Saturday, January 19, 2013

Making The Time

Finally!  I caught the beauty and detail of the Northern Flicker in flight.  Look at the lovely underside of this bird!
Finding the time to bird with loved ones around can be challenging, BUT I'm here to say that it's possible! I caught onto the birding phenomenon later than some folks.  It's an addiction.  Sometimes I don't even want to do the photography as I want to just count birds.  But I NEVER leave the camera at home.  If I had, I would have been disappointed missing out on these moments.
Northern Harrier
While everyone slept during the morning hours, I got up early and put on my heavy jacket, grabbed my camera, and headed out that door.  One of the things I learned from Kathie was that you don't have to go far to bird.  You can bird at feeders in backyards or you can head out to city parks.  In most cities, there are lots of parks just minutes away from residential areas. Within 10 minutes of walking, I arrived at Cheyenne Meadows Mountain Park.
I felt recharged and relaxed.  Remember most locals take their bird populations for granted.  For an outsider, this was exciting stuff.   I was finally able to capture a Western Bluebird with great detail as well as the Bushtit!  I had spotted this bird in Bosque Del Apache but was disappointed by the photography.  They were too far from my camera.  But in Colorado Springs, I heard them in the bushes and called out to them.  And they all flew out to greet me.....and that's when I was able to accurately ID and get detailed shots of them.
Western Bluebird
While all this was going on, there were kids playing football out in the fields.  While all this was going on, a Northern Harrier came out for some great viewing.
And while in Colorado Springs, keep your eyes open for some amazing wildlife.  It's everywhere!  The city has done a great job preserving and protecting their animals.  I wanted to stop for all the incredible deer opportunities but we kept driving past them.  They are very common apparently.
While we were in Colorado Springs, it snowed and the waters froze.  It wasn't difficult to spot birds but what was tricky was going at "birder pace" with non birders.  By the time I'd get to see a bird, it would fly off and disappear. So this stroll in the park allowed me to really observe known and unknown birds better.  The best part about most birding is that it's free while still super entertaining:)
And while birds are the primary target, animals, plants and other fun things are wonderful additions.
And all while this was going on around me...... bush, on ground, in the air........
.....around the snow.......
.....a lifebird......the Townsend's Solitaire(below) flew into my life.  A good day indeed!

So, I'd highly recommend visiting local parks wherever you travel because they are full of wonderful discoveries.  All you have to do is make the time:)


  1. Well, you really hit the nail on the head in regard to all the things in nature going on around you! All you have to do is slow down enough to see it. That brisk morning walk must have been so exhilarating!!! I love days like that!

  2. Wonderful post. Chris! It is nice to find places close to home for birding. Love the cute Bushtit and the Western Bluebird is one of my favorites. Great shots! Have a great weekend and happy birding!

  3. Some lovely photos there Chris and some great birds. Love the photo of tree and roots that looks like an ent! Local parks are worth visiting and, as you say, one of the joys of birding is that you can do it anywhere. Even if you are stuck in the house the garden will be full of birds :)

  4. You are really enjoying, it is so obvious! Of course your shots are all beautiful, but i love most that one with a black smilie and polka dots at the breast! It looks so lovely for a pet!

  5. Nie często mam okazje iść do parków, ale robię to. Nie mam jednak tyle szczęścia co Ty. Może za późno chodzę, bo nie wczesnym rankiem :). Pozdrawiam.
    It's not often I get a chance to go to the parks, but I do it. But I'm not as lucky as you. Can I go too late, because there early in the morning :). Yours.

  6. Great captures here, you must have been one happy birder, Chris.
    I started my birding addiction late in life also and I could not be happier enjoying the awesomeness of nature.

  7. thanks for taking us to your special places...whether you're counting birds or not!!
    your pictures are awesome, as always! beautiful!!

    i LOVE the second shot...the Harrier...AND the tree root shot, where it looks as though the tree is trying to step up higher out of the cold snowy ground!! =)

  8. Super post. Yes, birds are indeed everywhere. I'm fairly new to birding and am quite surprised to find so many different kinds of birds are in Ontario during the winter months.

  9. Great post Chris! I enjoyed all of the photos.

  10. Too true! Some of the best photo ops happen at these parks too, where the birds are a little more tolerant of people. They don't have quite the variety or rarities of the bigger sites, but I'd have gone insane long ago if not for the urban birding areas around Phoenix!

  11. the snows are pretty. like that cute little bushtit!

  12. You've taken me back to our vacation in Grand Junction and Boulder with this post, Chris. Whilst there I saw all the birds you have images of here, except the Northern Harrier. Even saw a solitary Townsend's Solitaire on the Front Range outside Boulder. Thanks for bringing back those memories.

    I'd love to go back but, as mentioned before, I couldn't persuade my wife to go. Must try and find a workround!

  13. You discovered a new passion and I'm glad you share it with us. Don't think I've gotten a shot of the Flicker and I love to see them fly by with that up and down pattern plus just give a peak of that orange color.

  14. Local parks are great! I'm sure the other parents at the park always wonder why I'm staring off at the trees. The only good thing about leaving the camera home is it usually ensures you will see something really grand, and then spend the day kicking your self that you missed a photo:) I love that last photo of the train passing through the snow covered land!

  15. We love Colorado Springs also ---but were there to find and check out waterfalls and not birds...

    You found a bunch of great birds though... Beautiful shots. The Northern Flicker is one of my favorite birds...

    Have a great week, Chris.

  16. Always an open the air, on the ground, to what moves, to what is permanent. Sounds like designing a garden, from initial site visits to plan to final construction!

  17. The Townsend's Solitaire is beautiful, and indeed it is a thrill to see a bird species that is new to you for the first time. I am totally wowed by your picture of the gnarled tree roots with patches of snow on the ground!

  18. A really successful trip Chris. Your first two images are fantastic, how satisfying it must have been to get your shot of the Townsend's Solitaire. You're so right when you say we take the birds in our own backyards for granted, I discover that every time I post one of my wild bird images. Till next time, happy birding!

  19. It was certainly well worth 'making the time' Chris! You have a lovely selection here. Congratulations on the Townsend's Solitaire and also on the lovely Bushtit and Western Bluebird photos. The latter reminds me a little of our (slightly smaller) English Robin.

    We have had more snow here again!

  20. You caught an amazing shot of the flicker, love the red tips of colour, like bits of stained glass.

  21. How wonderful! You really hit paydirt with this park! The Harrier is amazing! Just loved seeing them all. Plus, great shots of the snowy views there. Colorado Springs is a neat place.


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