Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fairview Reservoir: November 2012

Someone apparently turned on the "No Vacancy" sign at Fairview Reservoir last night.  Or I haven't been paying attention to just how many Canada Geese have been coming to take advantage of our neighborhood hospitality.  It sure seemed like overnight, our pond had become squawking room only.

We have a pair of these waterfowl that I haven't been able to definitively identify.  Bigger than ducks, smaller than geese, black bodies, green heads, white throats and not at all afraid of people.  Common Goldeneye, maybe?  Whatever they are, this one tried to eat one of my bootlaces.

Hugh Kingery with the Audubon Society of Greater Denver solves the mystery: "That thing is a domestic hybrid of some sort. We see a similar duck on a pond near our house. Yours looks like ours -- odd intermediate plumage and a robust shape including the bill. It doesn't qualify as a wild bird though I always wonder where these things come from."

Thanks, Hugh!

It was fun being able to catch the sun from just about every conceivable angle by walking the perimeter of the pond.  Some perspectives were too washed out, some had too much contrast and some were just right.

The birds weren't exactly skittish, but they clearly felt more comfortable having a lot of open water between themselves and anything moving on shore.  They didn't freak out when I approached.  They just calmly and deliberately swam away.

But when they thought the shore was safe, many of them seemed to prefer being there.

I'm starting to appreciate what it takes to get a great shot of birds in flight, which this really isn't.  The right light, you moving the camera in sync with the movement through the sky, catching the wings in a position that doesn't look completely awkward and getting the focus nice and crisp all have to combine in perfect harmony.  Definitely a challenging skill.

Joggers and dog walkers should be on notice.  The forecast calls for heavy accumulations of goose poop on the trails!

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