Whatever Weds. A White Christmas

Copyright©2022 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

As I mentioned in my last post we had a window of opportunity to get across the mountains to go to our daughter’s for Christmas so we took it. A couple of days later after it had stopped snowing I put on some boots and headed outside a couple of times to photograph some of the Oak trees on my daughter’s property while the snow was fresh.

Oaks along the fence line
White Christmas after the storm

Last light
Still hanging on

We had a low of 11 degrees on Sunday but, it’s warming up my weather app says it’s going to be 50 degrees today…it said that about yesterday too but, the high was 49 which I was happy about! It was windy making it feel colder but, my walk to the mailbox was pleasant.

I hope you’re staying warm and your new year has started off well.

Nikon D810| Nikkor 24-120mm| PS CC 23.0.0

more to come…

Whatever Weds. Flatirons

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Have you heard of or been to the Flatirons outside of Boulder, CO? I had never heard of them before, but I ran across an article or review of them while researching “things to do in and around Denver”. The hikes sounded interesting and pretty so we added this destination to our itinerary.

It was just over an hours drive from our hotel so we got up early had breakfast at the hotel then headed out for Chautauqua Park in Boulder, CO. That’s where we’d find the Flatirons. They’re rock formations that back in the 1900’s were know as the Chautauqua Slabs, and later they were called the Crags… Wikipedia.

They do resemble clothes irons. They’re numbered 1 through 5. The big one in front is number 1.

The Flatirons

Upon arriving and reading the trail map we discovered a big sign notifying hikers that the trail we hoped to hike was closed for repairs, so Plan B. We hiked up this trail in the image above and caught the Bluebell-Baird trail which made a nice loop and a great stretch the legs hike.

Ready? Let’s go I’ll show some of what I saw along the way.

The wide open space soon changed to a dense forest.

Bluebell-Baird Trail

There were still some wildflowers in bloom. I think this is Narrow Goldenrod, but I’m not positive. Any one know for sure? I apologize for the missed focus. My iPhone and I weren’t having a good moment with focus. 😂

Narrow Goldenrod ?

We walked around a bend in the trail and on both sides of the trail were cairns! I can’t recall seeing so many in one place before!

Cairns, cairns, cairns!

There are so many! More than fit in my frame. The park had fenced off both sides of this area but, if you know me and rocks…you just know what happened next. Shhh! Don’t tell anybody, but I had to, HAD TO add a rock to a cairn. This one.

Added one rock on top. Cairn Bluebell-Baird Trail Chautauqua Park

Then before we knew it we out in the open again. Here’s a little view of Boulder, CO.

It’s all downhill from here. Before we finish up let’s take a look behind us shall we?

Flatiron 1

Geoolgy Fun Facts:

The Flatirons consist of conglomeratic sandstone of the Fountain Formation. Geologists estimate the age of these rocks as 290 to 296 million years; they were lifted and tilted into their present orientation between 35 and 80 million years ago, during the Laramide Orogeny. The Flatirons were subsequently exposed by erosion. Other manifestations of the Fountain Formation can be found in many places along the Colorado Front Range, including Garden of the Gods near Colorado SpringsRoxborough State Park in Douglas County, and Red Rocks Amphitheatre near Morrison.”~ Wikipedia

I’d like to go back to this park one day and hike the trail that was closed. From here we headed to Estes Park the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. More on that in a future post.

iPhone 7 Plus| PS CC 22.5.1

more to come…

Whatever Weds. Fall Color in CO +2

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

While in CO. Fall was at peak or past it in the higher elevations and beginning in the lower ones so, after the wedding we began our vacation. First up we headed to Kenosha Pass to see the fall colors.

Reflections

Layers of Color

Fast forward…we came home to a cold snap. It was pretty chilly and windy all week-end; it rained a bit in the valley and snowed in the mountains, but on Monday things really got chilly and it rained, hailed and snowed a little, and yesterday I woke up to 23 degrees (-5c) and the clouds had lifted a bit on the mountains so I could see the snow on them.

Lucky me, a flock of Canadian Geese flew by and I got the tail-end of them in this frame. They’re heading Northeast somewhere.

I’m trying a new theme for the blog to see if my images look better than in the previous theme. I think it’s better. What do you think?

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon 16-80mm & 100-400mm| iPhone 7 Plus| PS CC 22..5.1

more to come…

Friday’s Feathered Friends-Yellow Warbler

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Isn’t he cheerful? This was the second time I’ve ever seen this bird. There are more than 50 species of Warblers but few are as brilliant yellow as he is. The females aren’t as bright and lack the rich chestnut streaking, but do have the black eyes, and warm yellow tones.

