I had taken the day off and headed northeast of Denver for a wildlife drive. Arriving at Jackson Lake State Park, I get out of my truck and hear the distinctive call of a Great Horned Owl. Pure luck in timing that this one was calling to its mate that happened to be in a nearby tree. Somehow I don’t think the lovebirds appreciated being interrupted though. 😉
There’s a few P’s for you with an F thrown in for good measure. 😉
This winter I haven’t had as much like photographing these fantastic raptors as in year’s past. On Wednesday though, I happened across one that was kind enough to perch itself right next to the road. It was largely unbothered by my presence and sat still long enough for me to grab these captures.
These cool raptors can be found flying low to the ground searching for prey. They are extraordinarily maneuverable and very difficult to catch pics of in-flight although I have on occasion had some good luck. Prairie Falcons are not particular about their diet and will feed on smaller birds including larks, swallows and doves and will also feed on rodents including squirrels.
While daytime temperatures in northeastern Colorado were relatively mild yesterday, as the sun was coming up it was a bone-chilling 7 degrees. I really did not want to get out of my toasty, warm truck but as I saw this scene unfolding I had no choice.
A notable lack of clouds had me thinking the sunrise was going to be a dud but I was soon proven wrong. The golden orb coming up over the horizon bathed the water of Jackson Lake State Park in orange and the hint of fog / steam coming off the lake looked ethereal.
Since there weren’t any clouds above to highlight I opted for a panoramic crop of this one and think it came out pretty nice.
I have no idea what kind of gull this is but was pretty darned persistent trying to fish a local pond. While I waited for my favorite raptors to appear, I used it for a bit of camera target practice. I loved its bright white plumage against those beautiful, deep, blue Colorado skies.
My goodness. What a charmed day this past Saturday was. A friend (thank you, Bill!) secured us access to a private pond where Bald Eagles have been hanging out. The action was pretty intermittent but when it did happen, it was fast and furious.
This eagle caught itself one fish but soon returned for another and this image captures that second pass. It was clearly an experienced hunter, never missing once and, for me, yielded probably the best ‘eagle fishing’ pic I have ever taken. Such a thrill!
If you’re interested in a print of this image, it is available. I can see this one hanging on my wall very, very soon. You can too – see here!
We’ve been busy putting the wraps on planning our summer and so my mind is naturally drifting toward some of the photo subjects that time of year. Among the highlights of the Colorado high country are these little guys. This particular Hummingbird (a Rufous?) took to hanging out at our campsite in Lake County and gave me some nice shots, including this one when it was isolated on a long branch.
I don’t normally take pictures of ducks as most tend to be quite skittish and I don’t have the patience to do the work required to get close. Yesterday however, this male Common Merganser swam right by where I was sitting on the shore of a pond. He looked pretty darned cool so I of course had to take a few pics of him.
It’s been a while since I have seen any of these speed demons so this capture dates back to last July. As usual, he wasn’t too willing to pose for pictures but also didn’t take off at a flat out run giving me a chance to grab a couple of shots.
Before the arrival of western Europeans, it is believed as many as 40 million of them roamed the open rangelands of North America – possibly more than there were bison. Hunting and fragmentation of their habitat by fences and human settlements took its toll and as few as 20,000 remained at the start of the 20th century.
Thankfully conservation and education saved them from extinction and they now number almost 1 million.
A very simple picture for the day of this majestic creature – it is so fitting that Bald Eagle’s are the national emblem of the United States. This particular one was kind enough to pose against that beautiful, blue Colorado sky this past weekend. I hope you all had a fantastic Friday Enjoy your weekend.
This past weekend I was ecstatic to see not just one, but two of these awesome little owls in the wild. They were in fact the first non-captive screech owls I have ever seen. Both are found within two different suburban parks southwest of Denver, Colorado and while one was relatively easy to spot in its cavity, this one was much harder to locate.
As you can see, it fills the cavity and unless you knew where it was, you would be hard pressed to find it. In fact, I walked right by it three times before finally locating it. It spent the vast majority of the time I was with it sleeping, with very little movement.
However, for some unknown reason, at one point it woke up and began making the distinctive ‘trill’ call they are known for. After a few minutes, it closed its eyes and went right back to sleep. So much fun to see – and hear!
What do they sound like? Check out this page from Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s website here.