Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Third Time is the Charm!

Somehow I scored four days off in a row. Sweet! So the plan was to go for a hike with Hazel and take my camera along. Monday morning turned out to a be a rainy day, so we did a quick hike at coot lake without the camera and headed home to enjoy the rainy day from my couch. It looked like Tuesday would be a good day to hike and photograph but when I got up it was cloudy and rainy again. I definitely was not complaining as we always welcome moisture around here. But it wasn't ideal for photographing so we did a quick hike again and
headed home.......  

Now it's Wednesday and just spectacular! The rain had cleaned the air a bit from all the wildfires. So Hazel dog and I headed over to the eagle trail for a fun hike and some wildlife photographing too.

There's an osprey nest on 55th St a bit off the road. Lucky for me, one of them was sitting on a telephone pole!

The nest is not in a good place for pics as you can see. So that's why I was happy to see one of them close by and ready to pose for pics.

After enjoying the osprey, we hit the trail for a fun hike!

It was definitely a spectacular morning!

The meadowlarks were singing up a storm!

We were heading towards the horse ranch when I spotted a bird crossing the trail. Hmmmm I wasn't sure what kind of bird it was but I've learned over the years to shoot pics and ask questions later. OMG! It was a virginia rail !!!!!! This is a very secretive bird that calls freshwater marshes home. I couldn't believe my luck as this was my first sighting ever! The rail disappeared as quickly as it!

There are quite a few prairie dogs on this trail. Lucky for me, Hazel does not chase wildlife! She doesn't chase prairie dogs, rabbits or deer. So she makes the perfect photographing companion! Yup, she is the perfect dog!

We had just hiked through the west end trailhead when I spotted a small bird. Score! A blue grosbeak! I got a few pics of this beautiful bird years ago but they were not the best quality. Today that all changed! Best pics I've ever gotten of this colorful bird!

           The western kingbirds were singing all along the trail. Finally one posed for me!

             We made it to the small pond so Hazel could getting some swimming time!

This is the view from the swimming pond! 

 After Hazel got some swimming time, we hiked back up towards the trailhead. This is the spectacular view from the top of the ridge! wow!

Well, what a fantastic morning hike we had today! It was worth waiting for!
Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Hiking With Hazel

The original plan was to go for a hike with my sweet Hazel dog and do some photographing on Sunday. Saturday was a rainy day and according to the weather folks, it was gonna clear for Sunday. Nope! Woke up to a cloudy and rainy Sunday. So we went with plan B and just did a fun hike at Coot lake in the rain without the camera. 

Monday was looking promising for our hike/ photographing wildlife, so that was the new plan. I woke up to a spectacular day, so got the kitties fed, packed up the camera and we headed out for a fun morning!
I thought the boulder valley ranch loop might be fun. Hazel could be off leash and there was a good chance of seeing some wildlife, especially birds.

Oh yeah, We barely started our hike and the western kingbirds welcomed us with their song!

 Then the bullock's oriole appeared! These guys are so beautiful! They arrive in early May, build their nests, have their young and head south in August. So I always enjoy seeing these amazing birds!

The bunnies were everywhere! Most dogs would chase them but not Hazel. She really is the perfect hiking partner. She doesn't chase prairie dogs, bunnies or even deer. The only thing she chases is her tennis ball. Thank Dog for that because you can get a fine of up to 1000$ if a ranger sees your dog chasing wildlife. 

The wildflowers are blooming everywhere!

I could hear the yellow headed blackbirds calling down at this small lake. But it's a protected area, so we continued on........

A couple of these sparrows were enjoying the beautiful morning! I'm gonna guess they are chipping sparrows but it's only a guess.

We were just getting ready to hike down the steep hill when this meadowlark started singing his heart out! It is the most beautiful sound!

We finally made it to the small pond where Hazel could cool off and get her swim on!

We were leaving the pond when this female red-winged blackbird posed so nicely!

This whole area is quite populated with prairie dogs but just north of the pond is a great area to get pics of them.

Whenever I stopped to get pics, Hazel would just sit next to me and patiently wait for me. Yup, she is the perfect hiking dog!

We got to the northside of the main trail and saw this sign. Then I realized they had these signs about every 100 feet along the trail. Really? Seems a waste of money to me. There are signs at the trailheads reminding people about dogs chasing wildlife. And even with all these signs, I guarantee people still allow their dogs to chase the P dogs.....

I spotted this meadowlark but he wasn't singing. He had a mouthful of yummy breakfast to enjoy!

