Nature Friday ~ Friday the 13th Edition

Nature FridayAs is our usual practice on Friday’s, we are joining our furry Pacific Northwest friends, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard for another edition of Nature Friday. Colorful foliage near the Ranch has gone bueno bye after a couple of minor snows storms and windy conditions so I had to dig into our photo archives for some nature scenes for this week’s post.

Because we live near the heart downtown Denver, I generally don’t think of wildlife being a staple around the ‘hood. But every once in a while, nature surprises me and ‘drops by to say “hello.”

Anyone who knows the Denver metro area is familiar with Cherry Creek. A tributary of the South Platte River, it has been an integral part of the area since the city’s founding during the Gold Rush back in the late 1850’s.

Rising in a high plateau east of the Front Range, Cherry Creek flows north through Castlewood Canyon State Park while running through portions of the metro suburbs (Centennial and Aurora), into southeast Denver. It becomes an urban stream joining the South Platte River at Confluence Park just west of downtown and runs for approximately 5 miles (8 km) east of the foothills.

The 140-foot-high (43 m) Cherry Creek Dam, completed in 1950, forms a water source for the metro area providing flood control and irrigation and lies immediately southeast and southwest of the Denver and Aurora city limits, about 8 miles (13 km) from the confluence with the South Platte River.

A long scenic bike path follows the creek from Confluence Park west of downtown all the way through Cherry Creek State Park and south towards Parker and Castlewood Canyon. Wildlife along Cherry Creek includes a number of snakes (garter, western hognose, bullsnakes and occasionally rattlesnake, along with a few Amphibians native to Colorado can be found at as well including, the plains leopard frog, woodhouse’s frog, and the striped chorus frog. American bullfrogs are a non-native species and have contributed to the decimation of native amphibian species populations at the creek.

Other wildlife include raccoons, beaver, foxes, coyotes, and even deer are not uncommon sights along the creek. Petrified wood is quite common in the creek and fossil mammal bones have also been found.

The image below was taken near the Cherry Creek mall with apologies for the poor quality taken from the cell phone at a distance. The water in some areas rushes past during spring runoff and nearly missed seeing this guy.

Heron

So have you seen any wildlife around your neighborhood beyond mooching hoodlum squirrels?

Happy Friday the 13th. We hope today and your weekend are safe with no incidents and that you’re able to enjoy a spot of nature.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

75 thoughts on “Nature Friday ~ Friday the 13th Edition

  1. Happy Friday the 13th weekend, my lucky day 🙂 we have a lot of wildlife in the local area, mostly little creatures like beavers unless you go into the mountains. I have heard there are mountain lions in Oregon mountains, but luckily we have yet to encounter any.

    1. It’s probably just as well that you haven’t encountered any mountain lions. I always feel badly when their natural habitat becomes the latest subdivision. They try to avoid humans but invariable get into trouble which always ends badly for them.

  2. Furry kewl bird Miss Monika…iss that a Crane or Egret or Heron??? Mee not guud recognizin’ big birdiess!
    Wee have Rhoady THE Toady; Krishna Crow; Penelope an Marco Mournin Dovess; Fluffy THE Black Squirrel an ChewyTwo THE Chipmunk. Oh an Pieere La PEE-you THE Skunk…
    An Stripey Girl…oh then there iss Stripey Girl…shee iss THE bane of mee xistence! A grey dark stripey kitty girl who purrtendss to bee feral an homeless to get foodabullss from LadyMew! THE nerve!
    Guess what Miss Monika?? Stirpey Girl has a purrty orange collar an a tag on it…..feral mee furry bum!
    ***purrss*** BellaDharma

    1. We have so few large birds like that I truly am not certain but suspect it probably is an egret of some kind (despite me thinking it as a huron-clearly I know nothing about birds!). Enjoy watching all your critters!

      1. Mew mew mew Miss Monika LadyMew agreess with you that it iss an Egret…shee sayss Egretss have black beekss…
        Mee furgotted to meow to you wee saw a BALD EAGLE not once butt TWICE this Summer here! Hee was furabuluss!

