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 donโ€™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 todayโ€™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!

Beautiful Eleven Mile Canyon

Whitewater in the Platte

Please enjoy this short film of the whitewater in Eleven Mile Canyon! I was hoping to spot the eagles and the osprey but I had to settle for the beauty and power of the roaring whitewater on the South Platte River. I did enjoy setting up the tripod for some long exposures of the water which due to my early arrival I was able to accomplish without an ND filter.

I was fortunate to spot a small herd of bighorn sheep along Highway 67 on my way home and was able to get a few nice captures and a nice video of the big animals interacting along the mountainside!

Bighorn Sheep Herd

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 itโ€™s creation was purchased by me on my own volition.

Springtime in the Canyon

New life abounds everywhere and water levels are finally rising in the South Platte River. I hope you enjoy my new video of osprey along the banks of the river plus beautiful scenes of bald eagles raisin triplets!

When Eagles Soar

It was another excellent day with the eagles… My original intent was to just go for a hike on my trail close by, but the second I arrived so did my nemesis with his wildlife chasing dogs. So I jumped back in my truck and took the four wheel drive road to the summit to make sure there wasn’t any wildlife there, and indeed I didn’t miss anything. So I drove back out and decided to head to my backup location and better photo location, Eleven Mile Canyon. It was my hope that I would find wildlife there, especially the eagles. I’m also watching the osprey nest with great anticipation!

Bald Eagles in Eleven Mile Canyon

All in all I would have to say it probably worked out for the best, I had several eagle sightings and some great captures! Plus there was a bonus at the end as I spotted a small herd of mule deer feeding on an island in the river. I stopped to grab a couple of captures and the gentle creatures didn’t seem to mind my presence so I was able to get some fairly closeup images. And much to my surprise the little herd decided to actually cross the icy river… an event that I came close to missing. Fortunately I was able to scramble up the trail a bit and get into position to capture most of the beautiful beasts in the water ๐Ÿ™‚

Be sure to check out my video of the day which has the best clips and pictures of the day included. Also please be sure to click the notify, like and subscribe buttons if you enjoy my content and want to help my YouTube channel!

Mule Deer Doe in River

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!

This blog post is not sponsored. Any equipment used in the production of this post was purchased by myself on my own volition.

ย 

ย 

ย 

ย 

The Osprey Family

Gray mountain jay getting a drink

A visit to Eleven Mile Canyon Colorado can never be a disappointment and today turned out better than usual ๐Ÿ™‚ Of course I had to check on the eagles when I arrived but they were already gone from the nest. It was a beautiful morning so I imagine they were soaring high above Eleven Mile Reservoir in search of fish for their lunch.

So I drove over to the entrance and paid my fee to enter the park. I cruised along slowly over the awful washboard dirt road hoping not to shake my poor old truck apart ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I’ve photographed the river rapids so many times that I really wasn’t looking for the best scenery in the river, I was more looking up on the cliff on the west bank for eagles or hawks. It wasn’t long and I

Robin by the River

spotted a nest on a dead tree right on the other side of the river, so I stopped to check it out.

I was surprised to notice a little movement in the nest so I got out my long lens and found a spot for a better look. I could barely make out a couple of little heads moving around in the nest so I went down to the river for a couple of shots. Fortunately a little grey bird flew in to entertain me during the semi down time, stopping for a drink in the golden water of a Rocky Mountain sunrise. Eventually the little fellow flew away and a robin came to visit with a mouthful of weeds she was apparently planning to use for her nest.

Osprey Mother and Chick

I went back up to the bank and was happy to see that the large birds were starting to rustle around. It wasn’t long before one of the birds flew out and took up a perch on a tree branch that was a good distance away. I snapped a few pictures which I may have a use for someday, but I ended up with much better ones that are commanding my attention first.

Soon I could see the mama bird and a couple of little ones stirring around. The mama caught me by surprise by suddenly flying off and I was upset that I missed my chance for an in flight shot. It wasn’t long though and she was on her wayย  back with a large twig in her beak which she promptly installed in the nest. Then she was ready to go again, and this time I was ready ๐Ÿ™‚

Osprey Taking Flight

After shooting in from that location for a while I wondered if I could find higher ground that would give me a better view of the nest. I looked around and it appeared that the mountain behind me was climbable so I started the climb the steep slope. Eventually I spotted a nice rock that looked like a good seat where I would be able to steady the camera on my knee and have a good 180 degree view of the river over the trees and bushes.

