17 de abril de 2020

COVID-19 and the City Nature Challenge

With the 2020 Denver-Boulder City Nature Challenge now just one week away (April 24 - May 3, 2020), we wanted to provide some updates on the current status of the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event from April 24th- May3rd is still taking place however, this year the City Nature Challenge will no longer be a competition between cities but rather a collaborative initiative among cities that harnesses the healing power of nature. This will allow people to safely document biodiversity in whatever way they can, even from the safety of their own homes if necessary. We urge all participants to carefully follow public health guidelines provided by your local governments, as they are changing in real-time. For more information, please visit our website: wild.org/naturechallenge and download our City Nature Challenge Guide

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will no longer be hosting or promoting any group activities. We encourage all individual participants to explore nature in their close to their homes*. If you have trails and open spaces in your neighborhood, that’s great! Please check the status of all parks and open spaces before visiting. Please be respectful of all people and wildlife nearby, follow all social distancing requirements, and abide by local land and facility closures. Please avoid overcrowded areas.

Remember that your own backyard is teeming with wild nature! Your home is a complex ecosystem and contributor to the larger landscape. Be sure to spend lots of time in your yard and/or neighborhood exploring the diversity of plants, birds, insects, mammals, and other wildlife coming through at all hours. Have fun, and be safe!

*If you are concerned about revealing the location of a sensitive organism (or where your house is), you can hide the exact location from the public by changing the “geoprivacy” of the observation to “obscured.”

The Denver-Boulder City Nature Challenge is organized by the WILD Foundation, Colorado Parks & Wildlife, The Nature Conservancy, Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver Audubon, and Denver Metro Nature Alliance.

Publicado em 17 de abril de 2020, 06:25 TARDE por melanie_hill melanie_hill | 0 comments | Deixar um comentário

27 de fevereiro de 2020

The 2020 City Nature Challenge is just around the corner!

Get ready: the 2020 City Nature Challenge is coming up in April, and we need YOU to help us show the world just how wild the Denver-Boulder region is!

From April 24 – May 3, 2020, Boulder County and the Denver Metro Area are teaming up to compete in this year’s City Nature Challenge (CNC)! Last year, our region came up with a whopping 6,211 total observations, 970 identified plant and wildlife species, and had 406 observers and 259 identifiers.

There is nature all around us, even in our cities. Knowing what species are here and where they are helps us study and protect them, but the ONLY way to effectively do that is by working together (scientists, land managers, community members, you name it) to find and document nature in our area. By participating in the CNC, not only do you learn more about local nature, but you can also make our urban areas a better place – for you and our wild neighbors!

The competition will take place in two phases: the first four days, April 24 – 27, are the bioblitz. We need you all to get out and document as many plant and wildlife observations via iNaturalist as possible. During the last six days, April 28 – May 3, participants can upload their observations taken during the bioblitz, and help identify and verify observations. The Boulder-Denver Metro Area City Nature Challenge encompasses Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson Counties.

To receive updates, join the iNaturalist project. Since the project is set up as a bioblitz, all you need to do is upload your observations taken during the April 24 – 27 timeframe by May 3rd at 11:59pm and they’ll automatically be counted. If you observe any species of wildlife throughout Boulder County, remember to continue adding to the Boulder County Wildlife Project, too!

We have some awesome prizes available to participants this year, ranging from REI’s Flash 18 Print Backpacks, nature photography coffee table books, trail guides, and more. Make sure you set aside some time to get outside! And bring a friend or family member along, will ya?!

For more information about the Denver-Boulder CNC and to learn about events in the area, check out this page and follow us on Facebook. Questions? Contact Melanie Hill at the WILD Foundation, melanie@wild.org.

