After church on Sunday, Sharon and I went birding at Clear Creek, about 25 miles south of Boulder. I had gone there the day before and found a most colorful Mandarin Duck that I wanted Sharon to be able to see. While she wondered if I really wanted to go to the same place two days in a row, these trips were quite different.
On Saturday, I found the Mandarin Duck within a few steps of my SUV. I didn’t even look for any other birds. And I took 1,348 shots of it in the 51 minutes I watched it in Clear Creek.
On Sunday, Sharon walked all up and down Clear Creek in Prospect Park for miles in search of the Mandarin. We discovered more than a dozen species of birds in the hours that we hiked the trails, and I took only 1,000 photos of them. I say “only” because since my camera can take eight frames per second, I could have taken thousands more in that time. I took it easy.
The first flock of birds we came across were three goldeneyes, named for the brilliant yellow irises that they have. This is one of the last species to migrate south when the weather turns cold. It winters as far north as open water permits, and Clear Creek is one of the last creeks up here to freeze over.
Neither Sharon nor I had ever come so close to goldeneyes before. Consequently, we didn’t realize that the male’s head is a bright iridescent green as well as black when it’s in full sun.