Mountain bluebirds

For the past four months I’ve been working on the revision of Wild at Heart‘s bird chapter, sifting through hundreds of exciting photos for the new waterbird and raptor sections, plus editing tons of text. Definitely time for a brain break. The cheerful soft whistles of mountain bluebirds arriving with a flash of brilliant blue is all the inspiration I need to get outside!

I’m so pleased to let everyone know that the revision of the bird chapter is now in the hands of graphic artist, Amber McKeague, who is setting up pages for the new version of Wild at Heart.

Now, on to finishing the revision of the wildflower chapter just as the bright green tips of spring flowers are pushing up through the dark soil. Hope everyone can spend some beautiful days outside watching for each new sign of spring as it arrives! Janis

Mountain Bluebird male and female… Love is in the air!

Great walk to renew your spirit!

Milfoil Lomatium – Parsley Family

For a wonderful spring walk, try Wink Jaffee Trail along the Roaring Fork River. Go right on Smith Way heading west on Highway 82 from Snowmass Village and Aspen. Go down the hill and turn right into the park at the junction with McLain Flats Rd. If you start at the parking lot and walk along the river, then take the first left trail uphill (in a little over a mile) to the Rio Grande Trail to complete a 2.9 mile loop back to the parking lot. Below is a list of the blooming wildflowers and birds I saw there yesterday. Interesting information about each species is in Wild at Heart. Take your hand lens as you will need it for the unique tiny pink flowers of Mountain Lover. I’m listing the scientific names for the wildflowers as you will need that if you are searching for info on the internet (common names are too abundant), whereas you won’t need that with birds as they have a set common name. It’s fun to go to All About Birds here or download their app “Merlin Bird ID” and search for the birds above to learn their songs before you go…much easier to know the bird you are looking for if you know their song. Plus, it’s like being surrounded by good friends. Enjoy!

Yellow Lanceleaf Violet (Viola vallicola), Dwarf Bluebells (Mertensia fusiformis), Water plantain buttercup (Ranunculus alismifolius), Milfoil lomatium (Lomatium grayi), Rocky Mountain Spring parsley (Cymopterus planosus), Mountainlover (Paxistima myrsinites).

Orange-crowned Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Black-capped Chickadee, Townsend’s Solitaire, Song Sparrow, American Dipper.

Corn Lilies Enjoy Spring Sun

Corn Lilies Are Up!

During a walk along Brush Creek in Snowmass a few days ago, it was great to see corn lilies (Veratrum californicum) punching up through the winter debris of packed leaves. I love every season in the mountains, but spring is special as plants surging upward brighten the landscape! Corn lilies spread through their roots and do not depend on seeds to reproduce, often forming masses in moist open meadows. Although formerly in the Lily (Liliaceae) Family, they are now considered to be in the False Hellebore (Melanthiaceae) Family due to genetic studies. You can check out more info on this fascinating plant at Al Schneider’s terrific website, Southwest Colorado Wildflowers, Southwest Colorado Wildflowers, or in Wild at Heart on page 133.

In Defense of Plants – a great plant podcast!

Most of the time I like walking in silence to hear what the earth is saying, but sometimes it’s enjoyable to listen and learn about a subject you love. I’ve been searching for a good podcast about plants that explores interesting related topics and has a speaker who is easy to listen to…found it! As you all know, plants are my passion. Head over to “In Defense of Plants” to see what they are about and to enjoy the many available podcasts Matt already has. Just click here.