Blogiversary…I’m 1…And A Giveaway

One year ago, on May 16, I said,  “Hello world”, clicked the “publish” button and Mangos, Chili and Z entered the world. I was nervous, I was excited and I remember checking in about every 15 minutes to see if anyone out there had read imy initial post.

 

 

Finally, my good friend Carol Grape noticed it gasping for its first breath, slapped it on the back with a view and a comment, and that’s all it took to get the madness moving on fast forward.

 

 

I’ve had more fun with this blog. Thanks to all of you for following me, all the comments and all the inspiration from your great blogs. With 150 posts under my belt, I most certainly look forward to year two!

 

Post #1   content involved a spring bird watching trip to Northeast Colorado and coincidence has it that we headed out to the Pawnee Grasslands on the same date this year.

What a grand area the Pawnee National Grasslands are. Covering almost 200,000 acres in Weld County in N.E. Colorado and extending to the Wyoming border, this vast sea of natural grasslands is a destination of bird watchers all over the world due to its unique habitat.

 

When you’re out in the middle of this desolate grassland prairie, all you can hear is wind whistling through the grass, an occasional call of a raptor overhead and a chorus of sparrows, buntings and longspurs who have arrived to use the grass, rabbit brush, sage and an occasional smattering of trees as their spring nesting grounds. Throw in a bark from a distant prairie dog and  metal squeaking from a turning windmill and you truly feel a kindred spirit with the pioneers who first arrived on these plains some 200 years ago.

 

One might not take particular notice of the teeming wildlife in this shortgrass prairie when traveling East to West as most vacationers have their sites set on the Rockie Mountains looming in the distance. On a closer look you’ll find the area literally crawling with wildlife.

 

Filled with history involving buffalo, indians, settlers, cattlemen and farmers, in the 1930′s strong winds stripped the grass then sucked the moisture out of the ground carrying its topsoil aloft, sweeping it across the country and blotting out the sun in cities in the east. We call it the Dust Bowl.  After the winds were gone all that was left was a damaged ecology, towns and pioneer spirits. Beginning in 1934 Federal relief efforts were initiated and in 1960 these lands became the Pawnee National Grassland.  Slowly with patience and careful management the land is healing. A mat of natural grasses once again protects the soil and wildlife and settlers have returned.

 

This area, so rich in history even inspired James Michener’s Novel “Centennial”.

 

Here’s a few photos I took.

Birding treat of the day was when an American Bittern plopped down right in front of us. Usually a very elusive and secretive bird, they are rarely seen and only sometimes heard.

A better shot of the prairie pot hole habitat.  See it there in the middle?  You can’t believe how still it is.  It moves so slow you can barely tell it’s moving.  I thought my arms would sieze up trying to hold the camera as still to not to alarm it’s activity.  Plus, trying not to breath.  A tense and exciting moment.

Now take a look at this shot.  As the bird moves towards the reeds he raises his head to imitate the tall stalks of the plant and to camouflage himself into the landscape. Pretty soon he’ll be almost impossible to see. Pretty cool…huh?

To celebrate my 1st anniversary, I’ve prepared the first meal that my mom taught me to make. Fried Chicken, mashed potatoes and creamy chicken gravy. That will be my next post.

 

But first, let’s talk about giveaway.  Using a random generator one reader will receive a copy of Denver Junior League’s Creme de Colorado Cookbook. This cookbook contains a selection of recipes that reflect Colorado’s lifestyle and rich history. It  includes nearly 700 recipes which are enhanced with color images by the renowned Colorado naturalist photographer, John Fielder.  Mr. Fielder captures the essence of Colorado with his lens and the results invite you to feel a part of our region.

 

But wait, there’s anothe bird hiding in that third bird photo.  To enter, simply leave a comment with a guess of what it is. You don’t have to be right, just guess.  Contest ends at midnight Saturday, May 22, Mountain Standard Time.

 

Birdwatching on the Pawnee,

It’s an Annual Spring Event

On this day..

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Comments

  1. says

    Lea Ann,

    Congratulations on a great first year! I love reading your blog, even if I don’t always respond. You have done a great job! Didn’t realize I was the first to read it. Cool. Here’s to many many more years.

    Carol

    • says

      Thank you Christine. The Bittern is actually in the crane family. Storks are tall and statuesque as well. Storks in North America are usually found in Florida. The small bird in that photo still seems to be a mystery to all who have commented.

