Today was a slow day filled with many shorter walks, watching birds, bunnies, and people, and with sitting and talking. The first walk, we took with Kathy just around this neighborhood, where there are several trails around lakes, with some good birdwatching. At first, we didn’t see much, because this year’s drought has meant that the lakes are only partially filled, but then we did see some red-winged blackbirds, a cormorant, and most thrillingly, an osprey circling overhead that we identified with the help of Kathy’s bird book after we got home.
After that, Mark and I took off for Boulder (less than half an hour from here) and walked up and down Pearl Street (like we always do once in Boulder). We had some excellent Nepalese dumplings from a food truck for a very light lunch, so that we could also sample some (equally excellent) gelato. The Pearl St. stores do not hold much interest for us, so we didn’t go into any, but we did listen to a few musicians and watched kids playing in various play spaces along the route. Then we made our way to one of our favorite Boulder spots, the Eben G. Fine Park just before the canyon begins, where we walked along Boulder Creek and enjoyed the noise and the power of the water, drowning out most conversations and the joyful screams of kids playing with foam swords.
Around 1:30 pm, we went to see my aunt and uncle at their house–another must-do in Boulder whenever we go. They came here from Germany in the mid-60s, and have lived in the same beautiful mid-size Victorian home with a huge vegetable garden, which they still tend themselves (with their grandkid Benjamin’s help). Nothing ever changes in the house, and it still has the bakelite phone that I’m sure they had since they moved in (although I can only attest to its presence since 1990, when I first visited them). My aunt is in her 90s, my uncle in his late 80s, and we chatted about family, the garden, everyone’s health, and politics for a couple of hours. It was so very nice to see them.
We left about 4 pm and drove up to the top of Flagstaff Mountain, a short but winding road up from Boulder, to scramble around a little bit and again look for birds and other creatures. As we were driving up, I was looking down into a culvert on the roadside that was cordoned off with metal barriers, and spotted a black kit fox! I had a hard time convincing myself and Mark that I hadn’t just hallucinated, because of course we couldn’t capture it on a photo, but later, Kathy found a posting by a local who had spotted a red and a black fox kit and their mom in that spot earlier in the week. We also saw a hummingbird (they have only just arrived here in the mountain), and a nuthatch let us get pretty close.
We drove back home to Louisville at about 5:30 and basically had the same dinner as last night, but I was still twitchy, and so we went for one more nature walk, into the open fields and wetlands that lie in the other direction from our morning walk. We saw many bunnies and, more surprisingly, members of a small colony of prairie dogs, some red-winged blackbirds really hamming it up, and–again too quickly to capture photographically–a white bird lifting up from a ditch that Kathy helped us identify as a black-crowned night heron. We really had a good birding day for us amateurs!