          1. Miss Monika mee sorry you not have Eagless come to you…wee are sorta inn THE North an wee have ALOT of forestss an THE Escarpement an wee get all sortss of biridies: Red-Tailed Hawkss an Perrygrin Falconss an Turkey Vulturess an even Bald Eagless… Wee are called a ‘City’ butt wee are furry small community 😉

            1. I’m sure there are some in the mountains but I don’t get up there too often to see. Just have to content myself with the wildlife closer to the city. 😊

  3. Seeing wildlife here on the farm is not always a happy thing! However, we have seen an adorable bunny hanging around, and we’re waiting to see if he turns white for the winter!
    I also saw a possum the other night, wandering through the yard, that’s the first time I’ve seen one!

  4. That is a snowy egret, I think…black legs and bill.(I enlarged the image.) Great capture!

    We have Great blue herons and other smaller herons around here, lots of creeks and ponds for them to ‘fish’ in. Muskrats, all kinds of ducks and Canada geese, deer, coyotes. Skunks and coons, sometimes I see a red fox.
    We have wild turkeys, they better hide about now, LOL!
    A while back there were black bears on 2 occasions in town, about 8 miles from where we are and there have been reports of lynx and cougars, not confirmed…we have too many groundhogs, rabbits and gophers around here, they can make a wreck of your veggies in the garden! Oddly enough we do not see chipmunks here…but in the zoo on the other side of town they are abundant!
    Years ago we had bobwhites and pheasants, but since the urban sprawl happens here, too, sadly we don’t see them anymore.
    Little green tree frogs attach themselves to our windowpanes in the summer hoping to snag the moths that abound at night.
    Toads, too. And few weeks ago we found a salamander! Unusual for us to see those…the nearby creek has lots of other reptile life, and sometimes we see trout in the bigger river in town.
    Snapping turtles , we have seen very large ones, and a fairly big one was trying to go through our fence to the creek behind our property…oops, We got it in a cart and brought it to the creek…He/she was angry…yikes!
    Lots of painted turtles too…and once we saw a huge one slide into the creek when we spooked it while walking by.
    Snakes?? Yup we have those too…garden, black runner, blue runner and various other ones, large and small…thankfully have never seen a Mattawan Rattler which is the only poisonous snake in Michigan. The blue runner is actually very iridescent and pretty!
    Once I saw a weasel like creature but it startled me and ran into the brush before I had a good look. I think it was more startled than I was! Angel MJF wanted to follow the scent trail…um…no way!

    I have seen snowy owls, all kinds of birds of prey, and my faves are the rare sightings of Redheaded Woodpeckers and the less rare sightings of Pileated Woodpeckers, my but those birds are huge!

    We also have Sandhill Cranes here. They have a fall gathering area nearby, and if they are all there, it sure is NOISY! In the spring I see couples with their youngsters, one or two per family. Where I work, (in town), they often can be seen strutting by, right close to the building, the residents love to see them:)Wow, I wrote an epistle! I love seeing and identifying all the critters and other wild things that I encounter. Thanks for sharing your CherryCreek time with us:)

    1. Epistle away! 😍 Thanks for the identification. When I lived in the San Luis Valley in Southern Colorado, we had lots of Sandhills stop on their annual migration (along with a few whooping cranes-both very majestic) but in the city I’ve never seen many large birds.

      Sometimes wild critters don’t appreciate our altruistic efforts to help them and I suspect turtles are very unforgiving. But good on you for trying to help his ungrateful self. LOL Happy rest of the weekend.

  5. We do have deer, skunks, waterfowl and I imagine more but I’m never lucky enough (I’ll skip the skunk) to see any deer!
    Your photo is lovely! Reminds me that I am due to go to my little park where I can capture a heron once in a while!
    Have a mahvellous weekend!

    1. It just blows my mind when I see wild creatures just a stone’s throw from the city center. Happy weekend!

  6. That is a gorgeous shot…..love the tumbling water and the bird (heron?) poised to grab a passing fish if possible. We see lots of nature here – we have woods and a stream at the bottom of it…..lots of deer, opossums, squirrels, groundhogs, turtles, chipmunks, birds of prey, skunks – we’ve got a lot of critters running amok. Fortunately we rarely see snakes. I am not a fan. Enjoy a beautiful Fall weekend…………..we will I’m sure!