Publicado em 27 de fevereiro de 2020, 07:56 TARDE por melanie_hill melanie_hill | 2 comments | Deixar um comentário

05 de fevereiro de 2020

Ducks on the Move

When spring springs, thousands of water birds leave their southern homes for the breeding grounds of the north. Many stop over in Boulder County on our ponds, creeks and reservoirs. Although most of these birds are just taking a break from their long journey before continuing northwards, some will stay in the area to breed.

Late February and March are great times to go duck watching. Sawhill and Walden Ponds, Baseline and Lagerman Reservoirs, or the ponds at Pella Crossing offer some of our best spring birdwatching.

Cinnamon Teal - duck takes flight

 

Expect to find gadwalls and wigeons, mallards and several kinds of teal, northern shovelers, and maybe a pintail or a wood duck! You may see these ducks in shallow water, tipping their bottoms up into the air while their feet kick furiously. This behavior, called dabbling, lets the ducks pick food off the shallow bottom of the pond.

Photo: A Cinnamon Teal takes flight. Photo by DP Lawrence, visit his profile here: 
https://www.inaturalist.org/people/dplawrance

 

Also watch out for diving ducks, which prefer deeper water: redheads, buffleheads, groups of mergansers and goldeneyes, and elegant canvasbacks. The divers will disappear underwater sometimes for up to a minute as they swim about using their strong feet for propulsion. Just when you think they have gone, one will pop up suddenly like a cork. By feeding in deep waters, these ducks avoid competition for food with their dabbling cousins.

Climate change may affect the timing of spring migration. By documenting ducks on the move with iNaturalist, you are helping to build a data set that supports scientists as they track changes to migration patterns over time. We look forward to seeing your observations!

Publicado em 05 de fevereiro de 2020, 08:17 TARDE por dsutherland dsutherland | 1 comment | Deixar um comentário

02 de outubro de 2019

If it's fall, it must be Elk

There is nothing quite like the eerie bugle of a bull elk in the fall. Fall is also the best time to see them. It is the breeding season—the rut—and elk can be very much on display without much concern for humans or whatever else is going on around them. Cows, calves, and bulls are all out and about as the bulls compete for the cows, and build and defend harems. Mature bull elk will “spar” with like-sized and antlered elk to determine dominance. Smaller bulls will do the same for practice, as they will have no access to the females.

Fall colors abound as well: the yellows, greens, and oranges of aspen; the blood red sumac, Virginia creeper, and poison ivy; the shiny golden hairs of the curling mountain mahogany seeds; yellows and greens of riparian willows and cottonwoods; the fading gold of grassy fields; and the occasional patch of snow from an early storm.

Boulder County Parks & Open Space properties where you can see (and hear) elk include: Heil Valley Ranch, Hall Ranch, Ron Stewart Preserve at Rabbit Mountain, Mud Lake & Caribou Ranch, and Walker Ranch. Best times for bugling are the cooler mornings and late afternoons, or any overcast/rainy day in late September/early October. Stay safe: on-trail and on-leash. Elk might not be the only thing you see out there that is big and scary. Bears are in their eat-everything-around-the-clock mode and those higher elevation properties have moose as well. Your cameras will have a field day no matter what you see! Post your best here on the Boulder County Wildlife Project on iNaturalist.

Publicado em 02 de outubro de 2019, 03:52 TARDE por biologistdave3 biologistdave3 | 0 comments | Deixar um comentário

13 de agosto de 2019

Watch for Butterflies!

Butterfly populations peak in July and August across Boulder County. On just about any hike you'll notice many different species, since the Front Range has some of the highest butterfly diversity in the United States! Butterflies are most active on warm days in ​the late morning and afternoon.

Photo - Western TIger Swallowtail

They often congregate in flower-filled meadows and in low-lying muddy areas where small streams cross trails. Another great place to see butterflies is at the top of mountains, where they congregate to find mates. On a hot afternoon, the summit of Green Mountain swarms with butterflies! Butterflies feed on nectar which they gather from flowers with their long, hollow tongue or proboscis. They keep the tongue rolled up in a tight coil while flying. When a butterfly alights on a flower to feed, special muscles at the base of the proboscis force high pressure fluid into the tongue, causing it to elongate. The butterfly can then probe the depths of a flower in search of nectar, much like a kid slurping the dregs of a soda bottle with a long straw.

