Prairie Birds

Photograph of a Meadowlark.
Western Meadowlark

One of my favorite birds is the Meadowlark.

They have a unique appearance and aren’t overly skittish. Most of all, I like the distinct song they sing.

This particular fellow was quite cooperative yesterday, sitting on a fence post just a few feet from the vehicle for quite some time. He seemed quite interested in singing to us as we sat there racking off the shutter clicks.

A great way to enjoy Feathers Friday.

Time For Summer Fun

Photograph of an Osprey in Flight
Wildlife in Colorado – Osprey in Flight

Despite the lack of blog entries recently, I’m still alive and well.

I’ve been knee deep in getting my cabin fired up for the summer and this year has been a particularly busy time with several renovations going on.  I’m just about done with that business.

While in Red Feather Lakes, I usually take a spin around the surrounding mountains and lakes to look for wildlife in the mornings at sunrise. I normally come up with something too.

Take this Osprey for example. Found this bird and a bald eagle hunting Lake Letitia in Red Feathers. The Osprey was far more cooperative, performing its hunting acrobatics just 50 yards from me in good light along the lake shore.

I’ll be spending more time in Red Feathers as the summer progresses and you’ll be seeing more photographs from that area as well.  Moose season is beginning and I’ve got two group photo tours going this summer for my Facebook Group, North American Nature, Wildlife and Landscape Photographers Association.  Give us a visit.

 

 

Some Days, All You Have To Do Is Show Up

This morning was a very nice morning of photography at the tree in the lake.

The bird activity was primarily the double-crested cormorants, however, the great blue heron were present and ultimately gave me a present. Photographically speaking.

This morning’s gift was an entire great blue heron mating sequence in good light.

So, guess what today’s entry is going to be about.

These next five photographs explain everything. (Nikon D810/200-500mmVR)

It all starts with the stick. The male great blue heron will bring sticks to his nesting desire. If she likes the stick she will add it to the nest. If she really likes the stick, well, you’ll see.

She likes the stick.

She more than likes the stick. This is “thestick she has been waiting for.

Notice how the feathers on their necks puff up. Look at her gaze at the male suitor. This is the moment they choose each other.

The male asks her to mate and the female obliges by positioning herself in her new family nest.

Once the female has positioned herself, the male mounts her.

I’ll spare you the additional bird sex, but I will tell you that it last about 10 seconds and he’s gone.

Some days, all you have to do is show up.

The Tree in the Lake

Bird Photography by Gary Gray
Double-crested Cormorants Sing Their Mating Songs

With Spring waiting to spring here in the Denver area, migratory birds are beginning to make their way in to the suburban lakes.

One of my favorite locations is a large lake about 5 mile to my north. In the middle of the lake is an island. On that island, cormorants, blue heron, ducks, geese, American avocets and numerous other species gather for the summer.

Today, I broke out the Nikon D800, which is still a fine camera by the way, with a Nikkor 200-500mm VR.

So long as the weather allows, I’ll be out there often to keep track of the progress of Spring mating for these critters.

Great Blue Heron Mating Pair by Gary Gray
Great Blue Heron – Mating Pair

Stay Tuned!

A Bird’s Life

Wildlife photography by Gary Gray
Sandhill Crane – Monte Vista, Colorado

Each year in March, the city of Monte Vista, Colorado is the host of the Monte Vista Crane Festival. This year, it will occur from March 9th-11th.

Monte Vista is less than half a day drive for me, so this will be my next photographic adventure.

There are three main Sandhill Crane festivals that are easily accessible from Colorado.

Bosque del Apache, New Mexico, normally best in early December.

Monte Vista, Colorado, best in mid-March.

Kearney Nebraska, hosted by the Nebraska Audubon Society, March 22-25 this year.

I’ll be in Monte Vista sometime this month.  Hope to see you there.

Photographic Cycles of Life – Pt II

Great Blue Heron by Gary Gray
Great Blue Heron

It’s that time of year. The time of year when the Great Blue Heron begin showing up at the tree by the lake near me.

The lake is still frozen for the most part and this one Blue Heron has claimed a spot amongst the available nests.

The rest should begin filling in by mid-March.