Half the population of Colorado decided to hike the Palmer Lake Reservoir Trail today. I joined them. It was a beautiful morning, although it heated up considerably by the time I left. I did my usual route, up to the second reservoir and beyond for a bit, then off on a side trail over a ridge and back to the lower reservoir on the Ice Box Cave Trail. I saw 20 species of birds, tons of wildflowers, and quite a few butterflies.
Western Tanager male in mid-song.
Red-naped Sapsucker. There was a large hole in a nearby aspen with a lot of peeping noises coming out of it. I suspect that was the sapsucker nest.
Northern Checkerspot. I had trouble identifying this one so I submitted the photo to an online butterfly society.
I downloaded a plant app that identified the wildflowers. I don’t entirely trust it since the entire app is designed to trick you into buying the premium version. But here’s what it said.
Blue Columbine. This is the state flower of Colorado. I think this is only the second time I happened upon them in the wild.
Scarlet Gilia. I saw a Broad-tailed Hummingbird feeding at a cluster of these.
Smooth Beardtongue (maybe)
I took four hours to hike the loop. I went 6.3 miles and climbed the equivalent of 75 flights of stairs.
Looking out from the Ice Box Cave Trail, over the lower reservoir, with Palmer Lake (lake and town) visible in the distance.