Sunday, February 26, 2012

FCNC 2/26/12

My first Brown Creeper - these guys hide well!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Belle Duran

A week ago Tuesday, my mom went out to lunch with her friend Belle Duran, who was happy and spunky as ever.  Belle served as substitute mom for mother in some ways over the years.  My mom was in her twenties when she lost first her dad and then her mother.  Belle was about the same as age as my grandma and they lived as neighbors for many years.  She grew up knowing Belle and her two boys as neighborhood friends.

I went with my mom to Belle's 90th surprise birthday party a few years ago and Belle had a great time dancing.  She enjoyed life.  The day after meeting my mom Belle was feeling under the weather and found to have pneumonia.  She passed at away at age 94 on Wednesday, February 22nd.  I only met her a few times but I loved her and I know my mom did, too.  She was sweet, loving and full of life in all her years.  She will be missed.

Isabelle T. Duran 

  |   Visit Guest Book (from Gazette)

Our beloved and honored mother passed into the arms of the Lord on February 22, 2012, taking a piece of our hearts with her. Isabelle was born June 14, 1917 in Florence, Colorado. She was the first born into the union of Mike and Rae (Lopez) Tafoya, with eight brothers and sisters to follow her birth. Living her entire life in Colorado Springs, she met and married Frederick A. Duran Sr. on November 23, 1940. This union produced four boys. The Lord claimed the soul of her loved husband on May 23, 1957, where upon she resolved and succeeded in raising her four sons on her own. No easy task now or then. Late in life, Isabelle took it upon herself to care for her aging mother and father until they both passed away. She also cared for the needs of her eldest son, Frederick Jr., until his death in 2001. Isabelle's inner strength, warmth and beauty were evident to all she met, as is obvious by the countless number of individuals she calls friends. Sadness will be felt with her passing. Isabelle's passion for family, friends, dancing, music and the Broncos were paramount in her lifestyle. She made life worth living. Tiny of stature, magnificent in spirit, she was a well of love. Her engaging laugh rides on the wind; her permanent smile outshines the sun. We all felt better just being in her presence. The world is a better place because she graced the hills and valleys of each day. We are blessed to have known her. She was preceded in death by her husband, Frederick Sr., parents, Mike and Rae Tafoya, and her loving son, Frederick, Jr. Isabelle is survived by three loving sons, Robert (Marcie), Donald and Richard Duran, and lone grandson, Richard. A Celebration of her life will begin at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 1, 2012 at the Shrine of Remembrance “America the Beautiful” Chapel. It will continue at 5:00 p.m. at Elks Lodge BPOE #309, 3400 North Nevada Avenue, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80907. Cremation is planned and she will be interred at Evergreen Cemetery. Memorials in her name may be made to the Catholic Charities of Colorado Springs, 228 North Cascade Avenue, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903. Online condolences:

FCNC 2/25/12

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Horned Lark at Big Johnson Reservoir 2/19/12

There were hundreds of these.  I've never seen one before, I think.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Waterfowl ID Fieldtrip via FCNC 2/11/2012

It hasn't made it out of the teens today, so it was a very cold field trip but a very nice one this morning with Ken Pals, Gavin Scott and four other people whose names I haven't quite mastered yet (sorry).
Starting at the Nature Center, the Harris Sparrow was present along with, of course, red wing blackbirds, juncos (including a white-sided, oregons, pink-sided and grays), white crown sparrows, song sparrows, eurasian collared doves, flickers, chickadees and house finches.  Also at the ponds right there were a small group of Canada Geese and this great looking heron, hunkered down into the water out several feet from the edge, with a dusting of snow on its back.

We drove in the El Paso County van down to the Willow ponds area parking lot, and headed up from there toward Rice's pond.  In the run-off from the treatment plant we saw another heron and several green-winged teal and I think some mallards, too.  In the creek heading south, we saw some gadwall, more teal and mallard and Canada geese.

In the ponds we saw a great bird for me:  pintails!

Another neat one for me was a killdeer we saw in Fountain Creek.

It seemed so frigid I didn't expect to see one for some reason.  We also saw shovelers, American wigeons, Pie-billed Grebes, coots, Common mergansers and a muskrat.

A possible prairie falcon flew overhead before we got a good look, and of course crows were out and about as well.

As we left the park, a kestrel dove down right onto highway 85/87 in front of a truck and got up just in time - it must've seen something it thought was breakfast.

Next, we went to the Doubletree pond and saw lots of neat birds there including common goldeneyes, canvasbacks, ring-necked ducks, domestic/hybrid geese and ducks, mallards, and more Common Mergansers as well as Hooded Mergansers.   

Ring-necked (but ought to be named ring-billed!):  

At Prospect Lake we didn't see any new waterfowl species, but did see pigeons hanging out on the ice, and a whole bunch of robins, and a Downy Woodpecker.  There were Common mergansers, Canada Geese, coots, some domestic Geese, and American Wigeons, mainly.  The wigeons, coots and Canada Geese were obviously rather tame and came out of the water and sat down in the snowy grass near us when we arrived, clearly hoping for a treat.  The wigeons had this high-pitched squeak almost like a dog's squeaky toy but softer:  and the coots were adorably ungraceful.  They walk kind of like chickens, their heads bobbing, and they seemed to pick up their feet a little too high.

Then we went to Big Johnson Reservoir and saw mergansers, goldeneyes, lesser scaup, and red-heads. Somewhere along the way we also saw red-tail hawks and magpies.  There was a young bald-eagle that gave us quite a show at Big Johnson - it flew right over us - and in our area for awhile.  It had a white head and tail but still a mottled body.  It looked similar to this, but whiter in head and tail, more mottled in body:

Back at the center, I added a Hairy Woodpecker to the list, and arriving home there were some starlings in a nearby tree.  Very cold trip but lots of fun.