Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bugs at Home

In the late summer and fall the Rabbit Brush in front of our house attracts large numbers of nectar feeding insects.  It is the only large flowering bush in the area right now.  Using her macro lens, Nancy sat out there one morning and photographed the array of insects feeding on the bush.  

Painted Lady Butterfly on the Rabbit Brush
Earlier in the year, she captured nice photos of other insects.
Bee on Gallardia under our kitchen window

Beetle on Golden Banner in Molly Moon Meadow

Ctenucha Moth in Oregon

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Golden Aspen and Hoodoos -- the Colorado-Wyoming Border Country

Sunday, September 25
The forecast for today here in the foothills and mountains of Larimer County, Colorado was splendid.  We awakened before dawn, and the moon in the eastern sky foretold a very clear, dry day.

We decided to head north of our home to an area we used to visit often but haven't seen for a couple of years.  We took the county road north out of Red Feather Lakes and found ourselves in a blaze of color as the road wound down through the aspen.

We emerged into the open at Prairie Divide, near where Chuck used to live.  It is a geographical feature that was on the early aviation maps as a place where a small plane could safely put down if in trouble.

We continued north on this road to a favorite old haunt, a piece of U.S. Forest Service land that is known as Bull Garden.  The large pond has become nearly choked with reeds over the years. We noticed one lone American Coot and remarked that the Red-winged Blackbirds had all migrated out.  There were still good sized flocks of Mountain and Western Bluebirds, clearly on the move.

Our dog Charley heading for the water.

Bull Garden with Black Mountain in the distance.
Back on the road, we dropped into Cherokee Park, where legend has it that a band of Cherokees had traveled from Oklahoma looking for a better home and were attacked by a group of Utes in this area.  From there, we continued west along Sheep Creek, where old fences attest to the long history of cattle ranching in this area, which several years ago we helped continue by gathering cows from their summer pasture and driving them down along the creek.  

From there, it was just a short way through the rolling sagebrush hills to Sand Creek, where we enjoyed the blaze of color and the snow-capped peaks of the Snowy Range in the far distance.

We turned north following the Sand Creek Valley toward Wyoming but had to stop several times to enjoy the incredible color of the aspen.

As we came over a hill, it seemed like we could see forever.  And we could indeed see as far as the city of Laramie way off in the distance.

Then Chimney Rock came into view.  It sits right by the Colorado-Wyoming Border, and it was the prominent feature of a large holding known as Chimney Rock Ranch, which has now been split up at least to some extent into smaller acreages.  But the land around here remains as beautiful as ever, including the sandstone cliffs opposite Chimney Rock. 

Then it was on north in Wyoming, still heading up the Sand Creek Valley, to an area with bizarre rock formations known as "hoodoos."  They are basically sandstone columns with limestone caps.

We also enjoyed watching a herd of pronghorns, and Nancy got close enough to get a nice picture.

Then it was time to take the long road back home.  

It was a truly wonderful way to spend a beautiful autumn day.