    Hugs, Pam

    1. Thank you. It was a very chance encounter-I’ve never seen a heron here before. I think he was fishing for lunch. 😉

  7. We’re quite lucky where we live as we live in a village on the edge of Dartmoor. And we are surrounded by fields and woods where we get to see Deer, Foxes, Rabbits, Hares, Pheasants, Buzzards the odd Sparrow Hawk and peregrine Falcons on the Moors. Plus we get Hedgehogs in the garden and a whole array of song birds and of course the Sparrows, Wood Pidgeon’s, all the corvids Magpies, rooks, Jackdaws, Crows Which I try not to encourage to much because of the song birds and of course we do have Bird the Jackdaw who came to us and a fledgling in trouble….he acts more like the Pidgeon’s and the Song birds than a Jackdaw now. Doesn’t Bully the other birds and he eats out of my hands won’t be long before he or she starts to jump on to my hand to eat….Bird likes me lol, xx Rachel and Speedy

    1. Why thank you, sir. Talk about being in the right place at the right time with my bestie. #solucky

  8. Thanks for creating a better picture of Denver for me through words. There have been hawks circling the neighbor’s bird feeder in order to catch the birds. That’s about it around here. We usually see a deer or two during hunting season, but nothing so far.

    1. It’s always a delightful surprise seeing Nature making hit and run appearances in the city. 😊

  9. We haven’t seen a heron yet, but some of the neighborhoods in our area have posted about them with photos. We keep seeing those pesky turkeys and the occasional coyote.

    Happy weekend.

    Woos – Lightning, Misty, and Timber

    1. Thanks Frank. The city was built across from the confluence of it and the Platte River. Trust me, urban planning had nothing to do with it-it was merely a water supply convenient for the mining camp that sprang up nearby. 😉

  10. Living rurally as we do, we see/hear lots of wildlife. Just last night our dog Wren alerted us to a beautiful fox standing in the yard. It heard the commotion and decided it was best to keep moving along!

    1. They are such regal creatures. Saw one a couple of weeks ago during a bout of insomnia and I just watched it for several minutes. Then I couldn’t get back to sleep I was so keyed up 🤦🏼‍♀️

          1. That was the time when I was travelling between Germany and the US twice a year. Taking my bicycle with me on the plane would have been quite expensive. So I got myself a “USA-bicycle” at a bicycle shop in Denver [Lakewood] which May’s cousin recommended. I’m still happy with it.

  11. I love the photo! I’m in Houston, so there is still plenty of wildlife abound. In the natural area behind our neighborhood, I’ve recently seen raccoons and possums on the trail, and once I nearly biked into deer!
    Also, yesterday we saw anoles. I can’t believe they are still around!

    1. Small world, my daughter lives in Kingwood and I’ve seen some of the critters in her area. Thanks for swinging by the Ranch. We 💙 visitors.

  12. 🎵 Egrets, we have a few but then again too few to mention. 🎵 Sorry – I tried and tried not to do that but I just cannot stop. We’ve never wandered down from Confluence Park along Cherry Creek but that sounds like something we’ll put on our list assuming we ever leave the house again.

    1. The confluence is a nice area, you’ll see everything from uninhibited sunbathers to beavers topped off by a concert from local favorite performer, Hazel Miller. Then there’s always the goats that get moved in to manage the local noxious weeds. Yeah, not ‘that’ kind of weed, the invasive stuff that chokes the riverbanks along the Platte. P.S. Nice little ditty…and most welcome at the end of the week.

  13. That’s a pretty darn-good photo for a phone camera!

    Around here, the only wildlife are the birds and squirrels. And we enjoy watching all of them. The squirrels are fun to watch – and for Ducky to chase – especially when they get to the innermost “meat” and seeds of the acorns! The acorns are like catnip for the squirrels.

    1. Aww, thanks. You’re too kind. It’s a tad blurry because it was quite a way off. The squirrels around here are so destructive, they recently striped a lot of bark off a young Honey Locust tree. Grr. Elsa must have been snoozing that day. 😈

  14. It’s always nice to see unexpected wildlife. I don’t think I’ve seen anything other than pesky squirrels and rabbits around here for a while. Oh, I did see some wild turkeys. Stay safe on this unlucky Friday and have a great weekend.

    1. We think those days are extra special. Wild turkeys, eh? You’d think they might go on vacation this time of year. 😁

    1. It’s a real treat for sure and makes me ever grateful when I can spot them hiding around. Not long ago, I saw a deer in someone’s front yard!

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