Osprey Taking Flight

The beautiful raptors put on quite a show… the little ones stood up exercised their wings in what appears to be very early attempts to go airborne. They have a ways to go though, they didn’t seem to get any lift yet, where the eaglet I have been watching can easily catch an air current and rise quite a few feet out of the nest. It did make for a great photo op though, the whole event lasting maybe a minute. I got the idea to try to film some video and did manage to capture some cute mother chick interaction and have created a YouTube video for my channel. It’s a beautiful five minute capture of the sights and sounds of my day set to music, so give it a click and a like and subscribe to my channel if you would like to see more!

Osprey in Flight

Finally the father bird left his perch high in the trees and flew off towards the reservoir and after a few minutes he returned with a stick of his own, putting on quite a show by circling the nest several times before delivering his contribution to the nest construction. I thought he would quickly fly off again but he hopped out of the nest and took up a perch onย  one of the dead tree branches forming the foundation for the nest.

Osprey Portrait

It was such a good pose that I decided to try for a portrait and attached my 1.4x lens extension. By this time the sun was getting hot and I was fully aware of the male raptor’s patience for sitting on a perch. He had occupied his tree for a couple of hours before taking flight this time, and it was getting hot and the lovely morning light was giving way to the harsh midday sun… I decided this would be a good time to head for home and take a look at what the day had given me ๐Ÿ™‚

As always, the best of these images 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 don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel if you want to see some ofย  my adventures in action!

Hiking Ann-Marie Falls Colorado

wp-15909461786523841634482648751622.jpgThe most difficult part of hiking the beautiful Anne-Marie Falls Trail on Pikes Peak Colorado may be finding it in the first place! I have long wanted to experience this trail and finally today I was able to fulfill that wish ๐Ÿ™‚ Today is a Sunday so photo buddy Kevin and I met at 7:00 a.m. so we could beat the weekend crowds sure to gather on the Colorado Front Range Trails. Even after diligently studying the trail maps we weren’t too sure of the exact location of the trailhead so I loaded the trail into my Alltrails app and turned on the direction finder. We journeyed down the four mile dirt road on the west side of the peak marked as the turnoff to the

Beaver Ponds on the Anne-Marie Trail

famous Crags Trail. As we passed a blocked gate on the road about a mile past the Crags Trail parking lot, the magic electronic GPS finder announced the trail on the left which didn’t jive with the narrative so we just kept driving.

Finally at the end of the Crags road there was a small parking lot and a well marked trailhead with a large map on a sign. We donned our backpacks loaded with camera gear and headed down the trail. The first mile or so was a pretty tough ascent on well maintained trail, but with a couple of breaks and a little Gatorade the climb wasn’t too difficult. The beautiful trail wound it’s way through majestic old pine forest amidst birds chirping happily from the tall pines overhead.

Wilson's Warbler

Finally we began a long descent which culminated in a clearing featuring a picturesque beaver pond which of course we had to check out extensively! We walked most of the way around, occasionally having to take some care not to sink too deeply in the marsh surrounding the pond ๐Ÿ™‚ After capturing the scenery with our wide angle lenses and shooting a couple portraits we came across a colorful cheery Wilson’s Warbler that flitted around us striking all manner of nice poses for a photographer to appreciate ๐Ÿ™‚

Eventually we decided to continue on in search of the falls, for which we had not seen a single directional sign. We walked back to the trail where we debated returning the way we came,ย  continuing on or exploring a totally unmarked poorly maintained trail leading towards the southwest and

Wilson's Warbler

Sentinel Point in the distance. It was here that my practice of recording the hikes onto my Alltrails profile proved to be quite advantageous! A quick check of my phone screen revealed our location at the beaver pond and a stretch of unfinished trail leading in the direction of the faint trail along the creek flowing out of the south end of the placid water of the dammed pond.

We opted to continue down in search of the falls where soon we heard the babbling of rushing water.ย  With some indication of success, we were inspired to continue in the direction of the encouraging sound where before long we found the tiniest of waterfalls. Perhaps during the snow melt this might be an impressive falls but in the early summer it is just the pleasant trickle of a beautiful pristine mountain stream. Here I snapped a few pictures of the falls and the tranquil calm spot at the base of the diminutive waterfall.

Anne-Marie Falls

After a nice break we headed back up the trail to the junction where the GPS indicated the possibility of a loop that might cut some distance and a long climb up the steep ridge! We began walking up the alternate route where I checked our location occasionally and indeed we did find ourselves successfully closing in on our final destination without having to climb the ridge again! Eventually we found ourselves on Forest Road 383 which ended at a blocked gate, the place where the direction finder first indicated a trailhead about a half mile down from the parking lot and the main trail marker.

