Every day when we are in Colorado, we take a walk around Lake McIntosh. It is 3.5 miles of good exercise. And each season brings an ever-changing cast of characters. A colony of Black-tailed Prairie Dogs inhabits the fields to the northwest of the lake. In spring there are the pups with their big wobbly heads and almond shaped eyes. In the fall, they grow as fat as rabbits preparing for the winter cold. They have many calls, including one we've dubbed "the wave" where a prairie dog rises on his hind legs, and vocalizes as he leaps up while raising his forearms above his head. Usually another prairie dog responds in kind. In the fall, they eat voraciously and grow as fat as rabbits preparing for the winter cold. Snow brings a visual confirmation of just how social the prairie dogs are--dozens of tracks lead from burrow to burrow.
Winter visitors include rafts of ducks, skeins of geese, wheeling gulls, and the occasional bald eagle. We see the kingfisher and hear his rattle more often in winter. Spring brings the Red-winged and Yellow-headed Blackbirds. Meadowlarks and Yellow Throats sing at loud decibels. Pairs of Eastern Phoebes, Say's Phoebes and Eastern and Western Kingbirds choose spots to nest. And for most of the year, until the water ices over, majestic White Pelicans cruise the lake in synchronized fishing parties. While I've since lost count, at one point we had a list of over 120 different bird species we've identified at the lake.
A great many people we pass on the path wear earphones as they run, or are engrossed in their smartphones. We feel sad that they miss the subtleties of sight and sound of the myriad species that share the lake.