Photo - Monarch butterfly
​Look for the famous orange and black monarch butterflies, which will be migrating through the Front Range. Monarchs feed on plants in the milkweed family - the larvae eat the leaves, and the adults seek nectar from the flowers (see photo). Although they don't frequently breed in the Boulder area, stay on the lookout for the distinctive yellow, black and white striped caterpillars, or the jewel-like green chrysalises dangling from the leaf of a milkweed. If you want to help monarch populations, grow milkweed plants in your own garden! 

Publicado em 13 de agosto de 2019, 09:08 TARDE por dsutherland dsutherland | 0 comments | Deixar um comentário

19 de julho de 2019

Praying Mantises on the Loose!

Boulder County’s historic Walker Ranch homestead was the site of this year’s historic preservation Youth Corps team project. Every year Youth Corps members work on numerous county projects that help staff complete the busy summer work load. On June 26, a team leader found a small brown/tan cocoon object attached to the bottom of an old piece of barn wood that was going to be thrown out. It was identified by another member as a praying mantis egg case.

Not wanting to damage the case, and crossing their fingers for a cool educational moment, the egg case was gently set aside to keep it out of the work area and risk being damaged. Minutes after it was set down in the shade, it started to wiggle to life.

Nearly all at once 60 to 80 mantises emerged from the case and headed off in all directions. Photos were taken by iNaturalist photographer Mike Lohr and submitted to the Boulder County Wildlife project on iNaturalist for all to see!

Publicado em 19 de julho de 2019, 08:52 TARDE por dhprice dhprice | 0 comments | Deixar um comentário

25 de março de 2019

Get ready for the Boulder-Denver City Nature Challenge April 26 - May 5!

From April 26 – May 5, 2019, Boulder County and the Denver Metro Area are teaming up to compete in this year’s City Nature Challenge (CNC)! Last year, Boulder competed independently and came up with a whopping 3,478 total observations, 784 identified plant and wildlife species, and had 107 observers. This year, Boulder County and the Denver Metro Area are joining forces to show the world just how biodiverse our region is, and we need YOU to help!

There is nature all around us, even in our cities. Knowing what species are here and where they are helps us study and protect them, but the ONLY way to effectively do that is by working together (scientists, land managers, community members, you name it) to find and document nature in our area. By participating in the CNC, not only do you learn more about local nature, but you can also make our urban areas a better place – for you and our wild neighbors!

The competition will take place in two phases: the first four days, April 26 – 29, are the bioblitz. We need you all to get out and document as many plant and wildlife observations via iNaturalist as possible. During the last six days, April 30 – May 5, participants can upload their observations taken during the bioblitz, and help identify and verify observations. The Boulder-Denver Metropolitan Area City Nature Challenge encompasses Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, Elbert, Gilpin, Jefferson, and Park Counties.

To receive updates, join the iNaturalist project. Since the project is set up as a bioblitz, all you need to do is upload your observations taken during the April 26 – 29 timeframe by May 5th at 11:59pm and they’ll automatically be counted. If you observe any species of wildlife throughout Boulder County, remember to continue adding to the Boulder County Wildlife Project, too!

We have some awesome prizes available to participants this year, ranging from REI’s Flash 18 Print Backpacks, Lily’s Sweets chocolate bars, Earthhero’s Zero Waste gift boxes, nature photography coffee table books, and more. Make sure you set aside some time to get outside!

For more information about the Boulder-Denver CNC and to learn about events in the area, check out this page and follow us on Facebook. Questions? Contact Melanie Hill at the WILD Foundation, melanie@wild.org.

