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

Clear Creek

April 8th, 2012 · 3 Comments

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This Easter morning Sharon and I hiked trails on both sides of Clear Creek in Wheat Ridge’s Prospect Park, which is 22 miles south of my Boulder apartment. The previous evening I had hiked all around Kountze Lake and a large but apparently unnamed pond in Lakewood’s Belmar Park, just 7 miles further south. Close, but what a difference!

Yesterday’s outing was pleasant but produced few photographic rewards. Today’s practically wore out my camera. In fact, after taking 1,220 photos, the camera’s battery died. By that time, however, we had already seen far more birds than we had expected.

Sharon and I got to the trailhead before the sun did this morning. As soon as the sun illuminated the cottonwoods and other trees along the creek, the birds were there as if waiting for their portraits. First in line was this nuthatch.

I didn’t mistakenly put this photo upside down. Nuthatches are one of few birds that can move head-first down trees.

A White-breasted Nuthatch Goes Down

A White-breasted Nuthatch Goes Down

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Just two minutes later this woodpecker called — loudly.

A Red-shafted Northern Flicker Calls

A Red-shafted Northern Flicker Calls

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Then the flicker drummed — even more loudly. You can hear and see it in following 3-second video clip:

Next in line was a pretty little bird that deserves a better name. This is a House Finch.

An Adult Male House Finch Perches on Top

An Adult Male House Finch Perches on Top

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When we looked even higher, we saw a pelican flying slowly overhead.

A Great Egret Flies Over

An American White Pelican Flies Over

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Near the western end of the Prospect Park trail along Clear Creek we came to West Lake. There we saw the first of many cormorants today.

A Double-crested Cormorant Carries Nesting Material

A Double-crested Cormorant Carries Nesting Material

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Then, the cormorant turned around. Apparently the reed was then dry enough for the cormorant to fly off to its nest with it.

The Cormorant Takes Off

The Cormorant Takes Off

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The Cormorant is Airborne

The Cormorant is Airborne

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The next bird we saw thrilled me so much that I took almost 200 shots of it alone. Selecting a couple to show you took more time than shooting them did.

“Wood duck!” Sharon explained. Indeed, right ahead of us was one of the most colorful ducks in North America. These are my favorites shots.

A Male Wood Duck Walks

A Male Wood Duck Walks

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The Male Wood Duck Rests on a Rock in the River

The Male Wood Duck Rests on a Rock in the River

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After watching this beautiful bird for almost 10 minutes, I didn’t crave more. But then it came to me anyway.

This little gray kingfisher has been one I have wanted to capture with my camera, but it had always been too quick for me. Previously, I had been able to photograph two different kingfisher species and only in Belize and Panama.

A Belted Kingfisher Takes a Rare Rest

A Belted Kingfisher Takes a Rare Rest

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And we weren’t finished yet. Yesterday one of the few beautiful birds that I had been able to photograph were shovelers, but they were all pretty far away. Today we saw them close to us in Prospect Lake, and they were more active as well.

Two Male Northern Shovelers Work Side by Side

Two Male Northern Shovelers Work Side by Side

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One Northern Shoveler Stands in the Lake to Dry Its Wings

One Northern Shoveler Stands in the Lake to Dry Its Wings

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The next bird we found is not only beautiful but is also one that I had never seen before.

A Male Green-winged Teal

A Male Green-winged Teal

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The Female Teal Shows Us Her Green Wing

The Female Teal Shows Us Her Green Wing

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By late morning after 3 1/2 hours of some of the best Colorado birding that I can remember we returned to Boulder. It was time to recharge my overworked camera’s battery and to select these shots.

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Posted in: Photography

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ezra Alit // Apr 30, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    Thanks for those too. Beautiful!

  • 2 Les Bygrave // May 2, 2012 at 4:44 am

    Fantastic photos. I would be interested to know what camera and lens you use to get such close looking pictures of the birds.
    Thanks for the quality information included in your web pages. Keep up the good work you do.
    Best wishes Les Bygrave

  • 3 David Mendosa // May 2, 2012 at 7:24 am

    Dear Les,

    Thank you! Yes, bird photographers have to have a long lens. I use a Canon 7D (with a Canon 50D as my usual backup). My usual lens in the Canon 100-400mm telephoto zoom.

    David

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