Monday, July 18, 2016

What a Difference!!

With wildflowers in full swing here at Leadville National Fish Hatchery, we are seeing more butterflies.

At first glance the Ruddy Copper seems plain. White wings with a few black spots.
Ruddy Copper
But as the wings start to open, there is a splash of color.
Ruddy Copper
And if you catch one sunning itself with open wings, you'll think that you are seeing a completely different bug!
Ruddy Copper
We're keeping our eyes open for more colorful butterfiles. Stay tuned.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Hummingbird Trifecta

A few days ago I posted about all of the Broad-tailed and Rufous Hummingbirds that we were feeding. I ended the post by saying we hoped that a Calliope Hummingbird would show up to round out the group.

Well look what we saw at the feeder on Wednesday morning.
Calliope Hummingbird on right
Early in the morning we saw Broad-tailed, Rufous and Calliope Hummingbirds all on the feeders at the same time. But it wasn't long before they were sparring with each other. 
Rufous and Calliope Males
With more competition at the feeders, a couple of Rufous males decided to be a bit more cooperative with each other.
Cooperative Rufous Males
We don't expect any more species of hummingbirds at this location, but we'll be keeping a watch for other new arrivals. 


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Leadville 4th of July

We enjoyed our Fourth of July here in Leadville, Colorado. First of all, we awoke to 34 degrees and frost on the truck!! How's that for the middle of summer?

Since most of the staff had the day off Teri and I fed the crickets and cockroaches first thing, and then walked up to the Evergreen Lakes behind our campsite. It was such a pretty morning.
Evergreen Lake #3
There is still snow up on Mount Massive, but it is melting fast.
Mount Massive
Most of the Dandelions have gone to seed. Teri found this perfect seed head.
Dandelion Head
Leadville had a 5K run and a street parade in the morning, and then a free lunch and car/airplane show up at the airport. We headed up there around 11:00 for the festivities. The Leadville Airport has the distinction of being the highest elevation airport in the North America.

The first thing we saw was this giant snowplow. You've got to keep the runway clear of snow more than half of the year up here.

We had hamburgers and hot dogs while we listened to this local four-piece band sing some classic rock hits. They weren't bad!
The Band
With lunch finished we headed out onto the tarmac. A few planes had flown in for the holiday, including this amphibious home-built plane. Very exotic looking!
Home-built Seaplane
This Maule bush plane is made especially for short take offs and landings on rough ground. Look at those tires!
Maule STOL
We saw this Mooney come in for a landing. They are manufactured in Kerrville, Texas just a few miles from our little park model home. We talked to the owner and it seems that landing in Leadville is a bucket list item for private pilots since it is the highest elevation airport in the US.
The car show was small, but I got to see this 1968 Pontiac GTO, which is the same model as the first car I ever owned. Mine wasn't as nice as this one.
Pontiac GTO
Our final stop was at the Fire Department tent where they were giving out root beer floats. A tasty way to end our visit.
Root Beer Float
We hope that you all had a happy Fourth of July as well!

Mark & Teri

Sunday, July 3, 2016

We're Going to Need More Sugar!!

We put up a hummingbird feeder in the first few days of our stay here at Leadville National Fish Hatchery, and immediately started attracting Broad-tailed Hummingbirds.
Broad-tailed Hummingbird
As time went by we put up a second feeder, but that one got "taken over" by a single aggressive male, so we put up a third.
Mr. Rufous Hummingbird 
About the time we put up the third feeder a few Rufous Hummingbirds arrived, and one of them sort of took over that feeder. He isn't as aggressive as some, and does share his feeder occasionally.

But the original feeder seems to be the community feeder, and gets most of the attention.
So, how's it going??
Sometimes it gets a little too much attention! There are only six holes on this feeder, and we've seen as many as nine hummingbirds trying to use it at the same time.
Nine Hummingbirds
We're putting out about a quart of sugar water each day, and sometimes more. The hummers don't even wait until the feeder is hung up before they start feeding.
Why wait?
We're enjoying our hummingbirds, and hope that a Calliope Hummingbird or two shows up eventually to round out the group.