    • says

      Chris, Crescent-chested Warblers are rarely found in Texas and Arizona. I’d be on the cover of National Geographic if I actually had a photo of one in Colorado… there I go dreaming Hollywood again. :-)

  2. says

    Happy bloggiversary babe! I’m so glad you started blogging…here’s to many years to come.

    And as for birds. The only birds we have here in NYC are pigeons. And robins. And I know it’s not a pigeon. Sparrow maybe?

    • says

      Joanne, Central Park is home to so many wonderful species. Much more than pigeons and robins. Take for instance your famous nesting Red-tailed Hawks. Not a sparrow, but good guess…think larger and blacker.

  3. Nancy says

    Hi LA – I can’t believe it’s a year! I am so proud of you! I had not known writing was a talent of yours before you started this and it’s fun to read…your humor shines on this blog :) And the food – always presented so nicely and is so inviting.
    As for the bird – I’m making an educated guess of Yellow-headed Blackbird. Right? :) Nice pic of the Bittern…a “good bird” :)
    Love, HW

  4. says

    Congrats on your first year blogiversary! Wow, it seems like yesterday I was reading your first post! Your blog has been such a fun read and I’ve been so impressed with the constant stream of delicious dishes you share. My favorite (and first) foodie blog by far!

    I loved this post – how exciting to nab a rare photo. I don’t know what the little guy is, but I’ll take a stab and guess a Western Meadowlark. (harks back to our Kansas days!)

    • says

      Thanks Vickie! Western Meadowlark is a good guess, and as we know from our Kansas days, they do loved those barbed wire fences. However, this bird’s pitiful song doesn’t even compare to the melody that comes from those Meadowlarks.

  5. Pam says

    Congratulations on your milestone! Shall I expect your first year to be summarized in another cook book? :)
    I was going to guess the bird was a Yellow Breasted Bittern Sidekick….but I did a quick, non-thorough, google and decided to guess Yellow Breasted Chat instead.
    (The cardinals in my Blue Spruce are multiplying much to my delight, I’ll try to get a good picture to share with you.)

    • says

      Thanks Pam. I don’t think I see another cookbook on the horizon, but I do plan on posting more recipes from that book on my blog. It’s stupid that I’ve not done that. Not a Yellow-breasted Bittern Sidekick…but good guess. tee hee. Unfortunately we don’t have Cardinals here. Can you believe that?????

  6. says

    Happy Blog Anniversary! Your pictures make me miss Colorado, the sunshine, mountains, and the great outdoors. Lived there for several years before moving to MN. Hope to move back someday.

  7. says

    Oooh, congratulations on your anniversary! I love your blog, you always inspire me to try cooking new things.

    I’m guessing your little bird on the wire is a yellow throated warbler… although I’m really not up on my field and stream notes.

    • says

      Thanks so much Liz! Good guess, and I wish it were a yellow-throated warbler. That would be a good bird here. But I can safely say that no self respecting yellow-throated warbler would be caught dead on a barbed wire fence…let alone in Colorado.

  8. says

    Congrats on one year!! My brother-in-law might be moving to Colorado soon. I hope he does so I can visit and see all the great scenery!

    The other bird looks like a yellow-headed blackbird – could be something completely different though! We have a bird feeder in our back yard for the cats to bird watch. I know the basic birds, but have to look up any new birds that might visit.

    • says

      Thank you so much Stephanie. I hope your brother-in-law does move to Colorado. I’d insist you stop by for a meal. I’d love to cook for you and mr. chicken legs.

      I can safely say that a Yellow-headed Blackbird would indeed be caught dead on a barbed-wire fence above a pool of water. :-)

  9. says

    Happy Blogiversary! I’ve enjoyed your blog so much and I’m lifting my glass of wine to you in a toast for many more years! On the other bird – is that an Egret?

  10. says

    Keep up the good work. I love visiting here. No idea on the bird. I am not good with birds and plants, but want to be. Happy first blogivesary!

  11. says

    Yay for you! I have really enjoyed reading your blog and having you at Souper Sundays! Congrats on year 1 and here is to many more.

    Sadly, I am bad at bird identity. We have a white bird here that is crane-like like your Bittern that I love and I don’t even know what that is. Is it some kind of magpie? ;-)

  12. says

    Congrats on your blogiversary! Your recipes are fab and that fried chicken looks great! Thanks for stopping by and for your nice comment! Cheers! It looks like a Magpie.

  13. says

    Congratulations on your first year! I always enjoy reading your posts. It looks like the bird might be a goldfinch? The grasslands look absolutely beautiful.

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