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For you naturephiles out there, there’s nothing like finding that local wildlife hotspot you can explore whenever the fancy takes you. For me, that place is Sawhill Ponds, a series of 18 reclaimed gravel pits that now support a wealth of interconnected habitats from meadow to woodlands and marshes. This busy microcosm offers more than a peaceful place to take a walk, no matter the season. There is an abundance of wildlife to enjoy, including owls, coyotes, waterfowl and frogs, and it’s all within a stone’s throw of downtown Boulder, Colo.
These images are part of a project documenting this wildlife refuge and its inhabitants through the year. Stay tuned in a couple of weeks for Sawhill Ponds: Winter.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
more about “Lady bug swarm turns Green Mountain red“, posted with vodpod
Lady bugs unite! When a friend of mine posted some photos she took while on a hike on Boulder’s Green Mountain, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I saw entire tree trunks covered in red. The red was lady bugs, a mass gathering of a gardener’s best friend, as they search for mates and prepare to hibernate for the winter. Now this was something I had to see for myself.
Of course, not everyone can make the hike to Green Mountain, but hopefully you can live a little vicariously through this slide show, and learn a little something new about this “cuter” member of bug-dom.
There are more than 400 species of lady bugs, (or as they’re more officially known ladybird beetles), in North America. This year has been an unusual one for lots of natural phenomena in Colorado — a wet, cool summer has led to an endless green summer and multitudes of wildflowers — and this year’s lady bug gathering is no exception. Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks estimates that this could be a record-setting year for the annual swarm.
Besides the slideshow, I’ve made a little list of interesting lady bug facts you might not know.
- They’re cannibals.
- at least during their larval stage. Researchers recently discovered lady bug babies hatch and eat their siblings. Don’t get too disillusioned. They grow out of it.
- They don’t change their spots.
- Some people think you can tell the beetle’s age by the number of its spots, but according to the Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, you keep what you’re born with when it comes to the dots.
- They “play dead.”
- If an adult ladybug feels threatened it will fall down and “die,” or let off a foul yellow ooze from its leg joints that most animals won’t want to eat, (University of Arizona)
Just a few more photos of Sawhill Ponds in Boulder, Colo. Mew gulls winter in Boulder, and here two birds fight over a fish that they’ve managed to peck out of the ice.
The Nature Files brings information about the open spaces and wildlife that share our home in the Denver Metro area to you. I hope that this site can be a resource as well as an inspiration for those of you wanting to explore the nature in your backyard. I will periodically upload featurettes including sights and sounds of easy day or weekend outings around Boulder, Denver and other nearby counties, and will also share photos, or news about what’s happening with parks and open spaces.
Click photo to view a short video about Sawhill Ponds.
I hope you enjoy the first posting about Boulder’s Sawhill Ponds, a series of 18 ponds — reclaimed gravel pits — that are a safe haven for birds and other local wildlife. This open space area is about half a mile north of the 75th Street and Valmont Road intersection, and great for an easy, but not too crowded nature walk. I plan to bring you a new featurette about this location each season in order to give you some idea of how this environment evolves throughout the year. Click on the photo below to access the first show depicting late fall at Sawhill Ponds.