Autumn in Yellowstone Park

Autumn in Yellowstone Park
triple rainbow

Welcome to my house of sky

The sky is my roof in my favorite house--out and about in Nature--sun, snow, rain, warm days and cold. Everything about what is going on around me in fields and mountains and beside creeks is fascinating.

Here in my blog I will be sharing tidbits of what I am seeing - in my yard and on trips up trails and over into nearby Yellowstone National Park.

I hope you enjoy exploring with me.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The musical buzz of a Green-tailed Towhee darted out from limber pines along the Drinking Horse
Trail this morning. On an unusually cool day for late July, I was enjoying the fresh breeze and late
summer flowers when I heard him. I hung out in the shade for 5 minutes or so while I watched him in his
plumage that reflected the coloring of his surroundings--olive green and gray with a russet cap--while
he hopped among shining green needles and then up to the top of the ropey, bare silver branches
of an old veteran limber pine. Puffy clouds floated by above us across a cornflower blue sky.

This is the first summer I have ever seen one, let alone the 3 or 4 on Drinking Horse Mountain and it added to the pleasure of a hiking/birding excursion that began with a Lazuli Bunting singing from a power line
as I parked my car in the parking lot.

I had taken this particular hike to check on the noxious weed situation since the herd of 400 or so goats
had been through chomping on leafy spurge and other invasive species a few weeks earlier. I also
wished to know what wild flowers might be left. I was not disappointed! Yarrow, flax, harebells, bergamot,
sticky geranium, scarlet gaura, blanket flowers and fleabane decorated hillsides and edges of the path.
The goats will return for a second go around later this season to feast on more weeds or the ones that
are beginning to grow back.

From my view on the  hillside of the valley, everything looked as though ripening into summer--beginning to head out, some hay fields still showing windrows, some in bales scattered across the hills.

Other birds I  noted this morning were: Black-capped Chickadee, Tree Swallow, Gray Catbird,
Western Wood Peewee, Dusky Flycatcher, Yellow Warbler.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Hike to "Frog" Rock
Middle Cottonwood Creek Trail
85 degrees F. and clear with light breeze

I hopped over Middle Cottonwood Creek twice - once keeping my feet dry and the second time stepping into a pool of cold,  clear mountain water, deep enough to seep into my boots. Just enough water to
dampen my wool socks. Once on my favorite meditating spot--a granitic bedrock slab of gneiss--I removed my boots and rolled of my socks. I love the feel of polished stream bed gneiss under my bare feet.

No sooner had I placed my damp socks in the sun than two iridescent pale blue butterflies landed
on them and began sipping sweat and stream moisture from the wool fibers. Meanwhile, butterflies
in black, yellow and speckles flew across the rushing snow melt as it raced toward the far away sea,
weaving patterns with dragon flies and reflections off the water on boulders and lush foliage.

The undersides of wild maples, dogwoods, grasses and wildflowers shimmered in the reflected light,
while I sipped the sound of tumbling creek and a pair of American Dippers flew up stream. Above
me Swainson's Thrushes and Warbling Vireos filled conifers with song.  A flock of pale yellow butterflies
gathered beside the stream, reminding me of their gathering a year ago on the day my mother passed
on. My daughter and I had been hiking when the call came "your Mother passed." My mother had
always said that when she passed on she wished to come back as a butterfly so she could give
everyone butterfly kisses. Has she kissed me since she left?

Just as I was about to gather up my sock fountain for butterflies, one of the Dippers flew right
by me on a downstream trip and did his little dance for a moment before diving into the rushing
water for an insect morsel.

On my way back down the path toward the trail head, a hummingbird hovered along in the bushes
beside me!

The birds I saw or heard today were: Hummingbird (perhaps Calliope), Swainson's Thrush,  Warbling Vireo, Dark-eyed Junco, Ruby-Crowned Kinglet and  American Dipper.