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

Sawhill Ponds

May 29th, 2012 · 3 Comments

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Sawhill Ponds this morning could not have been more beautiful. I had full sun, pleasantly warm weather, and nary a breeze. The birds were pretty nice too, particularly a pair of Osprey. And I had the whole place to myself for all three hours of my visit.

Just eight miles northeast of my home in Boulder, Sawhill Ponds is a wildlife preserve owned by Colorado Parks & Wildlife and managed by the City of Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks Department. The 18 ponds are reclaimed from an early gravel mining operation. Around the ponds are about two miles of designated trails and another mile or two of social trails, all of which I have hiked in the past and most of which I hiked this morning.

One of the 18 Sawhill Ponds below the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains

One of the 18 Sawhill Ponds below the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains

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I started by finding my nemesis bird. It wasn’t hard to miss.

So-called Red-winged Blackbirds are not only one of the most abundant birds in North America but they are also one of the most brightly colored. Still, I have been surprisingly unlucky in capturing good images of them. I have tried in vain to capture good photographs them in flight, where they show off their red-and-yellow shoulder badges. But sometimes when they are proclaiming their territory, like today, their shoulder badges are easy to see.

Red-winged Blackbirds don’t have red wings. The have shoulder badges or epaulettes, which they puff up or hide depending on how confident they feel. This adult male was confident.

"See My Badges!"

"See My Badges!"

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Another member of the blackbird family is less common here. Yellow-headed Blackbirds live mostly in Mexico but come here to breed in the summer. In the case of this bird I can’t find any fault with its name.

The Male Yellow-headed Blackbird Shows its Distinct White Wing Patch

The Male Yellow-headed Blackbird Shows its Distinct White Wing Patch

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As beautiful as these blackbirds are to me Ospreys give me even more of a thrill. The Osprey is sometimes known as the sea hawk, fish eagle, or fish hawk. This large raptor eats almost nothing but fish, so the Sawhill Ponds are perfect for it. A pair of Osprey lives there and had just raised chicks. I photographed both of the adults today. My only problem was selecting my best shots. Here are four that I like.

Calling its Mate

Calling its Mate

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Ready to Fly -- Notice the Fish Hooks

Ready to Fly -- Notice the Fish Hooks

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The Osprey Flies Over to Check Me Out

The Osprey Flies Over to Check Me Out

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Just Landed with Some Pretty Big Wings

Just Landed with Some Pretty Big Wings

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Starting my day at Sawhill Ponds got me away from my desk and out in nature. It was good.

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Posted in: Photography

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Bill Ross // Jun 1, 2012 at 9:23 am

    David,
    I enjoy your blogs and photography. What camera and lens have you been using for the long bird shots?
    Thanks,
    Bill Ross

  • 2 David Mendosa // Jun 1, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Dear Bill,

    Thank you. I use a Canon 7D with a Canon 100-400mm lens almost all the time.

    David

  • 3 Ruth Pinder // Jun 2, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Thank you for the beautiful pictures

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