It appears that you are currently using Ad Blocking software. What are the consequences? Click here to learn more.
Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Back to Clear Creek

December 24th, 2012 · No Comments

Print This Post Print This Post
Advertisment


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.

A Female Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) with Two Suitors (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 235mm, f/8, 1/750, ISO 800, -0.5 EV)

A Female Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) with Two Suitors (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 235mm, f/8, 1/750, ISO 800, -0.5 EV)

Click on the picture above to enlarge

A Common Goldeneye Stands Behind a Pair of Mallards (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 150mm, f/8, 1/500, ISO 800, -0.5 EV)

A Common Goldeneye Stands Behind a Pair of Mallards (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 150mm, f/8, 1/500, ISO 800, -0.5 EV)

Click on the picture above to enlarge
Close-up of a Male Common Goldeneye (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 320mm, f/8, 1/1000, ISO 800, -0.5 EV)

Close-up of a Male Common Goldeneye (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 320mm, f/8, 1/1000, ISO 800, -0.5 EV)

Click on the picture above to enlarge

While we were watching these goldeneyes, we heard the chattering of a kingfisher. I followed it from tree to tree until I got this shot.

A Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) Stops Chattering for a Moment (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 400mm, f/8, 1/3000, ISO 800, -0.5 EV)

A Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) Stops Chattering for a Moment (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 400mm, f/8, 1/3000, ISO 800, -0.5 EV)

Click on the picture above to enlarge

After following the creek downstream for what seemed like miles without finding the Mandarin, we turned around and walked upstream in the day’s dying light. Sharon spotted this little bird all alone on the creek, and I was able to capture its image when it swam into the sun.

The Beehive Hair Style Will Never Go out of Fashion on the Head of a Female Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 370mm, f/8, 1/350, ISO 800, -0.5 EV)

The Beehive Hair Style Will Never Go out of Fashion on the Head of a Female Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 370mm, f/8, 1/350, ISO 800, -0.5 EV)

Click on the picture above to enlarge

Just before 4, when the light had already faded from the creek, it still shone in the trees where this hawk watched intently for dinner.

I Think This Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) Noticed Me (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 370mm, f/8, 1/1000, ISO 800, -0.5 EV)

I Think This Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) Noticed Me (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 370mm, f/8, 1/1000, ISO 800, -0.5 EV)

Click on the picture above to enlarge

The hawk must had decided that I probably didn’t taste good or was too big for it to eat, so I escaped. As the sun set, Sharon and I walked back to my SUV and began to drive back to Boulder. But in the parking lot at the entrance to Prospect Park, we stopped to look at a large flock of birds. And there among many Mallards we finally found the Mandarin Duck. While it was too late for photographs, which I didn’t need anyway because of my success the day before, I was delighted that Sharon was able to see one of the world’s most colorful birds.

Share

Posted in: Photography

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment