It’s a sure indication that fall is quickly approaching when the chamisa is in bloom. At Navajo State Park, not only is the chamisa or rabbitbrush beginning to flaunt its deep yellow flowers, but the Canada geese are also showing signs of preparing for their fall migration.
According to the Division of Wildlife, many Canada geese have become year-round residents in Colorado, but some do migrate in the fall to spend the winter as far south as Texas, southern California and sometimes parts of Mexico.
Canada geese are definitely built for long distance travel. They can reach up to 60 mph during their flights, and can reach an altitude of 8,000 feet. They can fly at night, and can fly for up to 16 hours in a stretch. In order to safely accomplish their migrations, Canada geese are known for flying in a V formation. The swirling air caused by the lead bird’s movements helps to push along the birds behind it. Because this is hard work for the lead bird, the lead drops back after a short while allowing another bird to take on the work. Wildlife authorities have estimated that when the birds fly in a V formation, they can travel approximately 70 percent further than a bird flying alone.
However, that is not the only reason for the V. The birds often do not fly close enough to realize the full benefit of the shape. The V also gives the geese the ability to watch each other and communicate about possible landing locations. They regularly honk to each other during flight.
With the many fall indicators on the horizon, Navajo State Park is winding down its summer season. The start of school has left the lake with much less boating activity. Labor Day weekend will mark the end of the environmental programs and popular Kids Krafts. Most of the seasonal employees that were hired in the spring are wrapping up their final duties.
However, that does not mean that Navajo State Park is closing its gates. Fall is a wonderful time to visit the park. The lake surrounded by cottonwoods in their fall foliage provides a striking landscape. Full service RV spaces are available until mid October. Of course, tent camping and self contained RVs are welcomed throughout the year. The marina stays open until the middle of November, providing spectacular fall boating opportunities. Come enjoy the colors and wildlife that the park has to offer during September and October.
Please remember that all vehicles entering any portion of Navajo State Park must have a Colorado State Parks pass.
For more information about visiting Navajo State Park, call the Visitor Center at 883-2208.