Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Hummingbirds, A Great Horned Owl, teaching a fly fishing technique, and making next years cabochons


The last two weeks have been filled with lots of indoor and outdoor activities. Mostly indoors as the smoke from the western fires has reduced the air quality so much that we need to stay indoors. Still recent rains have helped, at least temporarily, and so we have resumed our walking, worked on stones, and even got to teach two friends a beginners fly fishing technique.

The hummingbirds have been so enjoyable as we watch them feed and fight over the feeder. In fact, the fighting has been so intense that we bought two more feeders and spread them out. This made it harder for the dominant rufous male to keep the other hummers away. Now we have three males that each try to stake out and claim a feeder.


It doesn’t seem to be effective for them as they chase away others only to have other hummers sneak in for a drink. This has caused us to buy more sugar, in fact we have used more sugar this year then we have in quite a while!

Yesterday, while we took a walk around the park, a large owl flew above us and landed in a tall ponderosa pine. Trying to take images with a cell phone was less then satisfactory so we walked back home, got our good camera, and returned to the tree.

Surprisingly the owl was still there. While waiting for it to face us a couple walked over, and the lady said she could talk to it. She quietly hooted several times and it turned to look at us! We have never heard of an owl whisperer before, but we now have one in our park!

When we first saw the owl flying, we thought it was a Great Gray. There are rare but do inhabit the area. Once we got a good look at it, we saw the ears and realized it was a horned owl. It’s a beautiful bird but common here as it is across North America.

Our friends Fred and Becky had expressed interest in learning how to fly fish. On another day of smoke free air, we took them to one of our favorite streams and taught them how to make a roll cast. It’s a simple technique that catches fish and works quite well when the banks are lined with willow trees.

Becky quickly picked us the technique, she had stream fished in Colorado, but Fred struggled at first. He commented several times that he wished he had his Zebco reel. We never did spot or catch any trout as the steam was really low, but we did have several hits from mountain whitefish. They thanked us for the lesson, hopefully next year’s fishing will be better! 

Our shows are over for the year and now it is time to replace those we have sold and to work new stone. One of the new stones is Yellowstone Variscite. It’s mined from a claim on the east flank of the mountains. Just outside of the park. We hope to work some today and look forward to getting on the grinding wheels, (we make most of our cabochons using a Genie Cabochon Maker).

Once we have the stones finished, we will turn them into jewelry while we are in Texas! Clear skies


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