Although much of the environment is similar, everything is bigger in the Rockies. We saw larger versions of woodchuck (yellow-bellied marmots) and deer (prong-horn), and of course, mountains and valleys which dwarf New England. Unfortunately, the forest fires are bigger also, and we drove through miles of scorched landscape between Fort Collins and Steamboat Springs. Here's a sample of a lake in Colorado - at about 11,000 feet! No fires here. And yes, that's snow still up in the mountains.
|Little Causeway Lake, Routt National Forest|
With a little research I was able to identify the plant with the rather unusual flower - it is a Turtlehead. I'd never heard of this plant, but once you know what it's called, it's obvious, and not a name I'll likely forget.
|White Turtlehead (Chelone glabra)|
The buttonbush name is also pretty descriptive:
|Two weeks old|
Its parents are taking good care of it, keeping a close eye on it, although they do both dive at the same time, leaving it alone and vulnerable on the surface.
The little guy is starting to dive already, and the parents are teaching it to fish. Here, all three are looking for lunch.
We watched one adult catch a fish and then play with it for a long time until it was tired out, and then let the chick catch it for itself.
The chick is also starting to spread its little wings.
It's hard to believe they will be strong enough for it to fly away in three or four months. Let's hope for a late ice-in this year since it got such a late start.
There was also a second pair of loons on the lake this weekend, travelling around together, though keeping well away from the breeding pair.
There was a large bass tournament on the lake this weekend, with lot of big, high-tech bass boats out competing with the loons for fish. But I liked this different approach to fishing!