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This Downy woodpecker is an opportunistic forager

On a grey day in November, a downy woodpecker tapped furiously, thrashing tall, hollow stems in a dense stand of poison hemlock. I followed the sound to its source and found a woodpecker hammering at the soft material, sending shreds of stems flying.

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The class of 2016 both survived and thrived

The Class of 2016 has special significance for me personally. Along with this year’s graduating class, I became a part of CU-Boulder in 2012, joining the university as this college’s dean. I’m delighted to see the successes of this remarkable class of students in earning their degrees.

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Sand treaders move continually among the dunes

Rain fell in the desert west of Lake Powell for several hours in the early afternoon. As soon as it stopped, I took a walk among small dunes to see what was in bloom and who was out and about.

I was more than a bit surprised to see a large, black sand treader foraging and digging in the sand. Perhaps the rain summoned the sand treader — they rarely appear before dusk.

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Chirping male field crickets advertise their ages to attract females

Curious to see which species were stirring in early spring, I hiked from the Coalton Trailhead on CO 128, looking for flowers and insects. Easter daisies hugged the ground, but no other flowers were up. I glimpsed a few spiders scrambling in the dry grass, but nothing else stirred.

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The phenomena that brighten dawn and dusk

The apparent rising and setting of the sun may sometimes seem to be prosaic, everyday events. But when we have time to watch and appreciate, sunrises and sunsets are fascinating and entertaining interactions of light and atmosphere providing daily reminders of our place on a spinning planet.

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