I don’t go to many birding festivals. They cost money and they attract crowds. I’m not a big fan of crowds. But I make an exception every year for the Pikes Peak Birding and Nature Festival, held right here in the Pikes Peak region of Colorado. In fact, not only do I go to the festival, I’m a volunteer.
For the first time in recent memory a flock of Lewis’s Woodpeckers has taken up residence near Colorado Springs. Only 11 miles south of Colorado Springs, they are busy harvesting acorns in the picnic area at Fort Carson’s Turkey Creek Recreation Area. These uncommon (at least along the Front Range) woodpeckers are attracting every birder in town. A couple of friends and I made our migration at dawn two weeks ago, hauling binoculars, spotting scopes, and at least 50 pounds of camera gear. We weren’t disappointed.
A calm oasis in Monument Park, the Horticultural Art Society’s Demonstration Garden is the perfect summer retreat. Surrounded by mature trees that provide shade for much of the day, and full of flowers, it’s a place to linger and relax. Perennial borders encircle several planted islands, set off by a sea of green grass; the total effect is lovely.
As you enter off Mesa Road (a continuation of W. Cache la Poudre Street) or Glen Avenue in downtown Colorado Springs, the noise of the street fades, replaced by the chirping of birds and the gentle sigh of a cool breeze. Rarely are more than a few other people present.