The Eagles are Back and Another First

Bald Eagle CanyonWell after what seems like forever, I was finally able to return to Eleven Mile Canyon to check on the eagles. First I had to get my brakes fixed, then it was tie rods and ball joints, then it was a week of RSV and today I finally made it out!  I was first greeted by one of our nesting pair at the nest, a very good sign! I haven’t seen them since they left the nest in the spring after the young one took flight! Then I saw the other one up in the canyon a few times and managed to get a couple good shots of him. I tried to get some video but the settings on my camera were all messed up and I didn’t want to miss the still shot of the flight so I abandoned the idea. He was a bit jumpy today so I knew I didn’t have much time!

A little dark-eyed junco paid me a visit so I got a shot of him, and then I saw some ducks that looked a bit unusual. Turns out they are called the American Wigeon.

 

 

 

Storm Warning

Also don’t forget to check out my books and calendars on Lulu Press and Amazon including my latest, “Storm Warning” and this year’s wildlife calendar “Colorado Wildlife 2023“! As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website 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!

Coyote on the Hunt
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Frosty Cliffside

The sun was slow to rise this morning so I was thinking it was probably either snowing or very foggy. As it turns out it was both and the idea entered my head to just sit in the warmth of my house and enjoy my coffee.. but when it started to get light and I had a look at the beauty of what was going on outside I knew I was going to have to get out in it. I decided upon Eleven Mile Canyon,

Frosty Forest

thinking how  beautiful it would be in all white and how amazing the eagles would look in such magnificence! Plus we are very close to the eagle migration, giving me even more hope that there would be eagles to photograph!

Well, by the time I got to the intersection of Teller 1 and Hwy 24 the snow and clouds were all gone and the sun was shining. But with only 8 miles to go to the canyon it didn’t make any sense to turn around. There were no eagles at the nest, no snow on the roads and no ice in the river, nothing to indicate that the winter day I envisioned was even a fantasy.

Frosty Forest

I drove all the way to the end of the canyon without seeing a composition or an eagle and just turned around. That’s when I saw this scene… it appeared that the fog had recently rolled out, leaving this beautiful delicate white frost on the branches of aspen trees along the canyon wall. So I took my eagle lens off and put on the 24-105 with the circular B&W polarizer and took a few shots. Lucky thing I did, those were the only compositions I saw all day!

Storm Warning

Also don’t forget to check out my books and calendars on Lulu Press and Amazon including my latest, “Storm Warning” and this year’s wildlife calendar “Colorado Wildlife 2023“! As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website 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!

Coyote on the Hunt

First Snow

Fresh Snow on Pikes Peak

We had our first  real snow in the southern mountains this week. And of course I was compelled to go out in it and get some pictures! The south face of Pikes Peak isn’t that impressive, but in the right conditions a decent picture can be made! I was hoping for more from my trip to Eleven Mile Canyon yesterday, but it would seem the eagles weren’t as impressed with the weather conditions as I was. I should have known, after all these years of photographing them I have discovered that eagles don’t like snow and wind and they will hunker down for a day or two to avoid it. It seems like they would be ready to get out and fly around after a snowy day but that is not the

Winter in Eleven Mile Canyon

case. Perhaps they know the weather is coming and stock up on food, I don’t know… it’s a mystery I haven’t solved yet.

However the snow and ice in the river at sunrise was quite spectacular and I have to say this is one of my favorite captures ever! Usually by the time I come upon this scene the sun is hitting the river and cliffs in the background and even though it looks great to the naked eye… film or an image sensor just can’t seem to take it all in. There was a hint of golden morning light reflecting on the water for this capture taken during the blue hour and I could have used a warmer white balance, but I thought the bluish tint reflected the cold scene better. What do you think?

Also don’t forget to check out my books and calendars on Lulu Press and Amazon including my latest, “Wildlife Photography in the Colorado Rockies” and this year’s wildlife calendar “Colorado Wildlife 2023“!

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!

