Its M day in the Blogging from A to Z April challenge. Halfway through the month and the alphabet. My theme this year is split between two; this is the first month of my retirement and it is the fourth month of recovery from the Marshall Fire in my area.
Today’s post covers both themes. I like getting outdoors, walking and hiking and exploring. With the onset of the pandemic, I got outside nearly every day for a walk. I grew up hiking and such, but I didn’t really learn about or particularly notice the birds. I’ve been noticing them much more in recent years and have actually done a little bit of studying on who’s around and what they might look and sound like. I even bought a small lightweight set of binoculars, increasing the odds that they’ll be with me when there’s something I want to see. With retirement, I’m hoping to spend more time exploring both locally and farther afield.
One of the consequences of the Dec 30 Marshall Fire and the NCAR fire on March 26 is that a number of hiking trails are closed due to fire damage. Here in town, some local bike/walking paths are closed to protect adjoining burned properties. The result of these closures is that I and many others are exploring new options. For me, this means driving more which I don’t like, as well as new discoveries, which I do like.
Stearns Lake is small, just 24 acres. Like many lakes around here, it’s been created by a dam, storing water for agricultural uses. What is particularly nice is it being a part of Boulder County open space. While the water may be used for nearby farms, the area surrounding the lake is open space and parts of it are off limits to humans to protect wildlife. Just south of the lake are some big old trees, one of which contains a huge eagle’s nest. Trails near it are temporarily closed to protect the nesting eagles.
BA and I walked there today. It was easy to see the two adult eagles, sitting in trees or flying, and we each caught a glimpse of what we think are eaglet heads in the nest. That’s quite spectacular. Walking along the lake, there were other birds to see and hear, including meadowlarks and magpies, some ducks–mallards and mergansers, I think, they were staying out in the middle of the lake. Two rowdy canada geese, and great blue heron, redwing blackbirds and a Wilson’s phalarope along the shore. I enjoyed watch a kestrel searching for lunch before it was chased off by more blackbirds.
Close to home and lots to see. Being a weekday morning, foot traffic was relatively light, mostly retirees, and a younger woman with a pair of pre-schoolers in tow. I took the less direct route driving home afterwards, and realized that that route would make a pretty good bike ride. More adventures to come!