Is This a Rare Bird?

Reddish Egret_DingDarlingNWR-FL_LAH_5150rf

Ducks paddling, egrets darting for fish, cormorants spreading their wings in the sun, pelicans heading for splash down… I couldn’t wait to return to J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge last February. It was my third visit to the refuge, which is more than I’d ever expected, being that it’s 2,000 miles from home! Located on Sanibel Island, on the west coast of Florida, it’s the perfect spot for a birder to view most of the Florida regulars, plus a few special visitors. And this time, we had a very special visitor indeed. Or not.

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This Houseplant Deserves a Star!

A few weeks ago, a friend arrived for dinner bearing a potted plant covered with the most amazing orange flowers. It was supposed to be a gift for my husband, who had recently spent 12 days in the hospital (you can read about that on my other blog), but I couldn’t take my eyes off the huge, intensely colored blooms. I’m pretty familiar with most common plants, especially ones sold in pots, already in bloom, however I didn’t recognize this one at all. What in the world could it be?

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Birding Aiken Canyon

trail-aikencanyon-21apr07-lah-015rsWherever we live, we birders have a favorite birding spot (or two)—the place we’re sure to see that less common species, or that is exceptionally scenic. Maybe the trail is just right—some ups and downs, but nothing overly strenuous, and the perfect length to fill a morning, but not leave us exhausted at the end of a too-long day. It’s the place that we imagine when we think about going birding next weekend. Aiken Canyon has it all—interesting birds, beautiful scenery, and a well-maintained trail.

The Nature Conservatory owns this site, chosen because it’s “one of the last high-quality examples of the southern Front Range foothills ecosystem.”

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Blue Stars for Your Garden

Amsonia jonesii_Jones' Bluestar_DBG_LAH_0723

Think of stars, fallen from the sky to land on green leaves. In April to June, flowers with five pointed petals, in shades of white to a pale sky-blue, appear in clusters on one-foot plants. The subtle hues give this perennial a peaceful presence in the garden.

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The Hummers are Coming!

Broad-tailed Hummingbird_RedRocksRanch-Hwy115-CO_LAH_3795

The bee balm (Monarda) and mint hyssop (Agastache) won’t bloom until mid-summer, and the flowers on my California fuchsia (Epilobium canum) appear even later. Yet, despite the lack of these hummingbird favorites, the birds are on the move, heading north to nest. While I like to think that I’m aiding their survival, I know they will do fine without me. Still, I’m hustling to fill and hang my feeders. It isn’t that the birds need me—I need them!

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