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pelicans, cranes and antelope

Posted by prairiewildernesscemetery on October 5, 2010 at 1:56 PM Comments comments (0)

On the way to town yesterday, members of the fall migration caught my attention and I pulled over to look with my monocular.  At least 20 pelicans were on the water and shore of the lake where I have seen them before.  This time, I also saw 5 blue herons.  With the aid of the spyglass, I could also see that there were at least 20 more pelicans clustered at the curve of the beach where it went out of sight.   When I looked at the lake using the satelite option on Google Maps, I noticed it is shaped slightly like a bear paw, so it is fun to speculate on how many more pelicans and cranes could be there.

This morning, 8 antelope grazed their way across our property, finally disappearing down the slope towards our little wetland.  I hope they notice that all of our grass belongs to them, and hang around for a while.

Finally, Pelicans again!

Posted by prairiewildernesscemetery on April 23, 2010 at 5:49 PM Comments comments (0)

At least 30 pelicans caught my attention as I was driving to Greeley in early April. I was so excited, I pulled off the highway and walked to the fence to count them.  They were on the lake where I saw many pelicans raising dozens a couple summers ago, but which became infested with waterskiers last summer.  I'll keep watching to see if the pelicans stay around, or whether waterskiers become the exclusive dominant life form. 

 

Bird Carries Bird!

Posted by prairiewildernesscemetery on August 19, 2009 at 10:57 PM Comments comments (0)

I never heard of this happening before: 

This morning, I looked out my bedroom window, toward the yard door from the garage.  A shrike was pecking at something small and round, laying on the cement "porch", like a fat little mouse.  It stirred and rolled over, and the shrike flew about, landed several feet away, then fluttered back and pecked the little creature again.  Gradually, the big one pestered the small one until the small one stood up and was obviously a baby shrike.  Then, suddenly, the adult used its beek to grab the fledgling by the base of its beek and flew away with it to the other side of the yard! 

1 Heron, 2 pelicans, and Mom

Posted by prairiewildernesscemetery on August 14, 2009 at 1:14 AM Comments comments (0)

I've been watching for pelicans at the lake where I saw so many last year, and finally, today I saw two on the water.  A bit more exciting was the heron I saw flying as we approached the lake.  I can't say it was blue, but it certainly was dark against the sky.

By the way, in case you are wondering why I have been writing in this blog so seldom lately, it is because I spend most of the time in the house taking care of my mother, who is losing more to Alzheimer's and can't be alone longer than about 5 minutes.  This makes it hard to spend any time with nature, outside.  Luckily, nature comes in to visit, in the form of countless spiders, beetles, moths, mice, etc...  Even more lucky is the fact that mosquitoes do not find the way in!  This photo is of me and Mom, in the spring of '07-- as you might know from elsewhere on this site, I'm Laina, on the left.  FYI, Mom is Marilyn Chase, age 81 now. 

Snakes in the Grass

Posted by prairiewildernesscemetery on October 19, 2008 at 2:00 PM Comments comments (0)
In the last several weeks, three bull snakes have been spotted:  the first was more than 5 feet long, the second, only about 18 inches, and the last, around 3 feet long.  I love seeing them, because I have noticed a great abundance of field mice, and the hawks apparently can't keep up with the supply. 

Green Burial Conference

Posted by prairiewildernesscemetery on October 12, 2008 at 12:14 PM Comments comments (0)

The Board of Prairie Wilderness Cemeteries was pleased to be sponsors, participants and attendees at the first ever Green Burial Conference in the United States.

The Conference opened with a keynote by Mark Harris.  The author of Grave Matters, A Journal Through the Modern Funeral Industry to a Natural Way of Burial.  The book and the keynote were stories of different burial options available today.  Mark uses stories as a form of activism. 

The attendees were all involved in their own forms of activism, wanting to bring something positive to the most inevitable part of life.  Funeral directors, hospice nurses, conservationists, ecopioneers, green burial advocates, and a few of the just plain curious listened to the presentations and contributed to the lively dialogues.

Joe Sehee of the Green Burial Council presented statistics that show green burial is very quickly trending into the mainstream.  This confirmation energizes the misson of Prairie Wilderness Cemeteries.  We are not alone - we truly appreciate all the supporters (future partners!?) we met at the Conference.

