Paint Mines Interpretive Park, Colorado.

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!!

Rocky Montain Arsenal NWR.

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.

Mount Goliath Sub-alpine Gardens and St. Mary’s Glacier, Colorado.

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!

Mt. Evans, Colorado.

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.

Bighorn Sheep…

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.

The view from the top…

Marmots and Elk too…

Colorado, Hanging Lake & Sprouting Rock.

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…

Ground Squirrel…

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….




Tree Kangaroos Field Guide.

I was commissioned to do Kangaroo and Tree Kangaroo Field Guide paintings. I posted the Kangaroo guide last week, and happy to say I have now finished the Tree Kangaroos.

It was very difficult to find information or pictures on some of them- some species have been discovered fairly recently, or are threatened by very low numbers and living in remote parts of Australia, Papua New Guinea, and islands. I learned a lot but there is much left to learn. This is as accurate as I could make it from my research, but probably not 100%!

St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park.

St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park. It’s a tourist attraction for alligators, with a large bird rookery where the wild birds naturally nest. I have wanted to visit for years and finally made it! My first time out there and definitely not my last. I was particularly excited to see Roseate Spoonbill’s and Wood Stork’s nesting as I had yet to get a good look at their nesting sites elsewhere. There are a number of other birds nesting there as well, especially Tri-colored Heron’s and Snowy Egret’s.

Washington Oaks Beach.

I discovered Washington Oaks Beach back in February and was amazed by it. Especially because I never knew about it before then even though I’ve driven that part of A1A multiple times.

I was anxious to back and explore more. I went a few weeks ago at high tide, the day after Tropical Storm Colin. It was a cloudy morning and the waves were rough. I love beach days like that. With high tide the waves were up to the rocks and crashing against them.

Now with high tide there were no tidal pools to explore and I couldn’t stop thinking about going back so I went the following week at LOW tide. Now a stretch of beach before the rocks even start. Sadly no anemones out today, but lots of barnacles, sea plants, beautiful fish in the little pools, and isopods. What a cool place.

Kangaroos Field Guide.

I was commissioned to do Field Guide paintings for Kangaroos and Tree Kangaroos.

Here are the finished Kangaroos!

Prints will be coming. Right now I’m trying to get the Tree Kangaroos completed. They are a lot harder, elusive creatures with little info available for some- but also incredibly cute! I have 8 out of 12 done, so back to work…!