One of our local Colorado State Parks is a favorite destination for us to get outdoors, with limited time, and get in some wildlife viewing and photography. Most times, in the spring, that means birding.
In Florida, we have a year round abundance of osprey. I was worried that I would miss these beautiful birds, but I haven’t found that to be the case … except of course for the quantities. In fact, the osprey both spend the summers here in western Colorado and also nest and raise their young here. Furthermore, the osprey can be found in 49 of the 50 US states! I really had no idea.Another bird that is found in almost all states, but here they’re primarily spending their winters, is the merlin. Interestingly, we found this one in the spring, but with the mild winter that we had perhaps there wasn’t much of a signal that it was time to move on. :-O This one was so beautiful and quite cooperative for the lens.One of our year-long residents is the American kestrel. Being one of the smallest raptors (other than several species of owls), the kestrel can often be seen on power lines and poles throughout our neighborhood. They hunt in the rural fields and nest here as well.Around the shores of the lake, you can always count on the killdeer. Easy to spot because of their running around, seemingly at a frantic pace, and also their calling out … also franctic. LOL. So beautiful with the red ring in the eye and their lovely markings.A whole host of other shorebirds share the shoreline with them.One of my favorite sightings locally this late spring was that of a few eared grebes. Fully dressed in their breeding plumage, these two followed each other around the lake, often times mixing it up with the coots and a few western grebes. The eared grebe is the most abundant grebe in the world. Another amazing fact about the eared grebes is that they spend 9-10 months of the year essentially flightless … the longest of any bird that has the ability to fly!That amazing red eye is undeniable … your eye and that of the camera lens gravitates right to it. Splash in those organge feathers contrasting with it and … oh wow! With eared grebes, the sexes appear similar. In the winter, they are much more drab looking. Lucky for all of us, they emerge into this amazing plumage.Right behind them in their beauty are the American avocets. Their grace in flight is unmatched … well, except by perhaps the black-necked stilts. These long-legged shorebirds possess that thin, long. slightly upturned beak with black and white feathers patterned on their back and sides, as illustrated above. The images ahred here are those which are adults in breeding plumage.They feed in the waters on insects, crustaceans, and invertebrates. I just love it when they feed or drink in the water, especially when the droplets of water coming from their beaks is captured through the lens.When we photographed them wading in the shallow waters, some were sleeping, some simply resting otherwise, and then one was just showing off for the lens. LOL. I loved the symmetry of this image. ❤Of course, where there are birds and smaller wildlife … there might also be foxes. Lucky for us, we spotted this beautiful red fox exploring its surroundings … probably looking for a quick meal.Yep it’s such a wonderful place to get out and explore and the best part is … you NEVER know what you’re going to find!
Next up: Let’s go a bit NE of our home … and see what we find. 🙂
© 2018 TNWA Photography / Debbie Tubridy