We were almost back to the trailhead when we passed this cute family of prairie dog pups.

Back at the trailhead, I decided to walk part of the trail we missed. Sweet! Mr. bullock's oriole appeared and posed so nicely for me!

Well, what a fun morning Hazel and I had! Monday might be my new favorite day to go out photographing with my dog! The trails were very quiet and it was a great way to start the week!
Thanks for reading!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

A Fun Birthday Weekend

Well, the stars all aligned and I ended up with 3 days to celebrate my birthday! So on Friday, I got up a bit earlier to take Hazel for a hike. Before the hike, we headed over to check on my owl friends. I knew one of the owlets was ready to leave the nest and I love to get first morning pics after they have left the nest. So I hustled down the path to see what was going on. I could only see one owlet in the nest but it took awhile to spot the one who had left...

Finally, after searching the surrounding trees, I spotted owlet #1. I could see I had a better shot at a good pic if I got over to the back path. so I made my way over and was rewarded with this shot! A great way to start my birthday weekend!


Sonny was close by enjoying the morning sun!

As I headed back to the car, I heard a familiar sound of the spotted towhee!

Hazel and I had a fun hike over at Coot lake, then I spent the rest of the day getting errands done so that left Saturday free for a big hike!

I decided to go check out Lion Gulch trail. I hadn't been there in over 15 years when Mollydog and I hiked it. It had just recently reopened as it too had been decimated by the 2013 floods. The fun thing about this trail is that is goes to old homesteads from the early 1900's. So Hazel and I headed out for a fun day!

I was quite sad to see how the first few homesteads had deteriorated over time. So the sign saying do no damage was a bit ironic.....

This cute chipmunk wanted to say hi....

We checked out the walker and Griffith homesteads.....

Next time up, I'd like to check these out as I've never hiked in that far...

  This pine squirrel said hi.......

The spring wildflowers are just getting started.....

Whew! What a fun and butt kicking hike that was! Took us about 5 hours and we covered about 7.5 miles! You could still see lots of devastation from the floods but it was a fun hike for sure! 

Now it's Sunday! My favorite day to go photographing! With coffee in hand, I headed out to Barr lake! First I checked to see if any burrowing owls were on Piccadilly Rd but I struck out.
So I drove into the park and headed towards the barn owl nesting box. On the way, the red tailed hawk posed nicely!

The nest box was empty..... 

So I doubled back to head for the gazebo and spotted this immature bald eagle!

A small bird was dive bombing him....

The robins were everywhere but I never get tired of seeing them and hearing their sweet song!

Same with the song sparrows, everywhere singing their hearts out!

There are quite a few coots too! And I got my reflection shot before the wind kicked up!

The killdeer put on a nice show taking a morning bath!

Yes! I was hoping to see the yellow headed blackbirds!

 I got to the gazebo where you can just make out the bald eagle nest on the west side of the lake! The snow covered mountains made a nice backdrop......

I was hoping to see the western grebes courting and dancing on the water. Bummer, all I saw were the pelicans........

This is a female red winged blackbird

And I do love seeing the wrens!

This yellow headed blackbird chose a tree over the cat tail reeds to sing his song!

I was almost back to the parking lot when a flock of blue winged teals flew by. It's part of their courtship, that one female and a group of males fly around. How she chooses her mate, I have no idea! But it's cool to see!

I was done at Barr lake, so I headed over to look for the swains hawks and maybe burrowing owls too. No luck! The swainson nest on Trussville Rd was gone! We had 80 mph winds last week so maybe that was the reason? Also no burrowing owls in the area either.
Oh well, I decided to drive the DIA loop and just as I was coming to Tower road, I spotted a few hawks flying around! Sweet! Swanson's hawks! There were about 6-7 soaring around looking for breakfast!

I was planning to head home but decided to go check on my owl friends. I got word the second owlet was also out of the nest and hanging with owlet #1. I figured it was worth a shot at getting a pic or two if they were in a good spot for pics!
I headed down the back path and couldn't believe my luck! There they were in a perfect spot for pics! Luckily other people out to see the owlets were not aware of the back path and the great views of the kids. So they just got a glimpse of the owlets through the branches.......

Well, it was a very fun birthday weekend! To start it and finish it with owlet pics was fantastic! My friend Georgia and I like to name the owlets. This year we decided on Minnie and Mickey! Stay tune for owlet updates as they learn to fly and hunt throughout the summer.
Thanks for reading!