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You Otter Come Out

December 30, 2015

The otters are out. And so should you! Join us on our yearly First Day Hike this Friday (January 1st). We will be meeting at the Welcome Center at 11 AM and enjoying a leisurely non-strenuous hike for about 2 miles.

Looks like it will be COLD and sunny–dress warm!

IMG_0641 (2)IMG_0643 (2)


And maybe we will see the otters like we did this morning. . .

First Day Hike

December 9, 2015

Getting a little cabin crazy? Want to walk off those Holiday cookies? Start the year with a little outside time? Join us for our annual First Day Hike on January 1st–11 AM meeting at the Visitor Center. Last year was cold, clear and the Bighorn Sheep came out to join us!  Let’s hope for the same this year–maybe not the cold part.


Bird’s the word

November 25, 2015

November Volunteer Hosts Elizabeth Daniel and Jim Deaton

In gratitude to our fallen feathered fowl who will, no doubt, adorn many a table and fill a fleet of gravy boats this Thursday of thanks, our resident photographer and wildlife advocate Elizabeth Daniel has also boiled down a pot of feathered photos that’s tastier than grandma’s marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes with butter and brown sugar.


Mmmm. Mmmmm. Mmmmmm. That’s sweet.

On Nov. 8, I asked Elizabeth to come up with 30 birds in 30 days. And she did her best given that it is only now Nov. 25.  The best part was getting to pester her daily. She’s a good sport, but a better photographer and friend. She has come through for us with her point and shoot. Quite well, I say.

We have done our best to identify some of these birds. But we are not ornithologists at this time. If we have made an error in our identification, please look past our deficiency and bask in the insane variety of colors, sizes, shapes and niche these birds employ in our natural world.

2014-11-15  2049  unknown probably a flycatcher yes

Possibly a flycatcher in amongst the thorns of a ranger-favorite locust tree. Note to self, bring iodine for next pruning project.

2015-11-07  2960  Chipping Sparrow

Chipping sparrows in Elderberry.

2015-05-10  0059  Northern Oriole

Northern Oriole – known for their nests or twine, fishing line, etc. that hang in trees like giant cocoons.

2015-05-18  0038  Killdeer

Killdeer will always lead you astray.

2014-11-20  0014  various finches yes

Finches appear to be embarrassed. Probably saw our ranger  cuttin’ a rug while planting some native grass.

2014-11  2042  Bufflehead maybe yes

Bufflehead taking on some water.

2014-11-14  2035 tundra swans yes

Tundra Swan stopped in for a swim

2014-11-14  2077  Townsend's Solitaire yes

Townsend’s Solitaire true to its namesake.

2015-04-01  2110 yes

Canada goose

2015-04-18  6581  Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

2015-04-20  0006  Western Kingbird

Western Kingbird

2015-05-12  0039  Lazuli Bunting yes

Lazuli Bunting

2015-05-24  0042  California Quail yes

California Quail

2015-05-18  0080  Says Phoebe youngsters

Says Phoebe youngsters

2015-11-07  2993  Loggerhead Shrike

Loggerhead Shrike

2015-05-25  0013  Female Yellow Headed Blackbird

Yellow headed blackbird

2015-11-07  3002  Canyon Wren yes

Canyon Wren

2015-11-07  3015  unknown  cowbird

2015-11-10  3166  canadian geese yes

The best work – teamwork

2015-11-10  3163  Northern Flicker yes

Northern Flicker

2015-11-10  3164  Kestral yes


2015-11-10  3206  Oregon Junco yes

Oregon Junco

2015-11-24  3540 white crowned sparrow

White Crowned Sparrow

2015-11-03  2846

2015-05-24  0045


2014-11  Robins in Hackberry

Rockin’ Robbins – tweedley tweedley deet.

2015-11-09  3112rock wren yes

Rock Wren

2015-11-07  3059  white crowned sparrow yes

White Crowned Sparrow

Step into another world

November 24, 2015

When you think you’ve seen it all… slap yourself. Because there’s no same same there.

Another day is an other day.

Moon over matter

And you can walk on the moon.

Frozen grass

Or be frozen in the beauty of silence.

Snow job

Or washed anew in fresh fallen snow.


Bird’s eye view

November 16, 2015

A gifted photographer with some pretty cool gadgets came by last week.

Peter Stevens is his name.

He is a good friend to our current camp hosts Elizabeth Daniels and Jim Deaton.

Peter was also quite handy with a rake and native grass seed. Some Big Sherman Blue should be popping this spring thanks to his handy work.

Much appreciated Peter and see you soon! Now a Stevens-inspired moment of zen via Quadra copter:

Cottonwood Aerial Nov 2015-1



Cottonwood Aerial Nov 2015-16

Now let mind drift like river through canyon.

And make sure to join us for our New Year’s Day hike!



Big Horns Returneth

November 4, 2015

2015-11-04  2914  Look who’s looking. Our camp host Elizabeth Daniel had a pleasant surprise today on her way to Lone Tree Campground.

Big Horns were pretty interested in what was going on, taking a close look from a nearby hillside. Elizabeth’s point-and-shoot helped capture the story. The herd of about 10 hung out together for about three hours during the heat of the day.

2015-11-04  2923

2015-11-04  2915This young ram seemed a bit tired out. Visitors saw many in rut last week as the mating season is well underway.

2015-11-03  2871 This American Coot had the river to himself on Tuesday morning.

2015-11-03  2883

Bucks are also faring well here at Cottonwood. This healthy specimen was caught nibbling plants in the host site in day use early Tuesday morning. He forgot to make the coffee, though.

2015-11-04  2909This John Deere Tractor hub is one of the many little artifacts that bring a sense of wonder about the generations that came before us. This must weigh well over 100 pounds. It will likely be here for your next visit.

2015-11-04  2900And now, your moment of zen. Cottonwood awaits you.

Where’s Heron? Where’s Otter? Where’s Hazel?

October 23, 2015

Hawk Thanks to some funtastic photos by Volunteer Host Eric Braun – who brought you sheep in camp –  and camper Bevin Clapper, we are playing a little game of “Where’s Waldo” Cottonwood style.   But first, your moment of zen above… If a hawk flaps its wings and no one is there to see it, you should really get to Cottonwood!

snake chaser 2Hazel Hoover did a little where’s rattlesnake? last week

snake chaserNo luck, fortunately for her mom. Cold night temps have sent them into hiding.

HeronOk, now can you find the heron. It’s not in a van down by the river.

River OtterCan you find the otter? Ripple in still water, when there is no pebble thrown, no wind to blow.

valhallaLast, but not least, where are you? Could you be in  this place?