Outside Scoop: Spring is a good time to spot wildlife, wildflowers in Colorado
Once the slopes close for ski season, before summer arrives, there is plenty of activity slope side! Many ski resorts border either forest service land or national parks. This makes for excellent habitat for many migrating animals. It’s not uncommon to see a herd of elk, a mama bear and cubs, coyotes and dozens of other mammals. Even during ski season, resorts limit some area to protect wildlife habitat such as in the case of the Mushroom Bowl and a portion of Blue Sky Basin at Vail which are off-limits to skiers.
According to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, there are 135 different species of mammals in the state, many of which live in the Vail Valley. Red fox and mule deer are both stunning creatures and popular visitors to the slopes. And, with warmer weather, even moose are being spotted such as the mother and calf in the Gore Creek by Lionshead in Vail. Black bears can be spotted from gondolas in summer, along with many species of bird.
Are there mountain lions on the ski slopes?
Yes, but infrequently. They are hunting for elk and deer; therefore, will follow herds. If spotted, and quite rarely on the ski slope, the mountain lion is probably just moving through the area and not making it a home.
After lots of snow in March, there are so many plants and animals that benefit from the surge in precipitation. You might have heard the saying April showers bring May flowers, but what about March snowstorms? They, too, can bring flowers, specifically, spring bulbs. If you have peeked under the melting white blankets of powder you might have noticed signs of plant life.
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Purple, yellow, lavender and white crocus bulbs might be the first flowers you spot this spring. These tiny flowers will even appear in later winter and pop through the snow!
You know spring has truly taken off when the tulips arrive. The iconic bulb comes in almost every single color of red, orange, yellow, blue, purple, pink and white. Some can even grow up to one-and-a-half-feet tall.
Daffodil bulbs are certainly a favorite in park landscapes and gardens. They are quite hardy and can thrive in partial shade to full sunshine. While they are most commonly found in white and yellow, they can also be pink.
The Galanthus or “snowdrop” is a short, woodland bulb with tiny white flowers, a sweet honey scent and bloom around the same time.
Did you know bulbs are perennials? That means they return year after year without having to be planted by humans.
Outside Scoop is written by freelance journalist Julie Bielenberg. Contact her at email@example.com.