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

The Bluebirds are Back

March 25th, 2012 · 1 Comment

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Yesterday I remembered that Betasso Preserve had a couple of benches with beautiful views to the east, when in the afternoon the sun would be at my back. In the continuing mid-70s weather I wanted to get out and read on my Kindle Touch, and a bench surrounded by nature struck me as the best place for it.

I remembered too that Betasso Preserve didn’t allow bicycles on Saturdays and that the 3.3 mile Canyon Trail through ponderosa pine forest was a loop, my favorite sort of trail. I reckoned that the snows of winter would probably be gone from the trail even though the preserve is up in the Front Range, 1000 feet higher than Boulder. The preserve lies between Fourmile and Boulder canyons, 11 miles from my apartment.

While I went to the preserve on Saturday afternoon to hike and read, I made sure to take my camera, even though I had taken few photos there over the years. I love Ponderosa pines, but haven’t yet figured out how to capture their beauty. The only distant view is from one of my favorite benches on a side trail. The tall buildings are University of Colorado student housing, the only buildings not subject to the city’s height limitation.

Looking down on Boulder from Betasso Preserve

Looking down on Boulder from Betasso Preserve

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I didn’t expect to see any birds. My friend Sharon and I had hiked the Homestead-Towhee loop off the Mesa Trail in the morning in hopes of seeing bluebirds. But the only birds we saw were Spotted Towhees, the first I had ever seen on the trail named for them. That was appropriate, but I had better shots of a towhee a month ago at Red Rocks Trading Post.

But the bluebirds were back at Betasso yesterday. I could hear them calling almost as soon as I hit the trail. This is the call of a Western Bluebird. Then, I saw them. It wasn’t hard.

A Male Western Bluebird Surveys the Scene

A Male Western Bluebird Surveys the Scene

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A Pair of Western Bluebirds on a Branch

A Pair of Western Bluebirds on a Branch

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A Female Western Bluebird is Less Blue

A Female Western Bluebird is Less Blue

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Almost four hours later I reached my favorite bench about two-thirds of the way around the loop. The bench sits at the southwest corner of a large meadow that slopes down to the north and east. I always stop there to rest, but yesterday I stopped for an hour to read. Since all the trees were distant, I didn’t expect to see any bluebirds. But when movement in the meadow attracted my attention, I looked up from my book and saw the unmistakable cobalt blue of a Mountain Bluebird a couple of hundred feet in front of me. Quickly setting down my Kindle and grabbing my camera, I moved closer, even though I was almost sure that the bird would fly away before I got there. Still, if I hadn’t tried, I would be sure to miss the shot. While the bird dashed from one place to another, it remained on the meadow and let me approach much more closely.

A Male Mountain Bluebird Rests

A Male Mountain Bluebird Rests

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Western and Mountain Bluebirds are just 7″ long and weigh just 1 ounce each. These little birds pack a lot of beauty in a small package.

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Posted in: Photography

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Beverly Williams // Mar 26, 2012 at 6:51 am

    Thanks David for sharing these beautiful pictures. Some of us have never had a chance to see these beautiful birds.

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