Greenback Cutthroat Trout Update

By Tina Mitchell In July, 2016, a lightning strike sparked the Hayden Pass Fire in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Within days, it had exploded into a 26-square-mile conflagration that forced area residents to evacuate. As they prepared to head out, firefighters raced in. Following close behind, a team of more than 30 specially trained […]

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The Natural World: Mountain Goats

By Tina Mitchell One mid-winter afternoon a while ago, we were driving from Coaldale to Cotopaxi. Above the Arkansas River, a patch of snow gleamed on a dry, south-facing cliff. Odd, since snow doesn’t usually linger long there. Then, the “patch” moved – a mountain goat! A first for us in the canyon. We dubbed […]

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The Natural World: Songbirds

By Tina Mitchell Water hopscotching over rocks in a creek bed. Leaves crackling underfoot. A squirrel chatter-scolding as you walk past its tree. The slap of a beaver tail as its owner disappears under water while you move past its pond. The wind howling and swirling the new-fallen snow. Music in nature takes many forms, […]

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The Natural World

by Tina Mitchell In the darkening dusk, my husband said quietly: “Your little friend is back.” I snuck to the window to see one of the local gray foxes heading for the spilled seed under our bird feeders. Such a wary, gorgeous, dainty little predator! October often brings increased sightings of foxes: The young have […]

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The Natural World

by Tina Mitchell Let’s say you’re a bird. Your breeding area this spring and summer abound with budding plants, fresh fruits, nutritious insects – plenty for you and the kids you raised. But what about the coming fall and winter? To paraphrase The Clash, should you stay or should you go? In Central Colorado, most […]

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The Natural World

by Tina Mitchell Bugs Bunny is an imposter. Those extraordinarily long ears and gangly limbs expose him as a hare, not a rabbit. Bugs is not the only victim of rabbit confusion. The early settlers on the plains named the first bunny-like beings they encountered “jackrabbits” – but those critters also were hares, not rabbits. […]

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The Natural World

by Tina Mitchell When people plan a trip to Colorado, what do they envision? Soaring mountains begging for exploration. Fly-fishing for trout in gold-medal waters. Fresh champagne-powder skiing at one of the state’s stunning resorts or gorgeous backcountry roads. Whitewater rafting on a rushing, pristine stretch of river. Birding. Birding? Okay, probably not that one […]

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The Natural World

By Tina Mitchell Spring brings longer, warmer evenings that lure me outside after dinner. Once with our dogs on a postprandial stroll, I noticed the rustling of dried oak leaves. Do oaks grow in this area? Nope, no oaks anywhere near. Instead, a Prairie Rattlesnake sat coiled at the switchback we had all just walked […]

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The Natural World

By Tina Mitchell It’s 8 a.m. at the wildlife rehabilitation center where I occasionally volunteer, and the place already bustles with activity. This particular morning, we have 66 orphaned or abandoned baby squirrels to weigh, 66 formulas to blend, 66 babies to hand-feed, 66 babies to clean up and settle back into their cages – […]

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The Natural World

By Tina Mitchell Wildfire and wildlife – what’s the first image that comes to your mind? I’m seven years old, sitting in a darkened movie theater, watching the fire scene in the Disney animated classic Bambi. Birds, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons and our protagonist deer all flee through scorching embers, swirling smoke, and crashing, flaming branches. […]

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The Natural World

By Tina Mitchell A soft, descending “phew, phew” alerts me to a Mountain Bluebird in the vicinity; a few seconds later, a female zooms to a tree beyond one of the nestboxes I am monitoring. Inside the box, thin strips of juniper bark woven into a sculptural swirl confirm that this is indeed a Mountain […]

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An Avian Symphony

By Tina Mitchell It’s spring morning, and I’m out with the dogs shortly after sunrise, heading to the low ridge to the east. It’s a peaceful time for us humans and canines. But once I shift my awareness, I can hear the air crackling with communications. “DEE-DEE-DEE.” (Mountain Chickadee) “CheeriLEE-cheerio cheeriLEE-cheerio.” (American Robin) A repeated […]

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