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All photos © Tony’s Takes. Images are available for purchase as prints or as digital files for other uses. Please don’t steal; my prices aren’t expensive. For more information contact me here.
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Wildlife

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Snowy Owl takes flight

I promised more pics of this gorgeous creature and I might as well start with the best of the bunch.

Over two evenings last weekend I snapped hundreds of pictures of the Arctic visitor. It was these last images that I love the most. I had spent three plus hours watching and observing the owl as it sat on top of a house. It gave tons of cool poses, completely ignoring the humans below.

This was fun but we of course wanted to see it fly. Suddenly, it perked up and began paying a lot of attention to something in one of the backyards. I assume a dog or the like. That was enough to spur the owl into action and it took off directly at us!

It happened so fast I simply squeezed the trigger and hoped like I heck I caught the action. Some of the images were out of focus or cut off the wings but there were a good number of keepers that I hope you enjoy seeing.

Should you be interested in owning a print of one of these, please do let me know or head over to here.

Scroll down to view the complete sequence of images.

Frosty Bison cow on a frosty landscape

It was pretty darned cold this past Saturday here on the Colorado Front Range as you can tell. While the Bison didn’t mind, this photographer wasn’t really caring too much for it. 😉 The early morning sun which had just popped over the horizon put some nice light on the lady. More Bison pics here.

A Bison cow with frost on her endures a cold morning on the Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bison cow with frost on her endures a cold morning on the Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

Focus!

Holy moly, look at that stare! I’ve photographed many Osprey in the wild and the looks they give are pretty darned intense. Brizo is a captive raptor, injured at a young age and unable to fly. She is now under the care of Nature’s Educators. This was a nice opportunity to get up close and personal with one and she was gorgeous. Taken in Sedalia, Colorado.

An Osprey gives a very intense stare. (© Tony’s Takes)

An Osprey gives a very intense stare. (© Tony’s Takes)

Handsome American Kestrel poses in the morning light

A pretty common raptor here in Colorado and North America’s smallest falcon. This American Kestrel is named Ajax and is a captive bird owned by Nature’s Educators. It was at one time a falconry bird but was found to be blind in one eye and not suitable for hunting. Since it can’t hunt, it cannot survive on its own and now does outreach programs with the non-profit group.

Don’t let this little guy’s size fool you though. American Kestrels are very effective predators and just as vicious as any raptor.

Taken with my Canon USA 7D Mark II and new Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 G2. I am absolute ecstatic with the detail this lens provides.

Image available for purchase here.

An American Kestrel perches on a tree branch. (© Tony’s Takes)

An American Kestrel perches on a tree branch. (© Tony’s Takes)

Young bull enjoys a drink for Moose Monday

Harkening back to the first weekend in July. This guy and a number of other, bigger bull Moose were hanging out at this high country lake. For the longest time they stayed well concealed with the thick bushes next to the water and I was about ready to give up on getting a clear shot. Finally, they moved down to the water’s edge giving a nice, unobstructed view.

As much as I would love to photograph these guys in the winter, I am not too keen on the harsh weather conditions at altitude this time of year so I will be anxiously awaiting the summer when I can see them again.

You can check out more of my Moose pictures here.

A young Moose bull in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area. (© Tony’s Takes)

A young Moose bull in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area. (© Tony’s Takes)

A young Moose bull in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area. (© Tony’s Takes)

A young Moose bull in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area. (© Tony’s Takes)

Shaking it up for Snowy Owl Sunday!

What an absolutely treat to spend not one but two evenings with this Arctic visitor recently. This guy has become quite a local celebrity as it has spent the last few weeks hanging out in a suburban area northwest of Denver. Despite multiple attempts, it wasn’t until Thursday and Friday that I was able to get some good pics of him.

On this evening, the fluffy, white owl was hanging out on a home’s roof. He spent much of the time sleeping and occasionally preening. Here, he gives a big shake showing just how thick a Snowy Owl’s plumage is – something that is needed in its normal home of the Arctic.

It is rare for Snowy Owls to come this far south to Colorado but this year there have been at least five different ones spotted in the Centennial State. The types of events that bring them here are called an irruption and while it isn’t perfectly clear what causes them, it is believed that a very successful summer breeding season results in an over-population of young owls in the Arctic. As a result, many head south in the winter in search of food.

I’ll have many more pics of this guy to share in the coming days. If you’re interested in a print of one of the images, be sure to let me know.

