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Wildlife

Bald Eagle displays amazing feat of agility

Truly astounding. Couldn’t believe this massive raptor was able to balance itself on such a tiny twig. I’ve been observing eagles for years but have never seen anything like this.  Happy April Fools Day. 😉

A Bald Eagle returns to its nest in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bald Eagle returns to its nest in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Prairie Dog pair keeping watch

Prairie Dog pair keeping watch. I see so many of these on my photo trips that I usually just ignore them. That isn’t always easy given how loudly they ‘bark’ when they feel like they are being threatened. 😉

Anyway, today I was out for a walk and crossing through a colony and the cacophony of noise demanded my attention. All were quite focused on alerting each other about the guy with the camera so I snapped a few images of them, including these two as they peered out from their burrow.

While I am oftentimes dismissive of these creatures, I do recognize the significant role they play in the ecosystem. They are a keystone species, so important to many other creatures.

A pair of Prairie Dogs peer out from their burrow in Denver, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A pair of Prairie Dogs peer out from their burrow in Denver, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bald Eagle chills out for Freedom Friday

A very handsome example of our national emblem from this past Sunday. I happened across this adult and a juvenile perched along a suburban lake front. The young one was in no mood to have its picture taken and quickly departed.

The senior of the two though was more than willing to hang out and in fact, I waited for an hour and it never even once thought about leaving, eventually causing me to give up on any hope of an action shot. That’s okay though as I can sit and watch them for hours, no matter what they are doing.

Bald Eagles don’t get their distinctive white head until they are between four and five years old. Until then, their heads are dark in color resulting in juveniles oftentimes being mistaken for a hawk or a Golden Eagle.

I for one am glad the weekend is upon us and am very happy to be able to say TGIF! 😉

A handsome Bald Eagle poses for its portrait in Longmont, Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A handsome Bald Eagle poses for its portrait in Longmont, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Lone Coyote on the snowy plains

Not a technically great picture but I kind of like it. With light snow falling on a cold winter’s morning, I happened across this handsome creature as it walked across a field. In the background, a very large power distribution station to feed the power hungry suburbs. Kind of a nice contrast of the open plains and the growing encroachment of humankind on the Coyote’s territory.

A Coyote stands in a snow-covered field on the Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Coyote stands in a snow-covered field on the Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

Great Horned Owl on alert

I don’t expect this owl and its mate get many visitors. I was driving a rural back-country road and passing by a thick stand of trees with the rising sun directly behind it. Something caught my eye, something looking out of place among the silhouetted, tangled branches.

I hopped out and worked my way to the other side, putting the sun at my back and was pleasantly surprised to find the owl pair hiding out. Given how rural the area is, I don’t expect they really expected or appreciated the impromptu photo session. I grabbed a couple quick captures and left them to their solitude.

A Great Horned Owl keeping close watch in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Great Horned Owl keeping close watch in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

An empty Bald Eagle nest, a very sad photographer’s heart

This past Saturday I went to visit my local eagle nest, expecting to have a great time watching and photographing. Sadly, that was not to be. Instead, I arrived to find an empty nest and no eagles in sight.

I was concerned but hopeful that maybe the parents had just stepped out to stretch their wings, after all, the day prior should have been ‘hatch day’ for any little ones so they wouldn’t have gone far if everything was okay. I waited for more than 2 1/2 hours and no one came home.

Today, I went back to check again, hoping that maybe I just had bad timing but once again, an empty nest. It appears the nest has failed for some reason and there will be no eaglets from this spot.

I can’t help but be sad, admittedly somewhat for selfish reasons as I did enjoy my time with them, but more so because of the affinity I have for the majestic creatures and admiration of how they have beaten the odds to come back from the brink of extinction.

Certainly there are other nests and I will visit some of them but, I will also be anxiously awaiting next year, hoping eagles try again in this spot.

An abandoned Bald Eagle nest in Adams County, Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

An abandoned Bald Eagle nest in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

American Robin takes a dip

I don’t normally take pictures of ‘little birds’ as they are usually so skittish and I just don’t have the patience to try to get close. However, every now and then one makes itself readily available for my camera and such was the case with this Robin.

It hopped down to the lake’s edge, waded in, and took a quick bath. I didn’t get an image of it as it dunked its head in the water as that happened so darned fast. However, I did manage a few nice pics of it including one with water drops flying in the air.

These common birds live year-round in the contiguous United States and are oftentimes found foraging on the ground for a meal.

An American Robin plays in the waters of a lake. (© Tony’s Takes)

An American Robin plays in the waters of a lake. (© Tony’s Takes)

An American Robin plays in the waters of a lake. (© Tony’s Takes)

An American Robin plays in the waters of a lake. (© Tony’s Takes)

An American Robin plays in the waters of a lake. (© Tony’s Takes)

An American Robin plays in the waters of a lake. (© Tony’s Takes)

Big bull Moose enjoys some privacy at breakfast time

One for Moose Monday. I am finding myself very anxious to get back to the #olorado high country and find some of these beautiful, massive creatures. Last September was my most recent opportunity and, unfortunately, my next chance will have until there is warmer weather and less snow at altitude.

Until then, I will reminiscence using pictures like this one from July 2nd last year. It was a fantastic morning spent with six bulls, two cows and one yearling. Here, one of the big boys grazes on tall willows away from the rest of the Moose – and away from the photographers.

Taken in the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area.

A bull Moose grazes on willows in the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area of Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A bull Moose grazes on willows in the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area of Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Snowy Owl gives a big, big yawn

Here’s one for Snowy Owl Sunday and an image I haven’t shared before.

Taken late last year out on the northeastern plains of Colorado. At that time, a few of these had been spotted out there and one report had me hopping in my truck and high-tailing it two hours away on a moment’s notice.

It was perched way out in a field on a piece of irrigation equipment, too far away to get a decent view. Fortunately, the land owner happened to drive by and ask what I was looking at and once he knew, gave me permission to enter his property. That allowed me to get close enough to get some cool shots and this owl was completely comfortable with my presence, totally ignoring me. In fact, it slept the entire time with me only getting one or two captures of it with its eyes open.

After enjoying some time with this Arctic visitor, I let it be, right where I had found it and me going away thankful for the opportunity.

Note… I know there can be some controversy over approaching these types of creatures and the risk of stressing them. However, again, it was totally relaxed while I was there, only opening its eyes a couple of times, otherwise continuing to sleep and I made sure not to linger. Further, this image is taken at a very safe distance with the equivalent of a 960mm lens and the final image is cropped quite a bit. I am always extremely cautious about approaching wildlife and would never do so if I felt the animal was upset by my presence.

I do have this image available here if you are interested.

A Snowy Owl yawns while perched on irrigation equipment on the Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Snowy Owl yawns while perched on irrigation equipment on the Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)