Saturday, March 15, 2008

Spring is for the Birds

After a week of temperatures in the high 50's we had a smattering of snow sneak in on us Thursday night. That was why it was especially surprising to look out yesterday morning and see my first mountain bluebird of the year highlighted perfectly against a backdrop of white snow-covered rock. The photo at the left is one I took last summer. I love seeing these birds and am always shocked by the intensity of their color but I have a really hard time capturing a photo of them. They don't sit still for long.
A short while later I was out on my run when I heard more of the bluebird song down by the irrigation ditch. I stopped to take a look and couldn't believe the sight - I counted 27 bluebirds in one single tree! This morning Ken counted an even dozen in a tree when out on his run. Even though the snow disappeared almost immediately yesterday I can't imagine where these guys are finding enough bugs to keep them all fed.
This morning we heard a commotion outside and looked out to see the biggest flock of ravens we have ever seen. We are used to seeing a couple around most of the time and we have seen large groups of crows occasionally in the past but never this many ravens together. We counted thirty in this single grouping. For a minute it seemed as if the whole sky was black then they all circled around and seemed to go their separate ways.

Two of the coyotes were visible in the rocks not far from the house this morning. At first we thought they were hunting a bunny as they would disappear behind a pile of rocks and suddenly we would see dirt flying everywhere as they dug in the sand. They seemed unfazed by our presence up on the hill as we fed the llamas. Every so often they would come out and check to see what we were doing but it wasn't until I moved in their direction to take this picture that they decided it was too much. A while later we went down to look at their dig site and it just seemed to be a hole in the ground. We could see them watching us from above as we looked. Now I think they are getting ready to den and are picking a site within view of the house. Huh!

Last night we went into Cody to a benefit dinner and concert for the Park County Pedalers. The entertainment was by Jalan Crossland of Ten Sleep, an artist I hear on NPR fairly regularly and one I like a lot. Probably the only thing I regretted giving up when we moved to Wyoming was my road bike. We live about eight miles from a paved road and it just didn't seem like we would get much use out of our road bikes once we were here. We traded them in for mountain bikes but it just hasn't been the same. Road biking was my sport of choice in my younger days and one at which I was better than almost any other woman I knew. Ken is less enamoured of the sport and was once seriously injured in a cycling accident. Last year when I decided to start competing in triathlons again I went out and bought a very basic road bike. I didn't get a lot of miles in, partly because Ken hates for me to ride alone, but I really enjoyed what I did do. Then this year I became friends with some people from the Park County Pedalers. Now I am planning on joining them on a number of organized rides and I am really excited about getting back in the saddle. I will probably have to drive to Cody to start the rides but that is true for most of the social activities we do anyway.

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