A Snowy Owl fluffs up while perched on a suburban roof northwest of Denver, Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Snowy Owl fluffs up while perched on a suburban roof northwest of Denver, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Snowy Owl fluffs up while perched on a suburban roof northwest of Denver, Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Snowy Owl fluffs up while perched on a suburban roof northwest of Denver, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Snowy Owl fluffs up while perched on a suburban roof northwest of Denver, Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Snowy Owl fluffs up while perched on a suburban roof northwest of Denver, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Snowy Owl fluffs up while perched on a suburban roof northwest of Denver, Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Snowy Owl fluffs up while perched on a suburban roof northwest of Denver, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Turkey Vulture comes in for a landing

They might not be pretty but I love these big guys and while I have captured many pics of them, a recent photo shoot let me get closer to them than before. This particular vulture is a captive bird, unable to be released in the wild due to having been ‘imprinted’ by humans.

We see Turkey Vultures here in Colorado during the summer. You will often spot them soaring high in the sky in large groups – appropriately called a ‘wake’ – looking for their next meal. They feed on carrion they find lying around dead like rabbits, prairie dogs and such and are believed to be able to smell the dead animals up to a mile away. Their role of garbage man helps to prevent the spread of disease from carcasses.

Taken at Nature’s Educators in Sedalia, Colorado. More of my pics of Turkey Vultures here.

A Turkey Vulture comes in for a landing.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Turkey Vulture comes in for a landing. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Turkey Vulture comes in for a landing.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Turkey Vulture comes in for a landing. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bald Eagle yoga?

Yoga is all the craze now and even the raptors are getting into it. 😉 I happened across this handsome fellow a couple of weeks ago on my way home from work. I’m guessing it had been sitting perched for quite a while on this pole as before it left, it went through a rather extensive stretching routine including this pose where it stood on one leg and extended its wings and other leg. Kind of amusing to see.

A Bald Eagle stretches while perched on a pole in Adams County, Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bald Eagle stretches while perched on a pole in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

One very cute, very small, very fast Owl

Check out this little dude! Arktos is an Eastern Screech Owl, a fairly common but rarely seen type of owl. I personally have never seen one before the day of this photo shoot and now I know why – they are tiny! Making finding them even more difficult is the fact that they typically nest in tree cavities and as you can tell by its coloring, it would blend in quite well with one.

Arktos is a captive bird, owned by Nature’s Educators, a non-profit wildlife education group. His parents were unable to care for him and his brother and as a result, the owlets became human imprinted when hand-raised and could not be released into the wild.

I was absolutely amazed at how fast this little guy could fly. It made getting an in-flight capture very, very challenging to say the least.

An Eastern Screech Owl in flight (captive).  (© Tony’s Takes)

An Eastern Screech Owl in flight (captive). (© Tony’s Takes)

An Eastern Screech Owl in flight (captive).  (© Tony’s Takes)

An Eastern Screech Owl in flight (captive). (© Tony’s Takes)

An Eastern Screech Owl in flight (captive).  (© Tony’s Takes)

An Eastern Screech Owl in flight (captive). (© Tony’s Takes)

An Eastern Screech Owl poses (captive).  (© Tony’s Takes)

An Eastern Screech Owl poses (captive). (© Tony’s Takes)

Golden Eagle gets its portrait taken

Such an absolutely stunning raptor! I’ve been quite close to a Golden in the wild before and their size is something that is hard to appreciate if you haven’t been near one. However, this past weekend I took part in an event that let me get within just a few feet of one and, well, wow!

A local wildlife photographer group arranged for a visit with Nature’s Educators, a non-profit group that does public outreach events to educate the public on wildlife. Most of the animals in the group’s care cannot be released into the wild for a variety of reasons. Such is the case with Tempest.

This 34-year-old eagle was illegally taken from her nest as a hatching by someone who thought she would make a good pet. That of course did not work out and due to it having been ‘imprinted’ by humans, she could not be released into the wild. To say she is stunning would be an understatement.

The event gave me an opportunity to try out my latest lens, a Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 G2 and as you can see, the results were quite impressive! The lens captured the extraordinary detail of this bird and opening it up to f2.8 really helped blow out the background and ensure it wasn’t a distraction.

Close-up portrait of Tempest, a captive Golden Eagle.  (© Tony’s Takes)

Close-up portrait of Tempest, a captive Golden Eagle. (© Tony’s Takes)

Close-up portrait of Tempest, a captive Golden Eagle.  (© Tony’s Takes)

Close-up portrait of Tempest, a captive Golden Eagle. (© Tony’s Takes)

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