Saw an Old Friend

Made the journey back to Eleven Mile Canyon today, wanted to check on the progress of the bald eagle triplets! I usually drive up the canyon first to see if there is any action in the upper reaches but today I decided to go directly to my favorite bald eagle viewing vantage point. The eagles were my primary goal and I didn’t want to miss the golden

Eaglets at Eleven Mile Canyon

hour. It didn’t take long to ascertain that all three eaglets are still thriving and growing stronger. The last time I was there they still lacked the confidence to hop onto the outer branches but today they stood proudly on those branches flapping their wings furiously 🙂 It won’t be long before they are in flight, probably a couple weeks from now. I’m sure the oldest will take flight first followed by the other two with the youngest one a week or two behind.

I had hoped to see the parents but after a couple of hours I decided to take a cruise up the canyon to see what might be going on upstream. It was a quiet and lazy summer day in the canyon today, spotted a few pelicans in flight and a pair of great blue heron soaring high above the river but I guess all the other animals were sleeping. I was not aware that herons liked to soar like eagles, but apparently they are more than willing to put those giant wings to use on a beautiful sunny Colorado summer day 🙂

Great Blue Heron Pair

I was able to snap a couple of shots of the herons but with such great distance the images are nothing to shout about but at least I have a record of the sighting! The return trip down the canyon was no more eventful until right at the end… Just as I was ready to depart I heard the sound of the “angry birds”, the unmistakable sound of peregrine falcon running off an intruder! Last year the cliffs at the entrance to the canyon were filled with them, but up until today I had not seen any in the canyon. As I quickly looked up I got a fleeting glimpse of a pair of them scampering into their little crevice in the rocks high above. I marked where they went in by the white stripe of bird poo below their entrance.

Osprey Perch

I sat for a bit in the truck and looked for them through my long lens but the road is narrow there with a steep cliff on the other side. I didn’t want to block the way so I drove on out to the outer parking lot and hiked back in. And here is where I spotted my old friend… The osprey high on the very top of a dead tree on the top of the ridge above where their nest fell. I snapped a few distant images of him just to prove the sighting before climbing the old mountainside for a better look from my favorite vantage point. However by the time I got up there he had already taken off and all I got was a glimpse of him flying over the ridge. He and his mate must have taken shelter on the back side of the ridge after their nest fell, as I have seen them a number of times going back there.

So… the pair continue to linger around their nesting area, perhaps they will migrate south together in the fall and return next year to build again. I sure hope so, the loss of their nest has left a huge void in my summer plans 🙁 I never did get a picture of the peregrine, it may be that they are quietly nesting in the cliffs, it seems to me that my images of them last year were in late August through September, probably after their young have grown.

Triple Eaglets

I did get some good footage of the eaglets trying to fly, so I hope you enjoy the video on my Youtube Channel! Please like and subscribe if you enjoy the content, it really helps me in the rankings to have lots of interaction from the viewers!

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