Quite an Assortment

I’ve seen quite an assortment of critters at the Canyon lately! My latest trip was pretty much centered on the bald eagles, and a cute little family of Canada geese… there isn’t anything much cuter than the little yellow goslings following behind their mother! However recently I’ve seen cormorants, a white faced ibis, great blue heron, eagles, red-tailed hawks, beaver, deer, American dippers, robins, and a ton of little sparrows that are hard to identify without referring to Merlin, my bird ID app from Corning University. Anyway, I just wanted to put them all in one place in this cute little gallery 🙂 Also be sure to view the video of our rapidly growing eaglet!

 

 

And don’t forget to check out my books and calendars on Lulu Press and Amazon!

Elk Herd on a Beautiful Rocky Mountain Evening

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

Spring in the Canyon

The canyon was full of life this morning! There were bald eagles, juvenile eagles, osprey, blue heron and a ton of little song birds. So amazing to see it this way after so many months of bitter cold. I tried a little experiment today, I left off the clear filter that has been attached to my 100-400mm lens since I got it a couple of years ago. I’ve been aware of a slight ghosting on distant objects for some time now but have been unable to determine the source of the problem. I thought it might be a known problem of moisture building up in the lens hood when the lens is warm and the air is cold but that didn’t seem to be it.

So this morning I focused on Mama eagle and took off the filter. Not positive but I think maybe it was a little more clear. So I tried today’s shoot without it. Unfortunately I was really tired this morning and wasn’t really able to concentrate on what I was doing so I don’t think I did that great of a job focusing, but the pictures are still nice. Hope you enjoy them !

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings! And don’t forget to check out my books and calendars on Lulu Press and Amazon!

Bald Eagle Glory

Bald Eagle in Eleven Mile Canyon

The bald eagles in Eleven Mile Canyon seemed extra majestic today. Speckles was on his favorite perch when we arrived, but proved too wily for us at that first sighting. Before we could get a shot off he was soaring upstream, wings glowing in the early morning sunshine. We soon found him on our favorite tree just on the other side of the river. This time we were more stealthy, parking behind cover and approaching quietly on foot.

The one called Speckles allowed us to draw near and get in a few good portraits before taking flight, this time in a tree high on the ridge and out of range of our cameras where he remained the rest of the day. Fortunately  I was able to capture a few good images in our brief encounter, hope you enjoy them!

 

Bald Eagle in Eleven Mile Canyon

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

Eagle Action at Eleven Mile

Bald Eagle in Eleven Mile CanyonI try to make it to the canyon at least once a week to check on the eagles. Very soon I expect to see the female sitting on eggs in the nest but that day was not today. When I arrived there were no eagles near the nest, only a red-tailed hawk a little further upstream. However I was happy to find Speckles on his favorite tree up by the bend, just waiting for me to photograph him :)

I pulled in as close as I could and trained my long lens on his position high in the tree. The light wasn’t very good so I hoped he wouldn’t stay right there very long but unfortunately for me I must have arrived shortly after he did. He took his sweet time preening his feathers and looking around until my arms and hands were about to fall off from holding the heavy equipment. My hand kept going asleep so I had to keep shaking it out to keep it from going numb and I was sure I was going to miss the inevitable flight.

Bald Eagle in Eleven Mile CanyonEventually he called out and a few minutes later his mate arrived in a tree a few feet upstream. They chattered together for a few minutes and then he flew upstream. Fortunately after an hour of waiting I just happened to be ready and managed to capture a couple of nice in-flight images before he disappeared around the bend. I was glad to see his mate, I haven’t seen her with him this season and am glad to see she’s doing well. Eventually she flew upstream as well so I followed in hopes of better light.

Bald Eagle in Eleven Mile Canyon

I spotted them together at the south end of the bend and hoped that I’d be able to capture them together, but just as I got there Speckles flew off. I decided to wait and see if he might return and sure enough in a few minutes he flew back in and circled the river before landing on their old favorite tree, my favorite one to photograph 🙂 Eventually both eagles departed and after one more trip up the canyon they hadn’t returned or landed where I could see them. Typically they like to go soaring about that time of day so I just headed on downstream to take another look at the nest.

This time one of the nesting pair was at the nest for a few minutes before flying off and soaring high into the northern sky.

 

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

Battling Eagles

Bald Eagle in Eleven Mile Canyon

There was a commotion in progress when I reached the entrance to Eleven Mile Canyon, the screeching of eagles was echoing all about the tall cliffs surrounding the nest. I saw the nesting pair flying to and fro and then I spotted the intruder, a hapless juvenile that had come too close. I didn’t see the initial mistake, but arrived just as the nest owners were making sure there were no challenges to their ownership. The young eagle was in no mood for a battle with the older more experienced raptors and quickly relinquished the sky by rapidly descending to the snow below. He looked a bit stunned as he walked around in the snow before being

Bald Eagle in Eleven Mile Canyon

once again confronted by one of the intrepid pair. The smaller and younger bird leaned over onto his back with talons aimed upward while the bigger adult threatened with talons from above.  Soon the adult flew away and the youngster was back on his feet, none the worse for the wear and ready for a quick exit from the scene.

My theory is that this was one of their offspring from the previous breeding season, thinking that a visit to the old homestead was a good idea. He quickly learned that eagle family roots are not deep and any

Bald Eagle in Eleven Mile Canyon

ideas of a family reunion during breeding season were quickly dispelled. According to established literature, juveniles migrate and never return to the nest but I’ve seen a few things in the canyon that aren’t supposed to happen so who knows, I like my theory.

Soon the nesting pair settled down and blended into the snowy hillside and peace was restored. I watched for a while to see if the young one would dare come back but after his getaway to the north past the lake it appeared he had learned his lesson.

Bald Eagle in Eleven Mile Canyon

Our next eagle encounter would be at the bend, the most popular fishing spot for eagles from the southern end of the canyon. The one the locals call Speckles, named so for the  dark spots on his bright white head, was fishing from a tree near the point. I pulled over and angled the truck for a good view out the window and readied my camera. I was able  to capture a few nice portraits of the handsome specimen before he took flight and flew right at us. I was shooting from inside the truck while Kevin had gone around front to see what he could get from there. First glimpses of my LCD screen were not promising, it appeared that my camera had been unable to focus on the flight and I hurled a string of insults at it and it’s parentage. Later on I would discover that the camera had captured a fine sequence of the flight and did not fail until it’s operator lost the bird out of frame. I was forced to apologize to my camera and our former cozy relationship has been restored 🙂

Bald Eagle in Eleven Mile Canyon

We saw the great raptor a couple more times and it appears that I have had one of the best eagle watching outings ever. Of course the good day was mostly due to the excellent cooperation of Speckles who seemed to revel in flying right past us on this day. I got many good portraits of him perched and a couple of amazing in flight captures as well. I seem to have achieved optimal settings for this camera for the exposure and focus settings. Those include a 1600th to a 2000th of a second for in flight images and a single focus point for portraits. If I’m lucky and watching intently I can tell when the eagle is about to fly, giving me time to switch to zone focus with nine central focus points

Bald Eagle in Eleven Mile Canyon

activated for the flight. The focus system has an extensive fine tuning system as well which I won’t go into at this time, but perhaps will reveal in depth in a future blog post.

Eventually all the eagles departed the canyon for their midday activities and our day of photography was complete. As we exited the canyon we spotted the nesting pair both perched in a dead tree below their nest watching over their domain. Within two weeks I imagine the female will take up her position on the nest keeping a new batch of eggs warm. With any luck by the end of March a couple of new heads will be visible over the top of the nest. Two years ago there was only one eaglet but last year three made it to flight.  I’m hoping for at least two!

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

Eagles Before the Storm

Bald Eagle in Eleven Mile Canyon

Once I discovered that the storm wasn’t going to arrive until at least 5:00 this afternoon I was determined to pay the eagles a visit. The nesting pair wasn’t at the nest when I drove past so that gave me hope they might be upstream fishing, the best place to get pictures of them! I was nearly to the bend before I finally had an eagle sighting, in a rather unusual place though. One was in a tree on the opposite side of the road, almost straight ahead of me. So I pulled in and angled the truck a bit so that I would have a clear line of sight out the window. It was cold and the wind was blowing so I wasn’t complaining about that at all! Unfortunately it so happened where he was

Bald Eagle in Eleven Mile Canyon

perched there was a stick right across his eye so it wasn’t going to work out for a portrait but I thought I might wait to see if he would fly. After a few minutes the mate showed up and there was a bit of screeching and then they traded places. So what the heck, I watched the other one for a while hoping for a flight. I finally did get a good clean flight shot so I knew my day was a success no matter what else happened.

I drove upstream a few more yards and spotted another one on a branch surrounded by other branches making kind of a nice frame. I was lucky that it wasn’t too bright yet so I was able to get some contrast between the eagle and the blue sky behind. Sometimes when the sky is too bright the eagle’s white head is very difficult to see in a picture. Again I waited for the flight but missed the still because I was shooting video. I’ll put together the video tomorrow, I think I got some nice footage!

Bald Eagle in Eleven Mile Canyon

A few more yards of driving yielded another sighting so once again I stopped for some portraits and missed the takeoff. This guy just sat still way longer than my patience would allow. By the time he took off my arms and hands were cramping up from gripping the camera with the big lens while sitting still aiming the camera.

One last pass yielded nothing so I just kept on driving hoping for some action at the nest. Both of the nesting pair were in the nest when I arrived so I parked on the road, high above the riverbed and aimed the camera. Soon one flew and then the other so I thought my day was over but in just a couple of minutes one was back with a stick and then another with a stick so big it took both of them to wrangle it into place in the nest. Then I was treated to another takeoff and another landing with a stick. Seems the pair are getting ready either for the storm or for the upcoming hatching season!

Well anyway, it was the best day with the eagles that I’ve had in a while and I’m eager to get a look at the video! I can do that during the storm tomorrow 🙂

 

Bald Eagle in Eleven Mile Canyon

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

Checking on the Eagles

Bald Eagle in Eleven Mile Canyon

I had a free day so I decided to check in on the eagles in Eleven Mile Canyon. My last few visits there have been less than stellar so I wasn’t too optimistic, but cold and snow the night before had me thinking this day might be different. I was in the canyon just after sunrise plowing through three inches of new snow, feeling thankful for new snow tires on the back of my truck! Lol, this visit was a first though, I got so tired and sleepy between the tunnels that I had to find a pullout and take a nap 😦 On the other hand it was very quiet that early and the canyon is a great place to take a nap! I’ll have to keep that in mind 🙂

I made it all the way to the end without seeing a thing and made the turnaround. I would make the turnaround one more time without success and then finally spotted the eagle called Speckles in a tree high on the ridge to the west. He was too far for a good picture but of course I had to at least give it a try. It was so cold in the canyon at that time I decided to just move on and hope for a better sighting of a different eagle.

Bald Eagle in Eleven Mile Canyon

I usually give up after two passes through the canyon but decided this day to take a chance and make three. Finally after 10:00 a.m. Speckles was finally getting busy and I found him in a tree down by the water. I couldn’t get a good angle on him from the truck so I grabbed the monopod and hiked down the river a bit in hopes of better light and a better view. I captured a couple of nice shots of him on the branch before blowing my best chance of the day for in-flight pictures. He flew right at me and almost right over my head but I couldn’t wrangle the monopod into position in time and missed the whole event 😦

Bald Eagle in Eleven Mile Canyon

Later on I got a couple more opportunities for in-flight pictures and finally around noon managed to get a picture that made the day feel worth while. I’ll have to get back there soon if there is going to be that kind of action! It won’t be long and our nesting pair will be laying eggs and spending a lot of time at the nest. Remember though, this year the area down by the river in front of the nest is off limits for the reproduction period from January through June.

Keep my book, called “Seasons of the Raptor” about the Eleven Mile Canyon and other Colorado raptors in mind if you are looking for a gift for an outdoorsman or for some light reading in your spare time! The book is also available as an ebook and can be read for free from your Kindle Unlimited account!

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

This post is not sponsored and all equipment used in it’s creation was purchased by me on my own volition.

One Year With the Raptors

Bald Eagles in Eleven Mile Canyon

I just published another Kindle book called “Seasons of the Raptor” about my first big year of raptor photography. Prior to 2020 my wildlife photography always concentrated on the large American mammals, including bears, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, deer, etc. That was of course before I became acquainted with the eagles nest at Eleven Mile Canyon. Since then I’ve upgraded my equipment to be able to actually shoot a clear photograph of birds and actively gone looking for them! I’ve had to upgrade my software to support images shot in low light and difficult conditions and perfect my skills on fast moving small subjects!

The year included  watching the bald eagles hatch three new eaglets, the osprey pair raise two new young ones, some great times with the blue heron, tons of red-tailed hawks, rough-legged hawks, sharp-shinned hawks, a couple Swainson’s, the peregrine falcons at the mouth of Eleven Mile and probably a bunch I already don’t even remember!

Anyway, the book is my best one yet, around 50 pages of my best raptor pictures including the story behind the images. I reveal my strategy and camera settings, how I approached the feathered critters, where and when to find them plus links to supporting video on my YouTube channel!

So if you are on Amazon or a Kindle fan I hope you will consider giving it a look!

Also notice that I have added a link to all my Kindle books on the main menu!

Eleven Mile and a 2x Converter

Had an opportunity to borrow a Canon 2.0x III teleconverter yesterday so I immediately thought of the eagles nest at Eleven Mile Canyon which has always been just out of reach for a good crop with my little 1.4x converter and 400mm lens. As I drove into the park area I didn’t see any eagles at the nest so I cruised on into the canyon in search of the osprey and blue heron and hopefully even the juvenile baldies.

Great Blue Heron at Eleven Mile Canyon

Didn’t see the osprey or the peregrines near the entrance so I motored upstream searching the banks of the river and nearby trees where I have seen the great birds many times. Eventually I spotted a blue heron in a tree, mostly just taking a nap, but looking up every once in while for possible threats. Unfortunately he was on the dark side of the river and with the 2x which introduces a two stop loss of light, my ISO values at a shutter speed of even just 1/800th of a second were up around 10k to even a less workable 12,800k. There was so much noise in the preview that I really couldn’t even tell if I had the image in focus. Oh, forgot to mention, with the 2x I’m limited to F11 and my Canon 90D won’t autofocus with a lens combination smaller than F8.

Osprey at Eleven Mile CanyonUnfortunately I didn’t get another opportunity to photograph until I had been all the way up the canyon and almost back out, when I finally spotted a large bird across the river resting in a dead tree. A quick glance through my long lens verified that the bird was an osprey so I rested my camera on the window frame of my truck and captured a few images. Eventually the beautiful hawk took flight and I was lucky to be ready, capturing a few images of him as he flew off with a fish in his sharp talons.

I quickly exchanged the 2x for the 1.4x which allows for only one stop of light loss and auto focused on his flight against the beautiful blue Colorado sky 🙂 Later as I looked through my images it appears as though the tree the osprey was using to eat his breakfast could be a good candidate for a nest next spring. I hope she or he was taking good notes, it’s going to be a long winter down in the tropics before they return again to breed next spring!

Osprey at Eleven Mile CanyonHappy with my captures I departed the canyon, taking a quick look one more time for the peregrines on the cliffs of the canyon entrance. The eagles nest once again appeared to be empty, but I decided to put the 2x back on to do a magnification check against the 1.4x, just to see what it would be like to watch the nest a bit closer. As I peered through the lens and monkeyed with the focus ring I spotted one of the juvi’s in a tree a few yards behind the nest. I snapped a couple shots of him and decided to go down to the river bank for a closer look.

I grabbed my big tripod with the heavy duty Vanguard ball head and took a better look. Just as I got focused the third young bald eagle flew right in front of the other two and landed in the nest. Quick reactions resulted in a pretty amazing capture of all three of the offspring in one frame drawn in close with the 2x converter 🙂

Juvenile Bald Eagles

So I have to say it was a pretty happy day in the canyon with good images of a great blue heron (taken with the 1.4x), the osprey and the young bald eagles!

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! I should mention at this time that this blog post is not sponsored by Canon or any other firm. All equipment used in the making of the blog and video have been purchased by me on my own volition.

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

This post is not sponsored and all equipment used in it’s creation was purchased by me on my own volition.