Speaking of GPS, I highly recommend hikers on obscure trails in the Pike National Forest have some kind of direction finder. There are unmarked trails and jeep roads going everywhere and without some high tech assistance it would be quite easy to head off in the wrong direction and turn a beautiful day into a trying experience.

As always, these pictures and 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 tech gifts are also available including the newly added Covid masks! You can also purchase apparel, coffee mugs, battery chargers, phone cases, blankets and pillows and much more!

Anne-Marie Falls

 

Eleven Mile Winter

Eleven Mile Canyon in Winter

Something I’ve always wanted to do… See the headwaters of the South Platte River flowing through Eleven Mile Canyon in wintertime. Shouldn’t be that hard to do but I never seemed to have the right tires or brakes or time or whatever… But yesterday it finally all came together and I made the journey! I was kind of thinking about leaving my truck at the entrance but that idea was quickly abandoned when I got out to pay. Dang it’s cold in that canyon! Apparently the canyon walls are quite good at holding in the cold!

The road was snow packed and icy in places as I entered the canyon but as the road

Eleven Mile Canyon in Winter

turned to the west bare dirt greeted me and it looked like the journey should be doable even in a two wheel drive truck. As I drove past the roughest part of the river, a place where I usually climb down to the riverside for some shots and video of the roaring whitewater it became apparent that climbing on the banks was going to be out of the question in winter. Oh well I thought, I was sure the riverside would be accessible in other places.

Eleven Mile Canyon in Winter

And it was in a few places but mostly a riverside visit in the Rocky Mountain winter is a pretty treacherous endeavor ๐Ÿ˜ฆ In some places there was just deep snow to go through, but in others it was ice so solid that my Ice Trekkers were not even enough for traction. And in other places there was an icy shelf over the river bank so that it wasn’t possible to tell where the bank ended and the river began. One wrong step and one might find himself on an unpleasant winter swim in the icy waters of a raging Colorado river!

So getting pictures turned out to be a very difficult proposition. In summer you can pick

Eleven Mile Canyon in Winter

yourself right down to the waters edge to get past the vegetation that lines the entire bank for an unobstructed view of the river. But in winter so many good views are ruined by a bush or a tree or just bramble sticking up from the riverside. Getting just the right angle on the view is so important but I was simply not able to do that yesterday.

But I certainly enjoyed myself and had a great morning along the beautiful river. The canyon is always a beautiful sight to behold with it’s magnificent cliffs and eagles soaring overhead. Unfortunately the times I saw an eagle I was equipped with a wide angle for shooting the river. When I put on my long lens I could not find an eagle anywhere!

Well anyway, I did manage to get a few pictures I like, some of which are up on my website for purchase as wall art onย  glossy metal or acrylic sheets and I also was able to put together a nice movie called Eleven Mile Winter on my YouTube site ๐Ÿ™‚ Don’t forget to subscribe if you like the video and want to be notified each time a video is published!

Also note that I was not sponsored by Ice Trekkers, I purchased them with my own funds because I think they are a good product and frequently find them useful on my winter adventures! I also recommend using a trekking pole or cross country ski poles for safety as you climb the banks of the river in snow!

Eleven Mile Canyon in Winter

The Leap

Bighorn Sheep In Waterton Canyon

Cold and windy out today, some sort of freezing rain / fog / light snow going on, covering everything with a sheet of ice. Were my trail not closed by the mine for their stupid drainage system maintenance I probably would have gone out in the weather to capture the stark white scene, but with the trail closed I’d have to take a long drive on the pass for forest access and that just is not in the cards in these conditions.

I’ve had this picture on my mind for a few days though, from my mountain bike ride

Bighorn Sheep In Waterton Canyon

into Waterton Canyon last week. The rams just walked into the river and then powered through to the other side. This ewe however took a different approach. She climbed up on the rock and watched the rams cross. When the rams began feeding on the lush grass on the other side she just took the leap, winding up in the water about a quarter of the way across before making a run for the other bank splashing water everywhere. It was quite a sight! I had considered switching my camera to video to capture the action but in the end decided that stills would be the more prized result ๐Ÿ™‚

As always, these images and more are available on my website for sale as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas, and traditional framing and matting. Tons of cool gift items, apparel and handy household gadgets and tech items are also available with a picture. Click to explore!

