Made a visit to Eleven Mile Canyon with no particular goal in mind other than to see what the upper reaches are like in autumn. I’ve spent time at the entry to the park watching the osprey nest but it has been a very long time since I have actually been all the way through in autumn.
I was a bit early in the season for peak color along the banks of the South Platte but it was nice and cool along the river and still picturesque. As I passed the first tunnel and entered into the prime territory for hawks and eagles I spotted a huge bird in a tree right beside the road. Being a bit out of practice I pulled up way too close and by the time I got my camera ready for bird photography the handsome raptor was already on his way to the next tree.
I did catch a couple images of him as he watched me and then flew away again, but they were in shadow where as if I had gotten the first image he would have been brightly lit in the glorious light of the early morning sunshine 😦 As it was the shots I got required massive noise reduction as they required ISO 12,800 to freeze motion on the great bird as he took flight.
As I drove upstream I soon spotted another large raptor in a dead tree along the water. Much to my surprise it was one of our osprey pair, still in the area a full month after their expected departure in late August. This fellow was very active on this morning and he entertained me for about an hour as I followed his exploits up and down the stream. Later I also saw his mate watching from high above on a tree near the top of the ridge.
Eventually the osprey and other raptors caught the warm air currents of this beautiful autumn morning and drifted ever higher and finally out of the range of my camera.