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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Scorpions

By Tina Mitchell The dog stood still as a statue, nose to the floor. Maybe he was watching an insect. But usually he’d just check it out and move on or else snarf it down. This behavior was different. Curious, I walked over. Uh, oh – the boy had zeroed in on a scorpion. A […]

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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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Hummers

By Tina Mitchell Glittering, feathered jewels of green, orange, dark purple and red charge and chase each other with long, thin, pointed daggers, sputtering like electric sparks. A scene from an animated science-fantasy movie? No, it’s July at Central Colorado’s hummingbird feeders and wildflowers.

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The Natural World – Butterflies

By Tina Mitchell While birding in Arizona, we had been searching for an hour or so, scanning among the treetops for warblers. Whenever I’d look down to give my neck a break, I’d notice colorful butterflies wafting lazily along. Why were we working so hard to see tiny flitting birds when butterflies – equally colorful, […]

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Great Horned Owls

By Tina Mitchell Who’s awake? Me too! Who’s awake? Me too! In the bleak midwinter, this series of five rhythmic, muffled, slightly eerie hoots – all on one pitch – wafts through the darkness. The sentinel taking attendance is the Great Horned Owl. Measuring nearly 2 feet from head to tail, the Great Horned is […]

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December Sunlight

THE NATURAL WORLD By Tina Mitchell The sun rises later every morning. Night falls earlier each day. You walk the dog before work in pitch black, hoping that the local coyotes aren’t prowling the darkness a few feet behind you. After work, what’s left of the daylight fades fast and you do outdoor tasks in twilight. […]

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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: Lagomorpha

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 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 – WIld Turkeys

By Tina Mitchell Okay, I’ll show my age. Anyone else remember the 1980s situation comedy WKRP in Cincinnati? One episode highlighted an ill-fated Thanksgiving advertising campaign featuring domesticated turkeys dropped from a helicopter flying over the city – and plummeting straight to the ground. Covering the event on the ground, reporter Les Nessman wailed, “Oh, […]

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The Natural World

by Tina Mitchell Just after June’s summer solstice, my husband and I were enjoying a lazy morning, drinking coffee and watching television, when movement outside the windows caught my eye. Probably a mule deer heading for a drink from the birdbath, I thought as I stood up to look. Whoa – definitely not a deer. […]

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The Natural World

by Tina Mitchell Birders are crazy. Well, maybe not every birder. But many qualify, in my opinion. Drive more than 400 miles roundtrip in a snowstorm to see a Streak-backed Oriole from Mexico coming to feeders at Fort Collins? Wacky. Travel 300 miles one way to see a Broad-billed Hummingbird in Grand Junction, a species […]

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