, it slowed her down some LOL!

After Nymph Lake we started climbing higher. Soon we were climbing above the forest and the view started opening up. So beautiful!

20170722_155823

Panorama of the trail. You can just see the shimmer of Nymph Lake below.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Stunning views

We came across the stream that fed into Nymph Lake. It was flowing nicely. I love hiking next to water. Just that sound of the babbling brook can be so peaceful and rejuvenating. Seeing as New Mexico really doesn’t have a lot of water, being in RMNP was so wonderful because it’s full of water.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dia at the creek crossing. Neat tree!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sweet little waterfall in the stream

As we climbed higher on the trail, it just kept getting even more beautiful. I was never bored. Every step was a joy.

20170722_073651

We started leveling out and the waters became calmer. I figured we were getting closer to another of the 3 lakes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

At this point Dia joked that we were hiking to that snow in the background. Little did we know she was pretty close to the truth.

Soon we rounded a bend and there was Dream Lake. I absolutely loved this lake. It was my favorite lake of the entire trip.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dia and Kelly at Dream Lake

OMG! This lake was just breathtaking! I could have sat here for hours. The water was so clear we could see trout swimming along the shore. Just beautiful! The picture below is my most favorite scenic photo from the trip.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dream Lake – Just stunning!!!

Too soon we had to leave Dream Lake and keep hiking up the trail. Dream Lake was long and skinny so there was lots of time to enjoy it as we headed up the trail. Other parts of the lake were unique and I couldn’t resist taking a bunch of photos.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Such a beautiful hike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dia loved this cool tree

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Clear water and perfect reflections

Soon we were climbing yet again. Thankfully the trail was never too steep. So it was an enjoyable hike the entire time. And now that I think about it, Dia never once cried for a Starbucks. That’s how great this hike was!!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I loved that from this point forward we stayed next to the stream. At times we crisscrossed over it. And at several points there were small waterfalls. Gorgeous!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What a great trail.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Loved the bedrock this waterfall cascaded over.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I had to scramble down between big boulders for this shot. What photographers do for a photo!

Finally we were getting close to our final lake and the turnaround point for the hike. We had made it to the snow that Dia had earlier joked about. Granted, it was just here and there but we were at around 10,000 feet so it was cool enough for some of it to stay even in the middle of summer. And what was on that snow???? A lifer bird for me!!!! A Pine Grosbeak. A beautiful male so pretty in his pink plumage. This is the southernmost area you can see these birds in the US. I was so excited! I didn’t have my birding lens on, but thankfully he was close enough I got a decent pic with my regular lens.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pine Grosbeak

Right after seeing the grosbeak, we came upon Emerald Lake. A stunning high alpine glacial lake.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Emerald Lake

My favorite photo of the trip of Dia and I together. Such a stunning backdrop. Thankfully I had lugged my tripod along on this trip so I could get such great shots and pictures of us together.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Kelly and Dia at Emerald Lake

We stayed here awhile just soaking up the views. You could hear the distant waterfall. So peaceful. A lovely hike on a lovely day.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dia enjoying the view of the lake and distant waterfall. Scarlett enjoying all the squirrels running around. She let us know where every one was…

Too soon we had to head back down the trail. Thankfully it was downhill the whole way back. It was interesting to note how different the lakes looked when the sun was directly overhead. I was so happy we got up at 5:30 to hit the trail early. It paid off with gorgeous photos and no people.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Nymph Lake later in the day

We were tired at the end of the hike. We had a snack in parking lot and talked about what we wanted to do next. Since we had just hiked 6+ miles we decided we wanted to drive around and see more of the park.

We ended up stopping at another lake – Sprague Lake.

20170722_113459

Sprague Lake

It wasn’t nearly as scenic as the other lakes, but was still nice to walk around. Plus, there were lots of birds in the area. Always a plus!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lovely wildflowers

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Juvenile Yellow-Rumped Warbler

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mountain Chickadee

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mallard

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cutie pie 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mountain Bluebird

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bank Swallow

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Steller’s Jay

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dia couldn’t believe I got this dragonfly in flight 🙂

My favorite bird on this walk was a Song Sparrow. He was kicked back, relaxing, and singing his little heart out. So Sweet!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Song Sparrow

As if we hadn’t hiked enough that day, I talked Dia into hiking from Sprague Lake down to Glacier Basin. It was a pretty little downhill hike. But I tell you, we were wiped out at the end. Thankfully they have shuttle buses running that were able to take us back to our car. While waiting for the bus, I saw a wasp carrying a large caterpillar. He was moving fast so it was tough getting a pic. But I was fascinated by this. That caterpillar is going to be food for its young.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Common Thread Waisted Wasp

After getting back to our car, we decided to drive around a little more. We drove through the giant meadow of Moraine Park. A beautiful area full of wildflowers and big vistas. And lots of birds! I made plans with Dia to let me get up early the day we were to drive home so I could go birding in this area before we left. I knew it was going to be great!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Moraine Park

20170722_135123

Lovely wildflowers

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There are six Northern Flickers in this photo. Wow!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Black-Billed Magpie – no longer my nemesis 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bee Balm

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Brewer’s Blackbird male and female

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Williamson’s Sapsucker – I love this pic!

There was one river that we crossed every day. It had beautiful rushing water. I really wanted a picture of it. We tried walking up next to it, but it didn’t do it justice. Though we did see this sign…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So I decided to walk back out onto the bridge for a pic. Much better! So beautiful!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Gorgeous!

When we got back to the hotel, we were pooped! While I was walking Scarlett for her potty break, Dia sent me this text. LOL! We had hiked 10 miles this day. Plus 10 miles the day before.

Screenshot_20170722-185312

As we were getting ready for bed (at 7:30 pm HAHAHAHAHAHA!), I decided to take Scarlett out one more time to go potty. When I looked out, I saw Bull Elk right outside our room! WOW! Of course, I had to grab my camera and take a dozen pics following them as they grazed. What a great way to end a day!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bull Elk