Yellow Warbler

Fun Facts:

  • In addition to the migratory form of the Yellow Warbler that breeds in North America, several other resident forms can be found in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. Males in these populations can have chestnut caps or even chestnut covering the entire head.
  • The nests of the Yellow Warbler are frequently parasitized by the Brown-headed Cowbird. The warbler often builds a new nest directly on top of the parasitized one, sometimes resulting in nests with up to six tiers.
  • Life can be dangerous for a small bird. Yellow Warblers have occasionally been found caught in the strands of an orb weaver spider’s web.
  • The oldest-known Yellow Warbler was a female, and was at least 11 years old when she was recaught and rereleased during banding operations in New York.~allaboutbirds.org

Sunday we drove over the mountains to go visit Baby Girl, The Handsome Surveyor, and the boys. Along the way we stopped at Maiden’s Grave pullout to view the horrible smoke plume from the Caldor Fire burning in the El Dorado National forest.

View from Maiden’s Grave, SR 88, CA.

All through the forest we kept seeing these signs- Every campground, and park is closed. 😭

Forest Closed Sign

The reports on the fire are somewhat better today. They’re allowing some residents to return their homes in South Lake Tahoe, and the cooler temperatures, and less wind in the week-end forecast is promising and should help the firefighters with the fight.

The smoke is still in the unhealthy range here, but the sun is trying to burn through it today so I’m feeling a wee bit more positive today on the fire front.

We haven’t any week-end plans since we’ve been gone a lot these last two weeks visiting our kids and grandkids. What about you any plans? Whatever your plans I hope you have a good week-end!

Fuji X-T3| Fuji 100-400mm| and iPhone 7Plus| PS CC 22.5

more to come…

Friday Feathered Friends-Cassin’s Finch

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Back in July I saw this beauty, he was my 7th Lifer for the year!

Cassin’s Finch-Male

They live in the mountains of western North America. I am really surprised that it took me so long to spot one, but it did.

Fun Facts: gleaned from allaboutbirds.org

The Cassin’s Finch was first collected on an 1850s expedition to the southwestern mountains by the Pacific Railroad Survey. The eminent ornithologist John Cassin, who created illustrations for the survey, called the pink-tinged finch the “greatest bird in the lot.” Cassin asked his friend and colleague Spencer Baird to name the new species after him.

Male Cassin’s Finches have red crown feathers thanks to carotenoid pigments, which they acquire when they swallow colorful foods like the orange berries of firethorn plants.

Male Cassin’s Finches remain brownish and look like females during their first breeding season. During this time they sing, and this may give the false impression that both sexes sing. These young males may group into “bachelor flocks” during that first breeding season.

The Cassin’s Finch is an accomplished mimic, often adding the calls of other species into its own songs.

The Cassin’s Finch breeds semicolonially, with nests on average 80 feet apart. Nests are sometimes as close as 3 feet apart—this usually causes a fight between males until one of the pair gives up. If the first nest is substantially earlier than the other, however, such close nesting may be tolerated.

The Cassin’s Finch craves salt, and is often found visiting mineral deposits on the ground.

The oldest recorded Cassin’s Finch was a male, and at least seven years old when he was recaptured and released during banding operations in Oregon in 1979. He had been banded in the same state in 1974. ~ allaboutbirds.com

We’re still dealing with a lot of smoke from the two biggest fires in California.

As I type this on Thursday our AQI is bad, but not as awful as it was on Monday when we flew into Reno on our way home from visiting Big Baby Boy, and the Dark Haired Beauty. Monday the AQI was a whopping 398!

I saw the pilots on the way out of the plane and said, “I sure am glad you were able to see to land, because I couldn’t see a thing!” One of the pilots replied, ” We had one eye opened and hoped for the best.” 🤣😜

I’m glad it was the good eye!

He-Man said he was thinking about the scene in the movie Airplane. Flying on instruments LOL!!

I hope you all have a great week-end!!

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon 100-400mm| PS CC 22.5.0

more to come…

Wordless Weds. Lake Tahoe between storms

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Lumix FZ200| PS CC 22.2.0 Lake Tahoe at Sand Harbor State Park 2021

more to come…

Whatever Weds. 4 Points

Copyright ©2020 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

A girlfriend and I got up early after a snowstorm in January for a sunrise photography outing and then we headed to a birding location when we came across this guy along the way.

Did you know that one the west coast it’s common to only count the points on one side of the antlers, and on Mule Deer like these you don’t count the brow tines- the ones coming above the brow?

On the east coast they count all the points. Who knew? I’ve gone with the west coast rule of thought and counted only one side. 😀

4 Point Buck

There were quite a few Doe’s too. Here’s one.

Doe Mule Deer

I hope you are having a lovely week. We’re halfway to the week-end! Let’s make a point of making it a good one! 😋

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm| PS CC 21.0.3

more to come…