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

Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR

July 18th, 2010 · 2 Comments

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Early this morning I went back to the national wildlife refuge at the former Rocky Mountain Arsenal for the third time in the past couple of years. This time I was able to see a lot more of its almost 17,000 acres of open prairie. One of the largest of our 584 national wildlife refuge, it dwarfs the island of Manhattan, which by comparison is 14,478 acres.

The refuge offered free photo safaris by van that in three hours took eight of us much farther than the limited trail section that is otherwise the only area accessible to the public. Consequently, I was also able to see much more of the refuge’s wildlife than ever before.

Besides thousands of prairie dogs and many rabbits, we also saw lots of both white-tailed and mule deer.

Two Young Bucks in the Bush

Two Young Bucks in the Bush

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This More Mature Buck Also Still has Velvet on its Antlers

This More Mature Buck Also Still has Velvet on its Antlers

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A Coyote

A Coyote

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A Bison Calf Nurses

A Bison Calf Nurses

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A Bison Takes a Dust Bath

A Bison Takes a Dust Bath

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We also saw many birds, including these pelicans. Just then, a great blue heron flew by:

Four White Pelicans and One Great Blue Heron

Four White Pelicans and One Great Blue Heron

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A Young Red-Tailed Hawk

A Young Red-Tailed Hawk

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A Juvenile Burrowing Owl

A Juvenile Burrowing Owl

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Even though I had to get up at 4:30 a.m. to take this photo safari, it was worth it. I will certainly do it again.

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Posted in: Photography

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Bob Fenton // Jul 24, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Very interesting. This sounds like an excellent place to visit and do lots of photography. You have some excellent pictures and interesting scenery.

    What lens did you use to get the picture of the young red tailed hawk? This is much better than any I have been able to get even with my 500 mm. Here they all seem to want to fly away when we get too close. Even when they are on the nest, they get very nervous when I get too close and as such I have to back off so they will settle down and not leave the nest.

  • 2 David Mendosa // Jul 24, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Dear Bob,

    I was lucky! I was using my 300mm prime lens with a 1.4x extender on a crop-frame camera (a Canon 50D), so effectively it was a 672mm lens.

    But I was even luckier two days ago at the Pawnee National Grassland where I was even closer to a red-tailed hawk. That photo essay will be up here soon.

    Best regards,

    David

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