Viewing the Region's Wildlife
-- Animals -- Flowers
This information is compiled to assist guests who rent
our Condo at the Zephyr Mountain Lodge. If you've arrived at this
page as a result of a web search on Colorado Wildlife, we hope you benefit
from the information. And if you need lodging,
thank you for considering us.
Elk are majestic animals with a prominent white rump and tan coat.
Look for Elk along the edge of the clearings in the Kawuneeche Valley
meadows of Rocky Mountain Park. They are there most every day, and
can be seen with almost 100 percent certainty as dusk approaches.
Moose can stand six feet tall and are very short tempered. The Male moose has enormous antlers shaped like clawed scoops. Moose are found in river bottomlands, willow thickets, and wetlands.
Mule deer like brushy meadows and forest edges. They can bee seen day or night. Notice when a herd of deer is moving past one another. They often flatten their ears, lower their heads, or curl, their tails. This is deer talk for "everything's OK"
Bears are common and have been known to come right up to cabin doors [especially if the trash is left out]. In most cases, bears will sense humans and leave. If you see a bear, calmly walk away; make no sudden movements.
Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep like open rocky areas high up on the mountainside. They are found only in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Look for them in the hills outside of Empire or at selected viewing spots in Rocky Mountain Park.
High above tree line Marmots and Picas live amongst boulder fields. The Marmot is brown and about the size of a large rabbit and makes a very high pitched short squeaking sound. Look carefully and you can see them scampering about.
There are numerous hawks and eagles all through Grand County. You'll see them circling overhead as they look for their prey below. While hiking you may be lucky enough to see a wild Turkey. No doubt the bird will startle you just as much as you startle him.
Beavers are also common in the Rocky Mountains near Winter Park. However they are nocturnal and not frequently seen. If you wish to see beaver, you should visit a fresh dam at dusk and sit quite still.
Watch wildlife from a distance. Use binoculars or a telephoto lens to get up close.
Never approach wildlife. Feeding or harassing them is unlawful. Animals fed by people become beggars and loose their ability to survive in the wild.
Colorado is home to hundreds of species of wildflowers. Wherever there is a meadow and the sun can reach the soil [obviously not in willow thickets or forest], one can find wild flowers. Many are tiny and delicate. Others grow a few here and there. And in other places meadows and hillsides can explode with color.
If you are interested in identifying wildflowers, it is a good idea to purchase a book. Field books have pictures and allow you to determine precisely the flower you are examining. Most flowers have common names so you do not need to be a specialist in Latin. Names like: Marsh Marigold, Pretty Daisy, Columbine, Larkspur, and Indian Paintbrush are easy to remember.
If you are interested in photographing wildflowers, it is a good idea to take a class. You will need the right lenses, an understanding of focusing, and be willing to make multiple exposures. Classes are offered at various times in Winter Park and in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Not all years yield the same wildflower results. The bloom depends on snowfall, summer rains, temperature, and other factors. Some early flowers like Marsh Marigolds start blooming in late June. But most wait till well after the 4th of July. The 3rd and 4th weeks in July and the 1st week in August are the prime weeks. By mid August the tundra regions have often had a freeze and one can no longer find even small flowers.
The following photo's were all taken within an hour of Winter Park. On a good year, you may have similar luck.
OTHER URL'S TO CONSIDER
www.coloradowildlife.org Colorado non-profit