Sorting Out Sandpipers

semipalmated-sandpipers_chicobasinranchco_20100501_lah_4500Late August is one of my favorite times to go birding. Maybe that’s because I really like shorebirds. I grew up near the beach, and studied marine biology in college—and I still get excited about anything to do with the ocean. The shorebirds here in Colorado are nowhere near a coastline, but they’ll have to do, at least for now.

The calendar may still say summer, but shorebirds consider this time of year to be fall. They’ve finished nesting, and it’s time to head someplace where winters are warmer. Many species breed in the arctic, and Colorado is right on their route south.

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Weed—Identify Yourself!

weedsofthewestAre those weed seedlings or flowers?

That’s a significant question early in the season. While mature weeds are obviously not zinnias or parsley, it’s much harder to distinguish garden plants from unwanted pests when they’re still seedlings. Yet, weed control is much, much easier when done at the seedling stage.

The first year we lived in Colorado, I made what turned out to be one of my worst gardening blunders ever. We moved into our house in November. I surveyed the empty beds around the patio and assumed nothing was planted there. Silly me. Like so many transplants here, I’d come from (northern) California, where the growing season lasted all year. I hadn’t yet learned that many plants spend the winter hiding underground.

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