band-tailed pigeons above Paonia
- I have spent the last three days tunneling through oak and juniper up in the Lamborn and Lands End areas south of Paonia. The chokecherries and serviceberries are ripe, and the pigeons are hanging out in the aspens around all of the springs near the top of the oak layer. I have seen a couple dozen in the past few days. The Bell Creek Springs/ Lamborn Trail trailhead is a good viewing site, if you can get there. 4WD is a must.
The bears are also out and about. I saw one on Sunday morning, that paid me little heed even though I was on an ATV at the time. Guess he knew I was working. Still couldn't get the camera out. There is bear sign EVERYWHERE up in that country, concentrated where the berries are, but pretty much all over. Which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy when I am in brush where I can only see about four feet. Mud swirling in tracks in a spring, tracks OVER my own boot print from half an hour earlier...
Other birds seen these days include an abundance of blue-gray gnatcatchers. I had one come out and check on me this morning, perched in plain sight for more than a minute. I also had a warbling vireo fly up from its bath in a spring and land on a branch within a foot of my face, where it preened until it realized I was standing there. Lots of other oak and PJ residents, as well.Dennis GarrisonPaonia
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