Publicado em 25 de março de 2019, 08:14 TARDE por melanie_hill melanie_hill | 1 comment | Deixar um comentário

05 de março de 2019

Tell-tale Tracks!

During winter's long nights, our nocturnal residents are harder than ever to spot. But they leave tell-tale footprints behind in the mud and snow! This month, keep your eyes open for the subtle signs of your strangers in the night, and post them on our iNaturalist project! Even if you can't identify the tracks yourself, someone in the iNaturalist community will be able to help. Consider adding something to your photo for scale - your hand, a coin, a pen - and describe the habitat where you found the track. The morning after a fresh snow fall is the best time to go for a hike, since the tracks are fresh and clean. You will be amazed to see how much activity has occurred!

Publicado em 05 de março de 2019, 07:47 TARDE por dsutherland dsutherland | 2 comments | Deixar um comentário

12 de fevereiro de 2019

Winter Waterfowl Count!

Each year, around the state, a bunch of folks get up at 0-dark-early, bundle up, and go visit frozen lakes and ponds. They are participating in the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) annual Midwinter Waterfowl Count. The count provides a yearly pulse check on the state’s waterfowl. Ducks, geese, swans, coots, cranes, herons, whatever! This year an interesting surprise popped up—the sighting of a rare Brant goose (blown in from the west coast).

Can you spot the Brant? Photo © willem9

Found it! Photo © dplawrance

Everyone goes out the same morning at dawn spread out throughout their local area. The early time catches birds before they jet off to feed in the agricultural fields. The same time of day means no double-counting from adjacent water bodies. The same time of year provides a running index through time. The blanket coverage of the same spots each year highlights which areas are important. And the consistent effort adds credence to each year’s count.

This year in Boulder County, Parks & Open Space staff, CPW staff, Open Space and Mountain Parks staff, and volunteers covered many lakes and reservoirs throughout the county: Stearn’s Lake (at Carolyn Holmberg Preserve at Rock Creek Farm), Lagerman Reservoir (at Lagerman Agricultural Preserve), Walden and Sawhill Ponds, Clover Basin Reservoir, Dodd Lake, Wittemyer Ponds, Fairgrounds Lake and Cattail Pond in Longmont, Boulder Valley Farm, Boulder Creek, Boulder Reservoir and Sixmile Reservoir, Highland Reservoir, McIntosh Lake, McCall Lake, Terry Lake, Ish Reservoir, Valmont Reservoir, Waneka Lake…

Open water is the key! It provides the protection from four-legged predators that these birds need. This year, one of those sites was Stearn’s Lake. The morning count was 4400 Canada geese, some ducks, some assorted white geese (Snow geese/Ross geese), and the Brant. That Brant showed up in iNaturalist! You never know how iNaturalist will help you and others discover something new!

  • Dave Hoerath, Wildlife Biologist for Boulder County Parks & Open Space

Publicado em 12 de fevereiro de 2019, 09:57 TARDE por dsutherland dsutherland | 0 comments | Deixar um comentário

29 de novembro de 2018

Look for Bald Eagles in Winter!

Young Adult Bald Eagle

Juvenile Bald Eagle

Winter is a great time to look for bald eagles. Back in 2001, most eagles in Boulder County migrated here from Canada and other places north. Now, in 2018, we have 11 pairs with territories in Boulder County, so there are fewer migrants and more residents. All but one of these pairs nest on either city/county open space or conservation easements. The fish, prairie dogs, small mammals, and waterfowl on open space are important to all.

These photos taken by iNaturalist user dplawrance demonstrate how bald eagles don’t get white head feathers until they mature at 3-5 years. Their bills also change color from dark to yellow. Both males and females have white head feathers, and females are larger than males. To learn more about bald eagles and to see eagle nest cams in other parts of the country, visit the American Eagle Foundation.

Publicado em 29 de novembro de 2018, 05:05 TARDE por dhprice dhprice | 0 comments | Deixar um comentário