While I didn’t get to see any wild four-legged mammals during my stay in Beaver Creek, there were plenty of other creatures to keep me happy. The Beaver Creek Resort and Spa is dog friendly, to my delight – and the dogs I met were incredibly beautiful, friendly and well-mannered:
Not only are these well-trained dogs part of the wonderful culture of the area, local children are also obviously taught from a very young age about the proper way to ask for permission to approach these gorgeous dogs. I was floored to see every single one of the children, from tots to teens follow this procedure – it was lovely and heartwarming – I wish more states such as my own New York would adopt these simple but powerful learning experiences.
As to wild critters, during my hikes pretty butterflies fluttered around, but I knew trying to get a sharp photo of them would difficult. Luckily many of my shots of the local flora often had a bonus:
I also got to chance to give my face-my-fears program a little exercise with a number of bees that were also hovering about – fortunately for me they were the bumblebee variety which were more interested in nectar than blood:
Of course a hike would not be complete without a bird sighting or two. One of my favorite birds, the black-billed magpie was in abundance. I first came upon these animated birds during my visit to Jackson Hole, Wyoming – you can read about it here.
Magpies are considered one of the most intelligent animals on earth. The are very curious and like ravens, have excellent memories. They use tools, such as sticks to extract insects from their hiding places and magpies form mobs to fend off predators such as raptors. Magpies not only mate for life but also appear to have emotions. Black-billed magpies have been observed having “funeral proceedings” for a deceased magpie. One magpie will caw out a call to gather and sometimes up to 40 birds combine to sing together for almost 15 minutes in remembrance of their fallen comrade before silence descends and they fly off.
These birds walk with a swagger that is well deserved – sometimes I wasn’t sure who was following who:
Given the direction of the lighting, these magpies often look just black and white:
However, when the sun hits a just right an iridescent blue alights:
Ain’t nature grand.