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Coyote on the hunt for breakfast

Coyote on the hunt for breakfast

Such a pretty lady, eh? She looked absolutely stunning as she hunted the fields in the Upper Beaver Meadows area of Rocky Mountain National Park this past Sunday. It seems like if I see coyotes in the park, this is usually the spot. The ones there seem quite comfortable with the humans that intrude on their domain and oftentimes just go about their business, ignoring the interlopers. This particular one was clearly looking for a meal, at one point stopping and listening ...

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Bison graze at ease along the Madison River

Bison graze at ease along the Madison River

This beautiful scene kickstarted our visit to Yellowstone National Park last month. Winter had been harsh up there with a great deal of snowfall and the spring was a wet one. However, all that moisture made for a lush, green landscape and rivers flowing full and quick. Soon after arrival we set out for a quick exploration trip and found a herd of bison grazing along the banks of the river. Above, a cloud-dotted sky with spots of bright blue peering ...

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The intense focus of a raptor

The intense focus of a raptor

While raptors like this Red-tailed Hawk are certainly gorgeous, they are also ferocious predators. With the right look, they can look quite pretty but at the same time be downright intimidating as this pretty lady appears in this capture. Karma is a captive bird, used for falconry and education. A few weeks ago I and my son got the opportunity to spend a lot of time photographing her and some other raptors up close and personal. Found across all of North America, Red-tailed ...

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The master of the deep forest

The master of the deep forest

Rumor had it that the Moose in my favorite area had finally returned after spending the past month or so at higher altitude. The weather looked iffy at best but I could not resist at least making an attempt to see them Sunday. At 10,000+ feet in altitude I knew it would be cold and fresh snow had fallen. There was some welcome sun initially but soon the clouds descended bringing a thick fog and snow began to fall again. It ...

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Barn Owl owlet puts on a show

Barn Owl owlet puts on a show

Such a ham. While its siblings remained hidden in the next within the tree cavity, this little one seemed to revel in the attention myself and a half dozen other photographers gave him a few weeks ago. Three times he scampered out of the nest, and then back in, climbing around and putting on a display each time. It was undoubtedly a bit cramped down in the home so this particular time it chose to stretch its wings above its head. ...

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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)

American Avocets have a bit of a squabble

As I have said, I don’t really take pictures of “little” birds. However, I have to admit these ones are pretty darned cool. There were about a half dozen of them hanging out in a pond on Sunday and I felt compelled to take pictures of them. I don’t want the problem was but these two clearly did not want to play nice with each other. One would get close, the other would chase it away. I had a hard time keeping up with the action but did manage this shot of the two of them going at it.

An American Avocet chases off another in Firestone, Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

An American Avocet chases off another in Firestone, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Osprey gives its thoughts about Monday

Osprey gives its thoughts about Monday. I could not agree more. 😀 Couldn’t resist after what was a rough start to the workweek. It’s all downhill from here right?

An Osprey empties its bowels in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

An Osprey empties its bowels in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Turkey tom showing off for the ladies

Taken back on Easter Sunday as light snow fell. The guys were doing their best to impress the ladies and put on a fashion show for them. Most of the time thing were quiet but the toms did get a bit aggressive toward each other a time or two. This guy is part of a rafter of turkeys that hangs out in a suburban area not far from where I live. There are some nice, natural open space areas for them but they oftentimes road the streets which is pretty fun and seems out of place.

A Turkey tom struts in the Eastlake area of Thornton, Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Turkey tom struts in the Eastlake area of Thornton, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Mama and her littlest one

Going back to a couple of weeks ago when I spent an evening with this Red Fox family. The little kit had a hard time keeping up with its bigger siblings and was quick to cling to mom when she came back for a meal. I haven’t been able to see them since as she moved the den but am hoping I get another chance in the coming weeks.

A Red Fox vixen and one of her kits in northern Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red Fox vixen and one of her kits in northern Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Regal Eagle looking forward to the weekend

Regal Eagle looking forward to the weekend. And, so am I! TGIF! I feel like I have been put through the grinder after a rough week at work. With any luck, my wildlife friends will do a good job helping me let off some steam with weekend.

This handsome fellow you have seen many times before as he and his mate maintain a nest in northern Colorado. When I saw him this past Sunday, he was hanging out about a quarter mile from home. For an hour I watched him and the majority of the time he just slept. With two little eaglets at home, maybe he isn’t get much sleep at night. 😉

A Bald Eagle looks toward the horizon and the rising sun.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bald Eagle looks toward the horizon and the rising sun. (© Tony’s Takes)

Two Great Plains speed demons

I had to go to Cheyenne for business yesterday and while I had little time to spare given the agenda, I did take two minutes to stop and photograph these two handsome Pronghorn bucks. They were standing right next to the road not far inside the Wyoming border. Best of all, unlike my usual encounters with them, these two didn’t instantly run away and instead posed (albeit briefly).

I personally find these creatures fascinating. They are cool looking of course but the mere fact they can run so fast is incredible. Pronghorn (often incorrectly called antelope) are the fastest land animal in the Western Hemisphere and second in the world only to the Cheetah. They can sprint at speeds up to 60mph and run for extraordinarily long distances at slower speeds.

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 pair of Pronghorn bucks keeps close watch near Cheyenne, Wyoming.   (© Tony’s Takes)

A pair of Pronghorn bucks keeps close watch near Cheyenne, Wyoming. (© Tony’s Takes)

Cooper’s Hawk focused on escaping with its meal

A tip from a friend (thank you, Patrick!) led me to a neighborhood not far from my house where a mated pair of these cool raptors is setting up a home in a backyard. They were coming and going, working on their nest and occasionally perching in a tree by the street. The male returned from one excursion and as I was snapping pictures, it hopped straight at me to another, closer branch.

It wasn’t till I got home and downloaded the pictures that I saw it had a kill firmly in its talon’s grasp – a small bird of some type. Even without these two pics, I was able to get my best images to date of this elusive hawk which certainly made for a fun encounter.

While not often seen, the Cooper’s Hawk is actually quite common. Typically associated with forests and woodlands, they have proven themselves to be very adaptable and indeed seem to thrive in suburban and urban environments. However, they usually opt to hang out within the cover of tree branches and leaves, not normally out in the open.

A Cooper's Hawk leaps into the air with a small bird clutched in its talons.   (© Tony’s Takes)

A Cooper’s Hawk leaps into the air with a small bird clutched in its talons. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Cooper's Hawk leaps into the air with a small bird clutched in its talons.   (© Tony’s Takes)

A Cooper’s Hawk leaps into the air with a small bird clutched in its talons. (© Tony’s Takes)

Yeah, those meat hooks would do some damage

Check out the talons on this cool dude! My goodness. Owls aren’t often seen as predators but believe me, they can be just as ferocious as any raptor and have the tools to do it – clearly. This Great Horned Owl is the male at one of the nests I have been watching this season. Pictures of him have been elusive but last Friday he was posing right out in the open (relatively speaking given it is an Owl).

This week I restructured my online store to include a section just for my owl pics, ensuring I give them their just due. Check it out here.

A male Great Horned Owl near its nest in Thornton, Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A male Great Horned Owl near its nest in Thornton, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)