Coyote on the Hunt
 
 

 

Autumn and a Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle Canyon

I got an unexpected visit to Eleven Mile Canyon yesterday! I was just there Monday hoping to find the bald eagles but there was no sign of the great raptors. Well yesterday’s trip was much later in the day and I really wasn’t expecting much but right there at the bend was none other than “Speckles” as he is called by the locals… perched on his favorite tree overlooking the river.

Unfortunately the light was horrendous and that particular tree puts him about as far from photographers as he could get in this canyon… perhaps that’s by design? Well anyway I thought he was going to eventually fly toward me for a better shot, but just has he started  to get restless he turned around and faced upstream for a takeoff in the wrong direction, as far as I was concerned anyway.

Eleven Mile Autumn

So I got back in the truck and slowly proceeded around the bend, hoping to get into better position for his new plan. Well just as I was getting ready to park he took off and flew right at me. The camera was in the seat next to me but by the time I could grab it, the eagle was over the ridge and out of sight. I didn’t see any more bald eagles the rest of the day, but it’s good to see at least one of our nesting residents alive and well!

The river and the fall colors however were beautiful and I found one stretch of river worth getting out the wide angle for. I’ve found that my old 24-105 F4L works great on the Canon R7 and I’m really happy with the color and contrast I’m getting with this oldie but goodie!

Bald Eagle Canyon

Also don’t forget to check out my books and calendars on Lulu Press and Amazon including my latest, “Wildlife Photography in the Colorado Rockies” and this year’s wildlife calendar “Colorado Wildlife 2023“!

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!

Coyote on the Hunt
 

Autumn in the Garden

Quite a day today… Made the big circle to Eleven Mile Canyon, all the way to Garden of the Gods, Mike’s Camera to drop off a roll of film and then back home! Saw raptors, deer, fall colors… and even made a stop at REI, my happy place 🙂 Snagged a good deal on a 5 degree sleeping bag while I was there… now I’m almost ready for a winter trip to the Sand Wash Basin to see the wild horses!

Autumn Does

I was hoping to see some bald eagles in the canyon, but the only life I saw there were a few American dippers, a couple of bunnys and a little herd of doe mule deer wandering around. Fortunately I was also prepared to shoot some fall colors as the canyon was spectacular this morning, with a bit of fog to accentuate the scene 🙂 I also brought my Canon A-1 film camera along to finish off my roll of color film for drop off later in day. We’ll  get to see those in a couple weeks.

By the time I made it to Colorado Springs I was glad I had all my polarizers along, they came in handy on every lens I had with me! There is nothing better than a polarizer to bring out those fall colors and tamp down the haze and bright highlights. Unfortunately autumn in the Garden is following the pattern that we are experiencing up here in the high country, many leaves already down but some still green. And there isn’t one smidgen of snow on the east face of Pikes Peak, so it is just a giant fairly uninteresting brown rock in the background.

Anyway, please enjoy a few more images from today’s shoot, and don’t forget to click the links after the pictures to shop for my latest books and the 2023 calendar!

 

 

Also don’t forget to check out my books and calendars on Lulu Press and Amazon including my latest, “Wildlife Photography in the Colorado Rockies” and this year’s wildlife calendar “Colorado Wildlife 2023“!

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!

Coyote on the Hunt
 
 

Most Special Day of the Summer

Today will probably go down as the most special day of the entire summer. Last summer began tragically when the osprey nest in Eleven Mile Canyon was blown down in a storm with the loss of all three eggs. I saw the osprey occasionally throughout the summer but never both of them together. The literature says the nest is the glue that keeps an osprey pair together for life and if the nest is destroyed there is no guarantee that the pair will return as mates the next year. At the end of the season when the warmth of summer was  giving way to the cold of winter I was fortunate to be present when the pair met at a tree near the old nest, perhaps just as they were preparing for their 4,000 mile journey to their winter location in South America.  One of the birds was repeatedly bringing sticks back to the tree and dropping them on what looked like a good place to rebuild a nest. Some stayed in the tree and some fell on the ground, but it appeared like the one was trying to say to the other, this is where we are going to meet next year. Eventually it started to rain and the beautiful moment came to an end, but not before I got a nice video of the moment!

Osprey in Eleven Mile

Well this spring I was diligent to visit the site often near the end of April and the beginning of May. I was there when the first of the pair arrived, waiting faithfully at the chosen tree. I never did see a second osprey and there was no nest built this summer in that particular tree. Once again, I spotted a single osprey occasionally throughout the summer but never two together and I was never able to track down the location of a new nest. Osprey offspring begin to fly in August and by the first of September they are expected to be self sufficient. The parents appear to begin their migration about the first of September just to make sure the new ones are forced to gain strength and perfect their skills before the bad weather comes in and they too must migrate.

But the bad news was up until today I had not seen any sign of juvenile osprey in the canyon. I had almost given up, but today I had errands to run in the city and decided on a swing through the canyon on my way home. As I was driving upstream against the sun I spotted a bird in a tree over the river. At first I thought it was just a crow but I got out the binoculars to make sure. It was definitely not a crow, through the glare of the sun it was obvious the bird had a white head. I got out the camera and moved about a little trying to locate better light. A little better light revealed an osprey but still the scene was so severe I was unable to tell if it was an adult or a a juvenile. Suddenly I heard the familiar chirp of an osprey and a second raptor was flying upstream with a fish in tow. Soon both birds were flying together in a joyful dance in the sky and I was able to capture one of the my best images ever!

Eventually the pair landed in a tree nearby in much better light and I was able to capture a couple of nice portraits, revealing the fact that we now have two new osprey in the canyon 🙂 That means of course that the pair returned and built a nest somewhere else in the canyon, hatched two eggs and all is right with the world 🙂 I hope to visit the little ones a couple more times before they make the long trip south where they will remain for a couple of years before finding a mate for life and begin the circle of life anew .

 

 

Also don’t forget to check out my books and calendars on Lulu Press and Amazon including my latest, “Wildlife Photography in the Colorado Rockies”!

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!

Coyote on the Hunt

Coyote on the Hunt

Canon R7 and New Birds

I’ve been busy lately!!!! Setting up a new camera and shooting some new bird species! So I have upgraded to the Canon R7 from my old 90D and I’m loving it! The manual for this camera is 1000 pages long though so it has taken me a bit of time to get it all set up the way I like it! We went to Manitou Lake and Eleven Mile Canyon yesterday in hopes of getting some high ISO images to test the camera’s low light capability, plus I wanted to try out DXO Pure Raw on some noise.  In the process I captured some new  birds, according to Merlin anyway… Saw some red-breasted merganser ducks, a green-tailed towhee, and a flock of broad winged hawks!

It was great having the amazing animal eye focus on the R7 helping me with the in flight pictures… The old 90D focus system actually came from the ancient Canon 80D and it was a difficult beast to control. The focus points were so far apart that the camera would often lose tracking and just go completely out of focus. The R7 with it’s newer mirrorless technology uses a completely different focusing system that enables the entire screen for thousands of focus points. There is no losing the subject with that system! Unfortunately there wasn’t much action at the lake, just a few birds perched in the reeds, no osprey, herons or pelicans flying around.

Oh, and I like DXO Pure Raw but will stick with Topaz for it’s amazing flexibility and convenient workflow. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the images!

 

 

Also don’t forget to check out my books and calendars on Lulu Press and Amazon including my latest, “Wildlife Photography in the Colorado Rockies”!

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!

New Species in the Canyon

Yesterday was the day for my weekly visit to Eleven Mile Canyon. Unfortunately with gas prices the way they are I’ve had to limit my visits to the canyon to once a week. They day began with an apocalyptic looking cloud of dust enshrouding the entire landscape,  the result of tremendous winds we’ve been experiencing this spring. The wind from the night before had never subsided and was still buffeting my truck as I traveled down Teller County Road 1 to the canyon.

Bald Eagle Nest

I was unable to see eaglets in the nest at the entrance, probably due to the wind. I could see the mother eagle was fighting to stay on her perch on the edge of the nest as powerful gusts threatened to unseat her. I imagine the young ones instinctively know to keep their heads down in such conditions.

