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Wildlife

Bald Eagle brings home American Coot for breakfast

I had spent all morning hanging out at one of my favorite Bald Eagle nests. While the female and her two eaglets were around, the male was nowhere to be found. Just as I was packing up, I see him come flying in. I quickly started snapping pictures as I could see he was carrying something.

Once he landed I could tell – he had caught himself an American Coot! He sat just below the nest, enjoying his meal, shredding it as he did. After a time and having had his fill, he took the leftovers to the nest for the rest of his family. The light was pretty harsh by the time all this action took place so the pics aren’t the greatest but it sure was fun to witness!

Taken southwest of Denver, Colorado.

Clear the landing area! Big bird coming in!

You can’t really appreciate the size of an American White Pelican until you see one up close. They are surprisingly large and that wingspan is just massive. Last week there was a big pod of these patrolling a local pond and while it was mid-afternoon with harsh light, I had to stop and take pictures. They put on a nice show including this one that came in for a landing right in from of me.

An American White Pelican comes in for a landing at the Adams County, Colorado Fairgrounds. (© Tony’s Takes)

An American White Pelican comes in for a landing at the Adams County, Colorado Fairgrounds. (© Tony’s Takes)

I see you down there!

“I see you down there!” A Great Horned Owl owlet checks out the photographer in Thornton, Colorado. My time with this trio was brief but so much fun. I learned about the nest early last week. On the day of this picture, Thursday, two, including this one were in the nest still. One had fallen out of the nest and was perched in a bush on the other side of the trail. The nest day, all three were out of the nest.

A Great Horned Owl owlet peers down from its perch about its nest in Thornton, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Great Horned Owl owlet peers down from its perch about its nest in Thornton, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Gru of Despicable Me fame hangs out in Colorado

Gru of Despicable Me fame hangs out in Colorado. Okay, maybe not, but I swear these Black-crowned Night Herons bear an extraordinary resemblance. 😉 I have only gotten pictures of these birds a few times so when I happened across one recently, I did my best stealthy approach to try to get a decent capture. Crouching down, I waddled like a duck through some tall grass, contorting myself to get this picture of the red-eyed creature as it kept watch on the water for a meal.

A Black-crowned Night Heron in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Black-crowned Night Heron in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Big, bad Grizzly Bear

I don’t know why but today I am obsessing over these massive creatures and my desire to photograph more of them. Harkening back to June of 2016 along the Trans-Canada Highway east of Banff National Park.

We happened across this beast not far off the road and needless to say, I hit the brakes hard and pulled over. It was only in view for a few moments but the encounter yielded my best pics of a Grizzly to date.

While I have photographed a few others, mainly in Yellowstone and the Tetons, those encounters suffered from issues with bad lighting to long distances to obscured views. Some day I hope have “that encounter” that will at least partially satisfy my photo dreams.

Perhaps next year if we are able to head to Alaska like we are planning.

Naturalist George Ord gave the Grizzly its classification, ursus arctos horribilis, due to its intimidating character. Lewis and Clark studied and wrote extensively about grizzlies including relaying one story in their journals of an encounter during which Lewis was actually chased by one. Not an enviable position to be in for sure!

A Grizzly Bear looks for a meal along the Trans-Canada Highway in Alberta. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Grizzly Bear looks for a meal along the Trans-Canada Highway in Alberta. (© Tony’s Takes)

Muskrat makes off with a crawdad

This was a first for me getting pictures of either of these creatures. I stopped by a local pond Friday and saw something swimming in the water. Along came a Muskrat with the crayfish, a nice little meal for it I am sure. It was mid-afternoon so light was really harsh but it was fun to see and I am glad to have gotten pics of them.

A Muskrat carries off a crawdad in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Muskrat carries off a crawdad in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Muskrat carries off a crawdad in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Muskrat carries off a crawdad in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Snowy Egret in flight

I made a quick stop on my way home yesterday at the Adams County, Colorado Fairgrounds. The mid-afternoon light was harsh so I wasn’t expecting much out of my pictures but there was a lot of bird activity so I really wanted to check it out.

I’ve been using my Canon 6D Mark II more and more and continue to be impressed with its capability. It handled the bright light exceedingly well, just as I have been seeing it do in low light. This beautiful bird flew nearby and I managed a very nice sequence of images and was able to retain all the detail within the white despite that harsh light.

A Snowy Egret flies over the water of a pond at the Adams County Fairgrounds. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Snowy Egret flies over the water of a pond at the Adams County Fairgrounds. (© Tony’s Takes)

Pouncing kit for Fox Friday

Like any good sibling, this little one took great joy in pouncing on and tackling its littermate. The light was low on this evening making catching any sort of fast moving action like this tough. Nevertheless, it was fun to see and even better to have gotten a few images. I haven’t seen these little ones since that day unfortunately as their mom undoubtedly moved the den again. Hopefully I get another chance but it will have to come soon as they won’t all be hanging out together for long.

A Red Fox kit pounces on its sibling in Weld County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red Fox kit pounces on its sibling in Weld County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Osprey focused on flight – and the photographer

Kind of a fun, panoramic crop on this cool raptor allowing you to see it up close and personal and check out that big wingspan. This bright-eyed, handsome fellow caught me a bit off guard with its launch and I was zoomed in farther than what I normally would be for a flight shot. It turned out pretty well though I think. Most of the Osprey parents are now sitting on eggs and it shouldn’t be too much longer before little ones make their appearance.

Panoramic crop of a male Osprey as it takes flight in Weld County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Panoramic crop of a male Osprey as it takes flight in Weld County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

One owlet stands out, two stay hidden

What a fantastic find my friend turned me on to. A pair of Great Horned Owls established a nest along a very public greenbelt not far from where I live. I have photographed GHOs and their nests many times but only in traditional, stick nests. This is the first I have personally seen one in a tree cavity which makes for a unique scene.

I’ve visited a few times over the past week, photographing both parents as well as some of the three little ones. On Monday, one of the little ones was standing tall just above the cavity. If you look closely, you can see one of its siblings peering out from below. I never did get a decent shot of all three but was able to verify two down in the cavity. With any luck, one of these days I will get a shot of all three before they fledge.

You can see more of my pics of these types of owls here.

Great Horned Owl owlets hang out at their nest in Thornton, Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

Great Horned Owl owlets hang out at their nest in Thornton, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)