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

Our Backyard‏

April 29th, 2011 · 2 Comments

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On Wednesday when Sharon and I drove to the national park in our backyard, we had big plans and knew it would be a long day. We hoped to see goslings, ducks, owls, bluebirds, sheep, and beavers. We realized all our plans in one way or another and also saw lots of elk and and several deer.

Early that morning at Tantra Lake, where I live, Sharon and I startled an owl, probably a Great Horned one, which flew into a window. Even though the owl must have been stunned, it got away too quickly for either of us to get a photograph. I had never before seen an owl here.

We had gone out to photograph the pair of Canada Geese and their five goslings. While I have been watching them every day, this was Sharon’s first opportunity to see the newborn. This was my favorite shot of them on Wednesday:

 Two Goslings Stick Together

Two Goslings Stick Together

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We then drove an hour to Rocky Mountain National Park to hike the Cow Creek Trail. We had a slim hope of seeing Pygmy Owls, but instead enjoyed a pleasant picnic lunch out of the wind on an unexpectedly sunny day. As I snacked on olives and cheese, a pair of Western Bluebirds entertained us.

A Female Western Bluebird Watches Her Mate Fly

A Female Western Bluebird Watches Her Mate Fly

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Not until we hiked the nearby Lumpy Ridge Trail did we see “owls.” The owls we saw were a rock formation beloved by rock climbers on the ridge. Sharon and I stayed on the trail.

Twin Owls Rock

Twin Owls Rock

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The other highlight on the ridge were these balancing rocks.

Balancing Rocks

Balancing Rocks

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We stayed in the lower reaches of Rocky Mountain National Park, and so did the elk. They were everywhere, and sometimes quite close to us.

A Male Elk with Budding Horns

A Male Elk with Budding Horns

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Next on our agenda was a plan to see some Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep if we could. A year ago a park ranger had told me that in April the sheep come down to the Sheep Lakes, where it should be easy to find them. While no sheep were around the lake, Sharon spotted a herd of five of them a few miles away.

A Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep

Three Sheep All in a Row

Three Sheep All in a Row

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None of those stops was on a schedule. But a friend had told me a few days earlier that just before sunset she had just seen beaver on a pond that they had built on Fish Creek. So we made sure to get there on time. In fact, we got there early about 5:20 p.m. and drove around to look for a different view of the pond. Instead, we found a herd of Mule Deer.

One Deer Jumps a Fence While a Smaller One Goes Through It

One Deer Jumps a Fence While a Smaller One Goes Through It

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Then, we returned to the most promising pond and patiently waited with a view of both the beaver dam and lodge. Just when the sun went down about 7:20 the beaver came out from the lodge and headed toward the dam.

A Western Beaver in a Pond on Fish Creek

A Western Beaver in a Pond on Fish Creek

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I had never before seen a beaver. On Wednesday our patience was rewarded.

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Posted in: Photography

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Lisa // Jun 1, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    I thought my favorite was the goslings…then I saw the bluebirds….then the elk….then and then and then!!

    Awesome photos and I’m so very jealous of your day!

  • 2 David Mendosa // Jun 2, 2011 at 5:44 am

    Dear Lisa,

    Don’t be jealous! Emulate!

    David

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