The long term goal of PWC is to offer green burial in a site that offers preservation and conservation of Colorado ecosystems.  In the meantime, we'll be supporting all green initiatives: home funerals, natural caskets or other materials, burials without embalming and vaults on private land or in established cemeteries.  Stay tuned and join in!

-Denise and the Board of Prairie Wilderness Cemeteries.     

Swallows and Pelicans

Posted by prairiewildernesscemetery on October 2, 2008 at 9:19 PM Comments comments (0)

This morning, Mom and I saw 10 or 20 swallows circling our house.  I think we must be raising lots of flying insects here, because the swallows stayed for hours.

Later, passing the lake near the highway on the way to Greeley, there were at least a dozen pelicans in view.  Most were on the lake; several were above.  Since I have been seeing them all summer, I imagine some pairs must have established their nests and raised their young right here in the middle of the continent. 

Bugs and Birds

Posted by prairiewildernesscemetery on July 30, 2008 at 10:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Yesterday, two things came due:  a set of movies from the library, and watering the trees here.  So, since the fine to the library was only going to be fifty cents, I stayed home to water the trees.  By the time I had watered around 20 of them, it was raining enough I had to change to dry clothes when I came into the house.  Then, the clouds burst!  We had rain, then hail, more rain, hail again, and still more rain!!  The rain gauge indicated 2 1/2 inches this morning when I checked it.  But last night, after the storm cleared, I heard a beautiful cacophony of insects responding to the wetness.  It sounded like they were giving thanks for the bountiful rainfall.  And they were loud in their multitude!  They produced an emphatic rhythm which varied as each individual contributed its own ebb and flow to the whole.  It reminded me of hearing frogs when I was a child in the fifties and sixties, and I certainly hope that someday, hearing frogs will become common again. 

This morning on the way to Greeley to return my late movies, I slowed as usual when I passed the lake where I've seen pelicans, and there were several on the opposite side near the bank.  There is a private road there, so I pulled over and stopped out of the way of anyone needing to go in through the gate, because it was so thrilling to see the birds and I hoped to show them to my mother as well.  We got out and walked to the boundary; I told Mom where they were, and she said she could see them, too.  I counted 7, and before long, one started to fly.  It was like it wanted to give Mom a better view; it flew nearer to our side of the lake and high enough to show against the sky before returning gracefully to its friends.

Tonight, as I write this, I am being serenaded again.  What a precious racket they make!  It is so nearly music, it's enchanting.  I keep thinking there must be frogs there too, but I haven't heard frogs for such a long time, I can't quite tell for sure.

goodbye Kingbirds, hello Pelicans

Posted by prairiewildernesscemetery on July 15, 2008 at 10:54 PM Comments comments (0)

I watched the kingbirds as closely as I could without leaning the ladder against the house again.  I think there were more adults staying near the nest than only the two parents, and it was hard to tell whether they were all friends with each other.  At one point, I thought I saw a hatchling, nestling up against the nesting bird, but I never saw it again.  Never did I see behavior I could recognize as feeding the young.  For the last week, there have been no kingbirds anywhere around.

Today, when driving past the lake where I saw pelicans previously, I saw two floating on the water.  I certainly thought their season to be in my vicinity had passed; obviously I was wrong. 

Western Kingbirds in the Gutter

Posted by prairiewildernesscemetery on June 22, 2008 at 10:01 PM Comments comments (0)
Yes, you read that correctly:  there are Western Kingbirds in the gutter (of our garage roof.)  From their behavior, I suspected they had made a nest there, so I got the ladder to be sure they would not clog the downspout.  They built the nest on the side where there is about a foot from drain to end of gutter, leaving at least 4 inches between nest and drain opening, and I saw 4 eggs, white with dark pink spots.  Several (4 or 5) adults come and go, but there is always one on or near the nest, and I can't tell if the adults are all friendly with each other.  Sometimes there is activity which looks to me like bickering as they swoop around.  I don't know exactly when the eggs were laid, but they only need about 2 weeks of incubation and leave the nest around 3 weeks after hatching, so I will keep watching and put updates as I observe their progress.

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