Science Geek Blog

Sleeping Bees

While I was out rummaging in the garden several mornings ago, I made a surprising discovery: I found a bee asleep in one of my hollyhock blossoms. You’ll have to take my word for it, I suppose. But you can kinda tell by the way she is deep inside the flower, and yet not gatheringContinue reading “Sleeping Bees”

Baby Bunny Gets Nailed

Yesterday evening, I heard a hawk screaming in our front yard. When I went out to see what was going on, I saw it “mantling” over something it had caught. When I looked closer, I realized it was a baby cottontail rabbit. We have been overrun by cottontails this year. I’ve heard that it isContinue reading “Baby Bunny Gets Nailed”

Less air = bluer skies

We all live in a thick layer of air called the atmosphere. On average it is about fifty miles thick. But as you go up, the atmosphere gets noticeably thinner. At the top of Mount Evans (14,130 feet or 4306.8 meters), there is 1/3 less air than at sea level. That means less air betweenContinue reading “Less air = bluer skies”

A Flicker and Two Hawks

My husband and I walk the dogs every morning, three quarters of a mile up the hill, then loop around and come back. It’s kept the covid pounds off, mostly. It also provides the occasional benefit of letting us seeing some wildlife. As we started up the hill earlier this week, I saw a funnyContinue reading “A Flicker and Two Hawks”

Cold Ducks

In the last three months, we’ve had 8″ of moisture. That’s an incredible amount of water for a region that normally sees 14-16″ for the entire year. It has been a cold, wet, gloomy spring. This morning, the dogs went berserk at something in the backyard. When we looked out, we saw a male andContinue reading “Cold Ducks”

Snowmageddon

The Front Range got our long anticipated (some might say dreaded) monster snowstorm over the weekend. Totals for snowfall were in the 22-27″ range where I live on the west side of Denver. While we were all digging out, our furry friends were having problems of their own. Don’tcha just hate it when you getContinue reading “Snowmageddon”

Female Red-tailed Hawk

We’ve had a huge red-tailed hawk hanging around the neighborhood this week. I assume it is a female, because female raptors are bigger than males. And she was big. And I knew she was a red-tailed hawk (Red-Tailed Hawk), even without seeing her tail, because 1) she was big, 2) she had a stocky bodyContinue reading “Female Red-tailed Hawk”

Birds Before the Storm

This has been such a weird year. Earlier this week, we saw a female broad-tailed hummingbird feeding on the last of a neighbor’s Rose-of-Sharon flowers. Then we had three more forest fires start in the mountains to the west. It’s October! It is time to cool off. But this morning we woke to cold temperaturesContinue reading “Birds Before the Storm”

I Voted!

I voted yesterday. It was safe, easy, secure. And oh so important to our democracy. I voted yesterday. If you haven’t yet, you should vote today.

Pika Patrol, Part II

In late August, my husband and I went up into the mountains of the Front Range to monitor pika as volunteers for the Front Range Pika Project in conjunction with the Denver Zoo. At that time, we were shocked at how dry the high country was. Last week, we went on Pika Patrol for aContinue reading “Pika Patrol, Part II”

Snow in September

Colorado went from 93o on Monday September 7 to 32o Tuesday September 8, 2020 — a change of sixty-one degrees in 24 hours. Prior to that, On September 6, Denver reached 101o making it our latest 100o day. That gave us a 48 hour change of 68o. This weather whiplash was a result of theContinue reading “Snow in September”

2020 Pika Patrol

Over the weekend, my husband and I went up to the mountains for the first time this summer. We’ve been trying to isolate ourselves, and the mountain trails have been busy with people trying to get out of their houses while being safe. We headed up to do our annual Pika Patrol for the DenverContinue reading “2020 Pika Patrol”

Forest Fire Smoke

My husband and I love to sleep with the windows open in the summer time. We enjoy the night sounds, and the cool breeze coming in. Not last night. Last night, we had to close the windows due to really irritating smoke, either from somebody’s barbecue, or a forest fire. This morning, I went outContinue reading “Forest Fire Smoke”

Butterflies

Usually, butterflies are hard to photograph. They are wary creatures, and when you turn the big eye of your camera at them, they take off, flying erratically away. But this week, I’ve been lucky to get some photos of butterflies I’ve never shot before — in some cases, I’ve never heard of before. Case inContinue reading “Butterflies”

Monarch Caterpillers!

For years, my husband and I have nurtured milkweed in the lost corners of our yard. “Remember the Monarchs!” we chant, as we carefully work around the tall milk-sap plants. While Monarch butterflies eat nectar from a bunch of different plants, the caterpillars eat only milkweed as they grow. The milky sap of Milkweeds isContinue reading “Monarch Caterpillers!”

Hummer in Blue Spruce Tree

After an intense fast moving rainstorm yesterday, I happened to look out my front window to see something I’d never before seen — a female broad-tailed hummingbird zipping among the branches of our blue spruce. Although she stopped at the end of new spruce buds momentarily, she never stayed in any one place for veryContinue reading “Hummer in Blue Spruce Tree”

New Friends

We’ve had some new friends in the yard this week! A charming flock of chipping sparrows stopped by! I don’t remember seeing them before, but I suspect that is merely a reflection on my lack of recognition. Their name comes from the “chip! chip!” sound they make, which is the entirety of their song. ImagineContinue reading “New Friends”

Earth Day

Corona Virus has brought illness, death, and economic devastation. Too bad that’s what it takes to show us what clean air looks like. Maybe we can take this horrible disease and use it as a pivot point to treat the Earth a little nicer. Nature seems to respond positively when we do.

Nuthatches

We’ve had lots of charming visitors to our birdfeeders over the winter, including both red-breasted and white-breasted nuthatches. This is a male red-breasted nuthatch. As with just about every bird species, the males are more distinct in their plumage. Actually in nuthatches, the difference is not so dramatic — his head is capped with blackContinue reading “Nuthatches”

Dog Hugs

Did you know dogs can hug? I don’t mean when they jump up an put their forelegs on you — but emotionally? It doesn’t look like what you’d expect. A dog gives you a hug when they squint their eyes at you, with their mouths open and relaxed. And it doesn’t last long — justContinue reading “Dog Hugs”

Thanksgiving Bushtits

As we were cooking Thanksgiving dinner this noon, my husband happened to look out our kitchen window at the bird feeders in our back yard. “We have bushtits!” These gregarious little birds move around the neighborhood in a small flock. You know they are passing by their flitting flight, and their cheeping “contact” calls. BushtitsContinue reading “Thanksgiving Bushtits”