Bighorn Sheep In Waterton Canyon

Sheep and a Rattler in Waterton Canyon

Pretty good day of photography in the Canyon, although for a while there it was looking like a shutout. We mountain biked in to the usual bighorn viewing area where there was sign but no sight of the iconic western critters. But we had all day so we just continued with our ride up the canyon hoping for a chance to photograph the bigger rams and maybe even the bears.

Cormorants on Rock in River

Eventually we passed all the good locations with still no photo ops with the bighorn. People coming back down from higher in the park offered little encouragement. Discouragement began to settle in and we stopped for a break at one of the picnic areas in view of a pair of cormorants sunning themselves on the rock they have called their own. Soon volunteer ranger Joe stopped by to chat and provide some knowledge on his way on foot to the upper reaches of the canyon, which of course was a pleasure and welcome advice ๐Ÿ™‚ Word was that the bear was in the area and that the big rams had been seen further up the canyon in recent days.

We passed the rock mitigation area and continued on up the canyon where finally we

Bighorn Sheep In Waterton Canyon

saw some of the ewes and lambs playing and eating on the cliff walls in the beautiful colors of aspen and other flora in full autumn glory. Eventually we continued on in hopes of seeing the big guys, but once again, people coming back down had not seen anything. We reached the crossover where a bridge takes you to the other side of the South Platte River, which was our planned turnaround point. The river is quite beautiful there and I decided that would be a good place to get some river photo and video before heading back down. Feel free to click on the video link to my Youtube channel and subscribe if you like!

Bighorn Sheep In Waterton Canyon

On our way down we encountered another herd of ewes and youngsters playing on the road so we stopped for a few more photographs before continuing to the park entrance. word of a rattlesnake in the road gave hope for another photo op, but again… no word of the big males sheep. Unfortunately well after it was too late to do anything about it we received the disheartening word from one of the rock mitigation workers that a herd of the big rams had been seen somewhere in the upper part of the canyon. Later we learned that a herd of rams had put on quite a show crossing the river near the dam. Dang I would have loved to have photographed that event!

Rattle Snake in Waterton Canyon

Soon the rattlesnake came into view so we stopped and put on our long lenses in hope of getting some nice shots from a safe distance! The little fellow was quite content lying in the sun and didn’t get too worked up about our presence. He did curl up and hiss when a truck went by, giving us a little better opportunity for pictures before heading on out of the canyon. In a way it was disappointing outing, but any chance to mountain bike in the canyon is always a plus, wildlife photography or not!

As always, a few of the better images have been uploaded to my website and are available for purchase as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional framing and matting. Tons of cool gift items and handy household gadgets are also available with one of these images, including coffee mugs, t-shirts, battery chargers, blankets and pillows, handbags and much more! Just click the links to explore!

Platte River in Waterton Canyon Colorado

Dumb Mistake

Whitewater in Eleven Mile Canyon on the South Platte River

Me and the big dog went out again this morning in search of the beautiful buck mule deer that we’ve been seeing on the trail… We didn’t see the bucks but there was a nice looking elk cow meandering across the meadow that was visible when we reached the summit of our little mountain. My camera was ready to go… or so I thought, so I zoomed in and snapped the shutter. The usual satisfying mirror slap and shutter click sounded a bit off but I paid it no mind and captured a few more before she disappeared into the dense wilderness of the Pike National Forest.

Eventually our trek was complete and we found ourselves back at the parking lot where Whitewater on the South Plattte in Eleven Mile CanyonI gave Big Dog his drink and loaded ourselves back in the vehicle. As usual I made a quick check on the LCD screen of the day’s captures… First picture I looked at didn’t look too good, out of focus maybe? I always refocus a few times to make sure I get the shot so I checked another hoping to find at least one usable picture… no such luck, I stupidly didn’t check the mode wheel on the top of the camera and it was still set to Aperture Priority, which was still set for a long exposure of the river a couple of days before. Absolutely no chance of getting a sharp image of a moving elk at dawn with a 30th of a second shutter speed ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Nothing else to do but hit the reformat button on the memory chip and vow to do better next time.

That means I have nothing to work on today except the trip to Eleven Mile Canyon earlier this week. No wildlife to share today, but I do have a few more of the South Platte River whitewater for this blog!

As always these images and more are available on my website for purchase as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Cool gift items, apparel and handy tech gadgets are also available… just click an image to see the options!

Whitewater in the South Platte River in Eleven Mile Canyon

%d bloggers like this: