I had a few minutes to wait this morning before a pre-work appointment and swung by the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. As I pulled up I had a glimpse of a fox or small coyote on the hillside, but it was gone before I could bring my lens to bear on it. Instead I had to settle for views of three Ring-billed Gulls pulling sentry detail on the lampposts in the parking area.
At least the soft morning light and slope from the drive gave me clear, level views of these opportunists. Hopefully the long weekend will provide opportunities for shots in a more "natural" setting.
Yesterday at lunch I headed to the Greenlee Preserve in Boulder County for a quick look since the snow has long since knocked down the marsh grass and cattails. The water was fairly quiet, but I had an aerial display that more than made up for it.
These two Red-tails were lazily circling over the wetland. They didn't seem to be aggressively disputing territory, just displaying the majesty of flight on a beautiful fall day.
This time of year always surprises me, here we are just a month away from the shortest day of the year, and yet the recent snows have still felt early. I'm not complaining though, the lingering snow pack and low angle sun really helped to light these hawks from below.
It was really rewarding to get a chance to spend a few minutes watching large raptors in flight.
I just hope that in some bird way they know how much a few members of one species enjoy watching them soar.
It must be nice to have built in sunscreens on bright mornings.
The mystery hawk seems to be confirmed as an awkward and lanky teenager Red-tailed Hawk. The tail says adult, but the eyes give away the fact that this hawk isn't quite grown up yet.
In general the birding was unspectacular. I saw close to a thousand Rock Pigeons, and many more Canada Geese than that. The only species that really shone in the sunlight was this Western Meadowlark though.
It was just nice to be out, and to be able to appreciate a few moments outdoors before the activities of the day took over.
A large part of the insanity of the past few weeks, and the main reason why all birding activities have ground to a halt is because my previous car, a Honda Accord, met an untimely death on Monday November 2nd. That car had many issues, and while I was sad to see it go, I am very happy with my new ride. The extended period of bus ridership was well worth holding out for a solid used vehicle that met my needs of 4 wheel drive and high ground clearance. Those were sorely lacking in my old coupe, and restricted my range for camping, hiking, and bird photography.
To celebrate my re-found driving freedom I pulled into the Stearn's Lake parking lot for the vehicle picture above, and drove to the end of the access road to check for anything in the large cottonwoods there. I want the bird above to be a Krider's Hawk, but can't be certain due to the sun angle I was fighting. The white throat and zoomed in view of the cere also made me think Ferruginous, but I wasn't seeing the indication of dark legs that I would have liked. In any event it was close enough to trigger Krider in my mind, and that just seems like a better name than Penguin or American White Pelican, or Snow Goose. Although if problems crop up Snow Goose may come back to mind.
There was a more "typical" Red-tail in much better light that I also had a chance to photograph.
I was pleasantly surprised today to see that there has been a steady stream of visitors despite the lack of new content.
Hopefully some of the past posts are worth a look.
I would like to welcome any new visitors and reassure anyone giving the site a return click that I have no intention of abandoning this site.
I am in the midst of a crazy stretch of life, and photography, hiking, and just soaking up the solitude of nature have all regrettably had to take a backseat for the moment.
In the meantime please consider a thought or prayer for a total stranger awaiting a donated organ, (not me), and if you would please seek out a local blood donation center (the link on the right if you are in Colorado), and consider notifying your loved ones and the DMV of your intent to become an organ and tissue donor. They are such minor acts, but change the lives not only of their recipients, but of the friends and loved ones of the people who need them.
Thanks for visiting, please have patience and check back soon!