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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Bear Canyon Trail

July 13th, 2012 · 3 Comments

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The Bear Canyon Trail starts from Bear Mountain Drive, just 2.4 miles from my apartment in Boulder, and from there goes just 1.1 miles to the intersection of the Mesa Trail. As close as it is to the city, this trail is a migrant trap for birds from Central America. My friend Sharon and I were there at sunrise yesterday to see the action.

We saw plenty. I took about 800 photos in our two short hours on the trail.

We hiked just below the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. When you first look at these shots, you might think that I twisted them. Actually something much more powerful did that work, as the trees attest.

Bear Canyon Lies Just Below the Uplifted Front Range

Bear Canyon Lies Just Below the Uplifted Front Range

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Finger Rock is Most Visible from the Bear Canyon Trail

Finger Rock is Most Visible from the Bear Canyon Trail

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One of the first birds we saw was this oriole. This bird appears so colorful in the first light of the day that it appears almost garish.

A Male Bullock's Oriole

A Male Bullock's Oriole

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The next bird looked just like he had awoken from a big bender the night before. Is that a sneer on its beak? Actually, he was probably just as happy to see the sunrise as I was to see him.

The Eyes of the Spotted Towhee Are Naturally Red

The Eyes of the Spotted Towhee Are Naturally Red

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This next bird was the hardest to identify. It doesn’t look like its name.

An Immature Black-headed Grosbeak Doesn't Have a Black Head

An Immature Black-headed Grosbeak Doesn't Have a Black Head

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I had seen a Western Scrub-Jay a couple of days earlier, but it was a lot darker than this next bird of the same species.

A Western Scrub-Jay in the Sun

A Western Scrub-Jay in the Sun

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Seeing this little hummingbird delighted me. In spite of its small size, I couldn’t miss it on its perch.

The Broad-tailed Hummingbird Doesn't Have a Red Scarf But Rather an Iridescent Red Throat

The Broad-tailed Hummingbird Doesn't Have a Red Scarf But Rather an Iridescent Red Throat

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At the start of the hike I had told Sharon that the bird I most wanted to see and photograph was a most colorful one called a Lazuli Bunting. I had seen one there in May, but it was a bit too far away to capture a good image even with my 400mm lens. Today I saw several male Lazuli Buntings and took several hundred photos of them.

Male Lazuli Buntings Vigorously Defend Their Territory in Song

Male Lazuli Buntings Vigorously Defend Their Territory in Song

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This next one came even closer as it was busy feeding right along the trail until it was so kind as to stop for its portrait.

This Male Lazuli Bunting Was Just a Few Feet Off the Trail

This Male Lazuli Bunting Was Just a Few Feet Off the Trail

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This bird might look as unhappy as the Spotted Towhee above. But it was just at rest.

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3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Gretchen // Jul 19, 2012 at 9:18 am

    The background color makes the black-headed grosbeak without a black head especially lovely.

  • 2 Debbie // Aug 2, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Wonderful photo’s. You must have an amazing camera & a sharp eye! Thank you for sharing these.

  • 3 Shelley // Aug 4, 2012 at 7:53 am

    Awesome pics of the birds, David. Thanks so much for sharing!!

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