Spring Wildlife and Fire Update

Just wanted to get this quick Spring Wildlife and Fire Update blog post out. The fire updates coming from the news media are pretty sparse, so it’s hard to tell what’s going on with our public lands and our wildlife. I had heard that both the Fossil Beds and the Canyon were in danger so I decided to go check it out myself.

Some Pretty Good News

I was expecting the worst. I feared I was driving into a hellscape of flames and smoke engulfing our beloved wilderness, but the closer I got the better I felt. As I cruised down Highway 24 into Florissant, I began to feel a bit better. I didn’t see any smoke as I looked out toward the Fossil Beds and down Teller 1.  And better yet, as I cruised into Lake George I still didn’t see any smoke.

I was expecting to see the police blocking the entrance to the canyon, but once again all looked good. The Canyon was open as of yesterday afternoon and the wildlife are blissfully unaware that there is a fire nearby.                                                           

Spring Wildlife

Spring wildlife and fire update

The Lake George lake is still frozen so I looked to the left at the marsh, just in time to spot a couple of great blue heron flying in. Hopefully by the time I get there tomorrow there will be a few more!

The mama eagle was at her favorite perch overlooking the nest so we know that the cycle of eagle life is continuing it’s steady march to eaglets there!

I didn’t expect to see any eagles along the river since it was late in the afternoon, but much to my surprise I came across what I believe to be papa eagle perched in one of his favorite trees šŸ™‚ I waited a few minutes for him to fly, but he was struggling to maintain his perch in the wind so after a few captures I decided to let him be.

The Osprey Migration

Osprey in Eleven Mile Canyon

Actually I was mostĀ  eager to see an osprey, they should haveĀ  begun their epic flight about 45 days ago so I’ve been eagerly awaiting them. Our pair usually return right about the first of April so I hope their pattern is repeated this season and there are soon osprey chicks being hatched somewhere in the canyon! I drove all the way to the end without seeing any other raptors or blue heron so I turned around for the return trip.

Finally, just as I was about to exit the canyon I saw a large bird flapping his wings above the canyon walls. My 10x binoculars confirmed, at least one of our pair has returned! I was not able to get a picture, but this is one of my favorites from last season!

Fire Update

The most recent report I’ve seen on the fire fight was from this morning. They had a good night and the fire was 25% contained. It was cool and the winds were not as fierce today so I hope they were able to get air assets in to assist the firefighters on the ground. So far they have been able to keep it from spreading into the houses and the public park lands, including the canyon. Tuesday we have a cold front and snow moving in so hopefully we will soon see the fire completely extinguished.

I finally spotted the smoke on the drive back to Cripple Creek and it didn’t look as terrifying as some I’ve seen around here. In person it also looked to be a pretty good distance from our parks and the big subdivisions along Teller 1.

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