Stunning Morning and Eagles

The stars all aligned this morning for a visit to Eleven Mile Canyon. Due to the Rocky Mountain National Park trip I haven’t been there in a while and I Bald Eagle Nesting Pairam always eager to check on the status of the raptor population. As I pulled into the parking lot just before sunrise I could already see two white heads in the nest. So I leapt out of the truck and made my way down to the riverbank as quickly as possible. Fortunately they were still there when I was finally ready to snap a picture 🙂

Pair of bald eagles who call Eleven Mile Canyon Colorado their home

They put on a pretty good show in some very nice light for a few minutes. One of them flew off for a few minutes and came back with a stick for the nest while the other hopped out of the nest and up to their strategic branch. Eventually the other one  took off and flew into the canyon, something I’ve never seen them do before… I was expecting a quick return so I waited motionless as long as I could… But it was cold this morning, and I just got colder and colder until I could barely move my fingers, and that was with gloves on! Finally I had to put my hands in my pockets and risked missing a shot.

Little Sparrow by the Water

In the meantime a sparrow came to the other side of the bank to entertain me and a flock of red wings went by… males and females flying together in the same flock, also something I hadn’t seen before. I somehow managed to get a nice shot of one of the males coming in for a landing in a thicket of reeds.

Red Winged Black Bird in Flight

The eagle never came back from the canyon and and eventually the remaining raptor took flight and few toward the lake, a lucky break for me because they usually fly directly away from me when they decide to go. This time I got a nice shot against the  blazing blue Colorado autumn sky 🙂

At that point I walked my shivering self back to the truck to get another layer to put on under my field jacket. As I prepared to make the trek up to the dam I spotted something in a tree high above the river valley… Could it be one of the osprey? I snapped a picture and tried to zoom in with the LCD viewer but I could tell is that it was a large bird.

Bald Eagle Nesting PairThen all of a sudden he took flight as well and I did my best to capture him in flight… I haven’t processed that image yet but on the LCD it looked like it might be the red-tailed hawk that occasionally watches over the entrance to the valley.

Doe Mule Deer in the Woods

My final bit of luck came as I stood on the dam… as I looked up from the dam onto the trail above I spotted a doe mule deer peering out from the woods… As quickly and quietly as I could I readied the camera for a picture and she watched me curiously while I grabbed a few images. Finally she meandered into the dense forest and the moment was gone.

I hiked a few feet up the trail and spotted the rest of the herd looking out from the edge of the forest and they too watched curiously as I moved about with the camera trying to get the best angles.

Bald Eagle in Flight

I considered walking into the canyon but by this time the weekenders from the city were already piling in, stirring up huge clouds of dust and I wasn’t up for all the noise, engines roaring and fishermen yelling at each other from all ends of the canyon… The trip home was uneventful and now I’m in front of the computer where I will spend a good part of the rest of my day 😦

These were my  favorite pictures dozen or so that I’m going to publish later this morning. Please feel free to visit and follow my Instagram page for the rest of this morning’s plus hundreds more!

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What about One Sparrow

I have heard it said recently, “God does not care about one lion.”. I beg to differ. The earth and all that is in it is a masterpiece created by the hand of God and there is nothing that was created that was created by accident. From the book of Matthew it is said, Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.”. So if God has His eyes trained on each and every sparrow, how much more is a sentient lion with offspring and emotions worth? Or for that matter, an elephant or rhino or monkey in a cage at a testing lab terrorized every day for it’s entire miserable life?

Sparrow in the Pike National Forest of Colorado

Sparrow in the Pike National Forest of Colorado

From the very first man Adam, it has been the responsibility of man to name and care for the animal kingdom and we are not doing a very good job of it. According to the Washington Post, lion populations in Africa have been reduced from 100,000 to 32,000 in fifty years. The Guardian quotes Dune Ives regarding elephant populations, “This species could be extinct in our lifetime, within one or two decades, if the current trend continues,” Dune Ives, senior researcher at Vulcan, a philanthropic organisation run by US billionaire Paul Allen, said. “In five years we may have lost the opportunity to save this magnificent and iconic animal.” Many other predator species including America’s treasured wolves and wild cats are rapidly headed for extinction at the hands of poachers and trophy hunters. These animals are important to their Creator and to the environment itself. When too many of them are killed the species lower on the food chain tend to overpopulate causing habitat destruction and sometimes even rampant disease affecting both animal and human populations. Even though the current outpouring of grief is for one animal who endured terrible suffering for a day, the bigger issue is the massacre of wildlife that cannot be replaced once extinct.

I have heard the animal rights activists who were broken hearted over Cecil called wimps for their grief over “one lion”. Would be somehow be tougher and more manly if we were impervious to the suffering of one of God’s creatures forced to endure an entire day of agony from having been wounded by a trophy hunter’s errant arrow? Even if no human being cared about the “one lion”, the God who makes sure that not one sparrow falls to the ground without Him was with him every step of the way. God cares for the “one lion”, all the wildlife on the continents, the Marines killed at Chatanooga and the millions of babies murdered in the slaughter houses of Planned Parenthood. His love is not limited to one species, one race of people or people of a certain age. And He has appointed watchmen to care for it all, some for the animals, some for the babies, some for the poor and some for the sick. Recently hundreds flocked to the Salt River to save a band of beloved wild horses. Are they somehow evil because the did not instead flock to Chattanooga to mourn for the Marines killed there? Of course not, they answered the call of their Creator and sprang into emergency action and saved the herd. Thank God for those who can still hear the call when it comes.

In the end, the Bible predicts that mankind will not be able to gain control of his hatred and greed. He will unleash his weapons of destruction to destroy the earth and it’s inhabitants, but God will not have forgotten His precious creation and will finally take vengeance on those who destroy it. From the book of Revelation, And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.”. Best not to be on the wrong side on that day.