This morning since I couldn’t decide whether to hike to Bobolink Trail along South Boulder Creek or along Clear Creek, 25 miles from here in Jefferson County, I hiked both. Even though the temperature was below freezing, that wasn’t my concern. I wanted sun and the prediction was for clouds. But after I answered my email this morning, I looked out and saw what I was looking for. Immediately, I hit the road and then the trail.
Since I didn’t expect the sun to last, I headed for the Bobolink Trail, which is just three miles northeast of my apartment. But like all the streams, lakes, and reservoirs that I’ve visited recently in Boulder County, it was frozen over. I saw only a couple of blackbirds.
So I headed to the section of Clear Creek that flows through Prospect Park in Wheat Ridge. The creek is so wide and so swift that no ice has formed on it. Instead, it was covered with ducks.
Almost all of the ducks were Mallards. But among them, I spotted one male Mandarin Duck. I couldn’t have hoped for anything more.
I had seen a Mandarin Duck along the same stretch of Clear Creek on April 30, 2011, and my guess is that the same guy had returned after a long flight elsewhere. That day a year and one-half ago I got off only 166 shots of this colorful bird before clouds rolled in and spoiled the view. Today I managed to capture 1,348 images in the 51 minutes that the Mandarin and I were together. I also had better light today and a little more experience. Consequently, today’s shots were a bit better.