Science Geek Blog

Moving Website Locations

To everyone who has enjoyed reading Colorado In Depth and At Altitude, I am moving it from a stand-alone blog into a blog as part of a new website AmyLawSciGeek.com. When I started Colorado In Depth and At Altitude , it was supposed to be exclusively a nature blog about Colorado. But over the years, … Continue reading

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 gathering … Continue reading

Owl Wing Feather Adaptations

It turns out that cottontail bunnies have more to worry about in the neighborhood than just hawks and coyotes. As my husband and I were walking the dogs this morning, we found a Great Horned Owl wing feather lying next to the sidewalk. This stealthy hunter takes birds, skunks, mice — and rabbits. And owls … Continue reading

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 is … Continue reading

National Nature Photography Day

Today is National Nature Photography Day! In honor of nature photography, I decided to go through my catalogue, and pull out a few of my best photos that I never had occasion to share with you before. Enjoy! My brother enjoys nature photography as well. But he loves taking photographs of big trees. So when … Continue reading

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 between … Continue reading

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 funny … Continue reading

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 and … Continue reading

A Few Critters in Yuma, AZ

My husband and I took a quick trip to Yuma, Arizona last week. We left in a spring snowstorm that dropped three inches of wet snow on the Front Range area. We arrived in Yuma to 90 degree days. We were lucky to go down in the spring, when the ocotilla were in bloom. We … Continue reading

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 get … Continue reading

Dark-Eyed Juncos — Evolution in Action

Once I had a fancy camera that held bird images still so that I could figure out what I was looking at, I began to learn a lot more about LBJs — Little Brown Jobbies — little birds that are around us but we really don’t pay much attention to. And one of the first … Continue reading

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 body … Continue reading

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 temperatures … Continue reading

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 a … Continue reading

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 the … Continue reading

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 Denver … Continue reading

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 out … Continue reading

Nesting Lesser Goldfinches

We have just about every type of bird feeder in our backyard — tube feeders, sock feeders, platform feeders, house feeders, hummer feeders. The one that the birds don’t really pay much attention to are the suet feeders. I have spent a lot of time trying to get them interested, but no luck. So I … Continue reading

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 in … Continue reading

Spider catching a wasp for a meal

I went for a hike today — perhaps not the best choice, because a lot of people have the day off due to corona virus, and a lot of people have the day off due to Independence Day tomorrow. By the time I arrived at the trail head at 7:45, the parking lot was full. … Continue reading

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 is … Continue reading

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 very … Continue reading

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. Imagine … Continue reading

Nectar Eaters on a Cool Spring Day

It’s a cool May day, and that has made animals cold and hungry. My husband and I found a white-lined sphinx moth on the sidewalk as we were out walking the dogs this morning, slowly beating its wings as it tried to warm up. Once he gets airborne, he’ll be looking for nectar. And we … Continue reading

Hawk Conflict

My husband and I were working the backyard this morning, cleaning up the garden after a long, hard winter. The hacking, digging and trimming were beginning to pay off when both of us heard the unmistakable “Kreeee!” of a red-tailed hawk. We’ve had a red-tailed hanging around the neighborhood for the last few winters https://amylaw.blog/2018/12/13/red-tailed-hawk/, … Continue reading

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 black … Continue reading

Chickadees checking out a home.

I went out to the garden yesterday to see when I could start taking my frustrations out on it planting my spring vegetables in it. As I walked up to the garden, though, I saw movement in one of the trees on the edge of it. This little gourd birdhouse blew out of the tree … Continue reading

Spring is Coming — Promise

It has been a long cold hard winter along the Front Range of Colorado. We have gotten enough snow in February to wipe out the incipient drought we were headed into, which is a good thing. But it came at the cost of a snowstorm every couple of days. That was hard. We’re not out … Continue reading

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. Bushtits … Continue reading