Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Early mornings in RMNP

Matt somehow convinced his wife and in-laws to go hiking at 6 AM in Rocky Mountain National Park. Not once, but twice.

What were they thinking, you ask? Animals.

The meadows were full of elk.

There was an unbelievable number of hummingbirds. On the first morning we saw one zooming high up into the sky and then diving almost to the ground, over and over. Apparently this is a mating ritual. After a bit we learned to find them from the sound they make as they fly -- which apparently comes from a slot in their wings as they beat up to 70 times a second.

We also watched a family of tree swallows nesting in this hole.

And as it warmed up, marmots came out to sun themselves.

Also spotted: ground squirrels, chipmunks, a grouse, woodpeckers, wrens, warblers, jays...and very few people.