Listen to Nature Almanac
on KGNU Radio,
88.5 FM, 1390 AM
on the first Friday of every month at 8:06 am
Click for these KGNU
December Nature Almanac Shows:
Each show runs about 3.5 minutes. The mp3 files are about 3.5 MB; the time to load depends on your connection speed. Problems? Click here.

Boulder Weather

Avg. High: 47° F
Avg. Low: 23° F

Max. High: 76° F (1979)
Min. Low: -24° F (1988)

Avg. Precip: 0.9
Max. Precip: 4.20" (1913)

Average Snow: 13.0"
Max. Snow: 52.5" (1913)

Max wind: 120

December Wildflowers

Gumweed (Grindelia squarrosa)

Early Easter Daisy

Early Easter daisies
(Townsendia hookerii and T. exscapa)

 

Trumpeter Swan
An immature trumpeter swan overwintered at the Marshall gravel ponds, along South Boulder Creek Trail, in 2005.

A new late-fall tradition in Boulder County is the annual appearance of one or more trumpeter swans on prairie lakes and ponds. The swans usually show up just as the last open water is freezing over and most waterfowl have headed farther south.
Trumpeter swans disappeared from most of the prairie region during the first two-thirds of the 20th century. By the 1950s these majestic birds had grown very rare. Protection from hunting, along with reintroduction programs in the northern Rockies and northern plains, have helped populations to recover.
Several hundred pairs now nest in the Greater Yellowstone Basin, the Dakotas, and the Nebraska Sandhills. Several thousand pairs nest from western Alaska south and east into the Canadian prairies. In December look for migrating trumpeters, and an occasional stray tundra swan, at Boulder Reservoir, Baseline Reservoir, Sawhill Ponds, and Lake Valley Pond.

Other December Events

  • Early Easter daisies (Townsendia hookerii and T. exscapa) begin to bloom
    on south-facing shales in foothills canyons.
  • The Boulder and Longmont Christmas bird counts are held during the last
    or second-last weekend before Christmas. New volunteers are always welcome: www.boulderaudubon.org
  • Mule deer finish up sparring maneuvers and begin shedding antlers.
    Bighorn sheep continue dueling on high mountain escarpments.
  • American dippers migrate down from the mountains to fish for aquatic
    insects in Boulder and St. Vrain Creeks. Look for them along the Boulder
    Creek Trail just north of Walden Ponds.
  • Pasture sage and fringed sage leaf out on sunny hillsides.

December 2012 Events

December 17: Full moon

December 13-14: Geminids meteor shower peaks. Look toward the constellation Gemini after midnight or before sunrise on the 14th. The waxing gibbous moon will make it difficult to see some of the meteors this year, but the show is so bright and the meteors so frequent you should still be able to see a good show.

December 21: Winter solstice

  • Frost on Lodge (Lakota)
  • Popping Trees (Arapaho)
  • When the Deer Run Together (Cheyenne)

All photos: Steve Jones

Read Ruth Carol Cushman and Stephen Jones's Nature Almanac column in the Daily Camera "Get Out" section the first Friday of each month. December's column: A great tale of grackles in Boulder County.

Click logo for KGNU on the Web