Last month I had a craft show in St. Pete and headed to Sand Key Park for a bit of birding and a peaceful walk at the beach to unwind before the long drive home. I also had a beach picnic of take out from Love Food Central, a delicious vegan restaurant in St. Pete. Lots of birds, and so many fledgelings screaming at their parents and being ignored, ha!
I am happy to announce that I redid my old “water birds” painting so it is now the Wading Birds of North America. The previous version of it was specific to Florida, however, the only thing I had to ad to make it North America was a White-faced Ibis, and even those can be seen in Florida from time to time. One of the things I love about Florida is that these beautiful birds can easily be observed regularly.
I also made the favorites from it into magnets that can be found in the shop as well.
And last but definitely not least I have been commissioned to paint some seahorses, and it’s turning out to be my favorite commission of the year! They are fun to paint and a joy to study and learn about. I am only half way through, but I have made magnets out of the first four.
Paint Mines Interpretive Park is way out there down dirt roads (thankfully well-kept) through farm country and a couple cute little towns. As a birder I found the drive to be AWESOME, with opportunities to see raptors, grouse, and an abundance of Western Meadowlarks.
After the drive, it’s kind of amazing when seemingly out of nowhere you come upon the colorful rock formations of the Paint Mines.
The photos don’t do it justice. There’s much to explore and the rocks are towering over you. They are colorful and have different textures. Small flowers are found growing out from the rocks.
Small animals, birds, and insects were plentiful and had me looking closely everywhere.
I was particularly excited about this Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel… and bunny ears:
That concludes my trip to Colorado. On my plane flight home I actually saw the Paint Mines, and the field of windmills. Pretty cool. It was an awesome trip!!
After a couple days of rocky mountains in Colorado, I was all about getting to some flat easy terrain! Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR is near the Denver airport, it is a wildlife drive with walking trails throughout and with lovely grasslands that are known for their Bison and Burrowing Owls.
I really wanted to see the Burrowing Owls, and was thrilled to find a pair posing on some flowers, their burrow below in the grass.
Besides the owls, here are some more photos of this beautiful place near the city.
In addition to my previous post about Mt. Evans, there is a nice stop on Mt. Evans called Mount Goliath Natural Area that offers a walk through sub-alpine gardens and weathered bristlecone pines that are hundreds of years old. Pretty cool.
After Mt. Evans we went to St. Mary’s Glacier, where you can sled, snowboard, or just slide yourself down the glacier. There were many people there sliding down in garbage bags. I tried going down on a “magic carpet” sled and totally lost my sled halfway down- still fun! Then, down in the lake, you could see people were jumping off the high rocks into the water. So much fun to be had surrounded by intensely beautiful views!
Second day of my Colorado trip was up to Mt. Evans, the highest paved road in America. The mountain is 14265′.
Besides an amazing view from the top, there are Mountain Goats and Bighorn Sheep, and lovely alpine plants.
Mountain Goats… with KIDS…
The alpine plants reminds me of the Florida scrub plants that are so tiny and delicate but hardy at the same time, thriving in sand and living through fires, while the alpine plants grow in rocks and put up with cold and snow. I quite love the plants of both ecosystems.
So I went to Denver, Colorado the last week of June and it was OF COURSE SUPER AMAZING. What a beautiful place and a nice change from Florida at this time of year.
The first day we went to Hanging Lake.
It is a rocky 1 mile trek up to the lake. There’s a trail in that pile of rocks above, gotta watch your step!
View from the almost-top…
The Hanging Lake…
Hanging Lake has gorgeous clear water, and then it appears to just hang on the edge of the mountain, or in some spots gently roll over the edge. Very peaceful.
And I got to see an American Dipper flying about, preening, living the good life…
A trail next to Hanging Lake says “Sprouting Rock”, and what you find up there is just as cool as Hanging Lake. After being totally blown away by the beauty of Hanging Lake it’s amazing to see Sprouting Rock and be blown away all over again! Sprouting Rock is a number of waterfalls that you can walk behind, or even easily play in and cool off. (I did not go in it, but others were.)
And on the way down, more animals, birds, and trickling mossy waterfalls….