(This post sat in the drafts folder for too long, so I am setting it free. )
This year’s closure of highway 72 due to an impact with the bridge by truck have caused more closures than even this year’s train derailment. As such our family trips and commutes between Coal Creek Canyon and Golden/Boulder/Denver have been via Golden Gate State Park and/or Flagstaff (passing Walker Ranch & Gross Reservoir.) These trips have been longer than usual, but glorious in wildlife & scenery.
Coming down through Golden Gate State Park of a morning allows iconically Colorado views of Elk browsing through sun-light streaks and Aspen trees. That atop priceless views out to the snow emphasized mountain peaks of the continental divide. Easier in spring than in the blizzards of winter, and a fantastic drive.
One return trip we elected to come up Highway 6 (towards Blackhawk, then along Highway 119.) I always enjoy the sights of Bighorn sheep along that route, and maintain it is the local place for Coloradans and tourists to get some fun close-ups of sheep (from the luxury of their car.) This trip was no exception, with 5 males with huge horns right by the roadside. Hugh horns, solid and powerful. Wonderful.
To make another change we took a route via Boulder, Flagstaff mountain and Gross Reservoir. Suddenly a bobcat crosses the road right in front of us. Rather than disappearing into the woods the bobcat chose a group of rocks and bedded down. The cats tail was long, perhaps a foot long, with a white tip.
Interestingly this tail hardly stopped moving, the cat flicked it continually. Note: how the magpie are crying their disapproval at the cat, and a hummer buzzes on by.
Here is an unedited clip.
All in all…
All in all, despite quite a lot of disruption to our schedule and increased journey times, there was some real upside to exploring new routes in/out of the canyon.
As the WildObs database continues to grow we can start to do some fun queries. Let us know if you have more information you’d like to see. Here are the top reported species for November. Do you have these on your life-list?
- White-tailed Deer — Odocoileus virginianus
- Northern Mockingbird
- Moose — Alces americanus
- Beaver — Castor canadensis
- Raccoon — Procyon lotor
- Great Blue Heron — Ardea herodias
- White Breasted Nuthatch — Sitta carolinensis
- Cedar Waxwing — Bombycilla cedrorum
- Snow Goose
- Monarch Butterfly — Danaus plexippus
The top 10 places reporting species…
- Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge, OK
- Grand Teton National Park, WY
- Blacksburg, VA
- York River State Park, VA
- John D MacArthur Beach State Park, FL
- McDowell Nature Preserve, NC
- Fort Smith National Historic Site, AR
- The Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center, AR
- Calgary, AB
- Sheep River Provincial Park, AB