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

Prospect Park‏

May 1st, 2011 · No Comments

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Patience is as important to photography as good equipment, taking lots of pictures, and good luck in getting to the right place at the right time. This year I’ve had several lessons in patience, including a big one this week.

Several photographer friends had told me they had found a beautiful and unusual duck at Prospect Park in Wheat Ridge, about 25 miles from my home in Boulder. But I searched in vain for it a week ago Saturday and again last Thursday. I spent hours searching Prospect Lake and nearby Clear Creek with little to show for my efforts.

On my first trip to Prospect Park I did find this pair of Cinnamon Teals. I was glad to get my first shot of them, but they weren’t what I was looking for.

A Pair of Cinnamon Teals

A Pair of Cinnamon Teals

Click on the picture above to enlarge

Typical of many species of birds, the male, or drake, is more colorful. How sad that it’s otherwise among us humans!

Not until my third trip to Prospect Park did I find the duck that I had sought so diligently. The duck wasn’t on the lake nor was it upstream on Clear Creek. Finally I walked downstream, but it apparently wasn’t there either. Yet there it was as I gave up the chase and walked back. What a thrill to finally see the my first Mandarin Duck ever!

Mandarin Ducks are closely related to Wood Ducks, which I saw and photographed for the first time earlier in April. Wood Ducks are beautiful too, but “In full plumage, the male Mandarin is the most beautiful of all ducks,” according to one website. They are uncommon, “near threatened or of special concern,” because of certain humans, including loggers, hunters, and poachers. Fortunately, they don’t taste good to us, so we don’t hunt them for food.

A Male Mandarin Duck at Clear Creek

A Male Mandarin Duck at Clear Creek

Click on the picture above to enlarge
The Mandarin Duck on the Creek's Bank

The Mandarin Duck on the Creek's Bank

Click on the picture above to enlarge

This Mandarin Duck and I were alone together on Clear Creek long enough for me to take 166 pictures of it with my new Canon 7D camera before the sun went behind a cloud. Otherwise, I might have taken even more. Thank goodness for digital!

My good luck held. And my patience earned its reward.

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