I watch carefully for osprey in the lower mile or two, as that is they formerly chose for their nest. However there were none to be seen on this day. There was also nothing at the bend, no eagles and not even the often seen blue heron that seems to have made that part of the canyon home for the summer season. However not too far past the bend we spotted a blue heron, then another… and another. All together there appear to be at least four of the great birds nesting somewhere near that relatively calm section of the South Platte River, good information for future visits!

Double-Crested Cormorant

Just beyond there another bird flew in and took up a position high on the giant rocks lining the river. A quick look through the binoculars identified the visitor as a double-crested cormorant, a first for the canyon! We snapped a few pictures of the handsome shore bird and continued on. Our experience with that particular bird at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal led us to believe that he might be comfortable standing on the rocks for a considerable amount of time… more than we had the patience for to be sure.

White-Faced Ibis

Another mile upstream another large bird revealed himself, a species I had never seen before… a large heron looking shore bird with the beak of an oversized sandpiper and unusual red and greenish markings. This one would have to wait for identification until I could get home and feed the image into Merlin, my bird ID application. Eventually I would learn that this was a white-faced ibis… another canyon first! Further investigation indicates that this species as well as the cormorant are expanding their range as climate change warms the higher elevations of the Rocky Mountains.

Eventually the osprey flew over, but my equipment let me down on this encounter and I was not able to acquire focus lock as the great hawk circled overhead. Hopefully it won’t be long before the much anticipated Canon R7 mirrorless upgrade to the 90D is available and focus issues will be a thing of the past! I understand the new animal eye focus is quite incredible!

High winds often made audio impossible for the video I was shooting, but I still managed to get a few seconds of footage of the new visitors to the canyon, I hope you enjoy the short video on my channel!

If you enjoy the content and would like to contribute to the cause, please feel free to click the donate button below!

Elk Herd on a Beautiful Rocky Mountain Evening

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

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!

First Eaglet of the Season and Video

Decided to drop in yesterday and check on the eagle’s nest at Eleven Mile Canyon hoping to capture some video of the recently hatched little ones. I saw Mama eagle in the nest as I passed on my way into the canyon, and satisfied that there were still thriving offspring I continued on in hoping to get pictures of osprey and great blue heron.

Beaver in Eleven Mile Canyon

Unfortunately there were no osprey in their favorite stretch of river but as I cruised upstream I spotted an unusual object in the water. It looked like a big rock but I had never seen a rock like that in that location so I pulled the truck to a stop and readied the camera. I was surprised when I zoomed in to discover a giant beaver just sitting in the river, apparently hoping for food to float down the river into his waiting mouth.

Beaver in Eleven Mile Canyon

I snapped off a couple pictures while honing in on the best exposure settings, so I was prepared when he began to swim slowly downstream. I was able to capture a few nice images of his sleek form in the water before he was too far away.

I continued upstream and was soon at the big bend where I spotted a great blue heron fishing in the shallow calm water. I was only able to capture one image of him standing still before he took flight as I was fiddling with my camera settings.

Great Blue Heron

Those were my only opportunities for wildlife images along the river so on my way back downstream the second time I decided to stop and capture some motion blur images of the rushing water on a section of river that I had been considering for that purpose. The weather was beautiful in Cripple Creek when I left home but as usual the canyon was brutally cold. By the time I was done fiddling with the tripod I was near hypothermia and decided to cut the project short. I managed to capture a couple of technically correct images but none that satisfied my artistic desire. Perhaps next time.

Whitewater in Eleven Mile Canyon

Next stop was the nest on my way out of the canyon. I attached the camera to the tripod to try to get some steady video footage while looking through the binoculars for the eaglets poking their heads above the nest. While I was commenting that I couldn’t see the little ones, a tiny head appeared over the rim of the nest and I was fortunate to capture a cameo of one eaglet. There may be more to follow but one is all I could verify on this day.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the pictures and video of the first eaglet of the season to appear above the nest!

Eagle and Eaglet

And of course if you enjoy the content and want to contribute to the cause, please feel free to click the donate button!

Elk Herd on a Beautiful Rocky Mountain Evening

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

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!

The Eagles Were Home

It was a good day in the canyon, got some great pics of a bald eagle upstream, both eagles were at the nest and at least one great blue heron has arrived!

 

 

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!