Western Colorado: Aspen forests and Wildlife of the High Lonesome Ranch

Aspen stand at about 8500′ elevation on the western edge of the Rocky mountains
Aspen stand with bear climbing marks and elk cambium feeding scars on trees in the foreground. Many aspen stands in the southern Rockies are dying for reasons that are not yet totally clear. Aspen stands are generally comprised of one or a few individual organisms (called “Clones”) each of which sends up multiple trunks. About half of the mature trunks in the patch are dead.
Entrance and throw-mound of a bear den found on a steep forested northwest facing slope close to a ridge line at about 8200′ elevation.
Close up of the internal chamber of the den. The den was only about 4′ deep
Dewitt Daggett gets a close look at the den.
Rocky mountain elk at sunrise with stunted aspen in the background.
Incisor marks from an elk feeding on the bark of an aspen. Barking of aspens by elk can have extensive impacts on aspen stands. Along with the bark, elk, deer and cattle also feed on the branch tips of saplings stunting their growth and retarding recruitment of young trees where browsing pressure is intense.
A red-naped sapsucker paused from excavating a new cavity in a dead aspen tree. Cavities excavated by woodpeckers are used by a wide variety of other birds and mammals as nests once abandoned by the woodpecker.
A female Purple Martin looking out from its nest cavity in a standing dead aspen tree. In this same tree was also a nest cavity being used by a house wren.
Female and male Purple Martins courting close to their nest cavity.
Female collecting dead aspen bark to line her nest cavity.
Mule deer resting in the shade of a Douglas fir during the midday heat.
Large scrape made by a mountain lion under a large Douglas fir at along a ridge. This scrape has been visited and enlarged over repeated visits by the cat. Scrapes such as these are a scent marking behavior performed by both bobcats and cougars.
Looking northwest across the western edge of the Rocky Mountains at sunset.
Sunset and aspens


Wildlife Tracks and Signs

River otter trail with a slide down a short slope.North Cascades, WA
Porcupine, fast walk track pattern. Umpqua Dunes, Oregon Coast
Mountain Lion and Black-tailed Deer tracks in mud. Skagit River, Washington.
Canada lynx, walking trail wending through fresh snow. North Cascades, Washington
Pellets of 3 Pacific Northwest Lagomorphs:Black-tailed jackrabbit (left), Nuttal’s cottontail (center), Pygmy rabbit (right) Southeastern Oregon.
Black bear claw marks on a Ponderosa pine tree. Northwestern Montana.
Northern River Otter. Right hind foot. Puget Sound, Washington
Coyote tracks, front (bellow) and hind (above). Oregon Coast.


Global Climate Change Comes to Carnation Washington

Under the old railroad trestle bridge over the Tolt River, WA.
Same location as above during typical winter stream flow.
Tolt river from same location as above during typical winter stream flow.
Tolt River, flood stage.
Tolt River from the similar vantage, typical winter stream flow.
Tolt river at flood stage.
Tolt river photographed from close to the same location as photo above during typical winter stream flow.
A new addition to Carnation. This entirely new log jam is about about 300 metres long and and 40 feet wide or wider in places, at the confluence of the Snoqualmie and Tolt rivers. It has completely obliterated a two lane gravel road that ran along the edge of the river here.
Looking north on Highway 203 just north of Carnation, WA
Flooded farm in the Snoqualmie Valley, WA.
Flooded house for sale. Carnation, WA
Flooded neighborhood in Carnation, WA.
Carnation Tree Farm, WA
Highway 203, just south of downtown Carnation, WA.
Flooded farm field south of Carnation caused by a burst levee on the Tolt River.
Highway 203 in Carnation, WA

Reptiles, Amphibians, and Insects

Rough-skinned Newt, Umpqua Dunes, Oregon Coast Rough-skinned Newt, Umpqua Dunes, Oregon Coast
Northern Alligator Lizard, Umpqua Dunes, Oregon Coast Northern Alligator Lizard, Umpqua Dunes, Oregon Coast
10-lined June Beetle?, Umpqua Dunes, Oregon Coast


Cascades frog, Commonwealth Basin, Central Washington Cascades



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