Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Chatfield State Park: November 2014

Extreme weather often creates unique photo opportunities. So with the mercury hovering around a balmy five degrees this morning, I decided to head over to Chatfield State Park to see what I could see.

Juvenile Bald Eagle, Chatfield State Park
At my very first stop, an adult bald eagle flew right over my head and perched on a tree near the water.  I trudged closer to try and get a decent shot, but it left before I could get close enough.  This bird was also in the tree, and it also took off right as I started snapping.  I think it's a juvenile bald eagle, but I'll ask for some help from the good member of the Front Range Wildlife Photographers Facebook group.  It seems odd to me that raptors are more skittish than most of the birds they prey on.

EDIT: Luis A. Ramirez from the group concurs that it's an eagle.

Magpie, Chatfield State Park
I had more opportunities to shoot magpies today than normal.  They didn't seem any more abundant than usual -- they just weren't moving as much.

Magpie, Chatfield State Park
I'd never seen a bunch of birds look so cold.  But they certainly had valid reason.

Canada Geese
As this flock of Canada Geese flew overhead, I could almost hear them saying, "We're clearly not far enough south.  KEEP FLYING!"

Hooded Mergansers, Chatfield State Park
I spotted these waterfowl out of the corner of my eye driving over a bridge.  They clearly weren't your normal mallards, so I turned my car around, stopped at the closest parking area and trudged over to the water to shoot them.  Turns out they're skittish, too.  They flew off as I was bumbling my way through the vegetation near the shore, and this was the best shot I could muster.  I'll be looking for an ID for these, too.

EDIT: Carol Wade from the group says they're hooded mergansers.

Red-tailed Hawk, Chatfield State Park
And yet another ID needed.  I think it's some sort of hawk, but it was pretty big.

EDIT: Luis to the rescue again -- red-tailed hawk.

Chatfield State Park
It's hard to take a picture of cold.  But that's what I was trying to do with this shot.  Dead trees, dead grass, patchy snow, grey skies and mist obscuring the background.  That's just how it felt.

Kestrel, Chatfield State Park
This kestrel gave me a little something before also deciding it would prefer to be elsewhere and flying off.

Chatfield State Park
These cascades near the border with South Platte Park never disappoint.  The mist coming off the water added a little something extra to a scene I always enjoy anyway.

I surprised myself by spending nearly three hours in the park.  Granted, most of that was in my car.  But my toes still haven't completely thawed out!

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