Sunday, December 26, 2010

Eclipse on the Winter solstice

It was chilly but the perfect night to try and capture the total eclipse of the moon last week. On the night of December 21 I stayed up to digiscope the event. Using my Swarovski spottingscope and 20x60 eyepiece and a Leica DLUX-4 camera with a modified Leica digiscope adapter I got these shots.

The only difficult part was the moon was near vertical and my tripod wanted to tip over being so out of balance. Holding the tripod and shooting a burst of 3 shots at a time helped. I used shutter priority for the most part. It seemed my best results were with shutter speed between 1/160 and 1/180 and the exposure set at -1.5.

Here are the results. All times are mountain time. My only disappointment was not capturing the orange glow of the moon during the full eclipse. I guess I need to work on shutter speed and exposure settings.

Moon pre-eclipse at 9:42 PM 21 Dec

Moon at 12:28 AM 22 DEC

Moon at 12:24 AM 22 Dec

Moon at 12:48 AM 22 Dec

Moon at 12:54 AM 22 Dec

Moon at 1:03 AM 22 Dec

Moon at 01:17 AM 22 Dec

Moon at 01:27 AM 22 Dec

Moon at 01:43 AM 22 Dec

Moon at 01:46 AM 22 Dec

Moon at 01:50 AM 22 Dec

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Walk the Wetlands the first Sunday in November

This past week I joined the Audubon Society of Greater Denver on the “Walk the Wetlands “bird walk in Chatfield State Park. It was a great day with perfect fall weather. Just a couple of days later we got our first snow and cold blow from the north. About 20 or so birders joined Urling kingery and other Master Birders to take in the great weather and the birds of Chatfield.

Our bird count with many already left on their migration was surprisingly good. Here is a list of the species we saw.

American kestrel
White Breasted Nuthatch
House Finch
American Crow
Downey Woodpecker
Common Merganser
Northern Flicker
White Crowned Sparrow
Black Capped Chickadee
American Tree Sparrow
Yellow Rumped Warbler
Golden Eagle
Ferruginous Hawk
Red Tail Hawk

I was without my scope and not able to digiscope but this female Downey Woodpecker came close but hid in the brush. Downey’s are always neat to watch foraging up and down limbs and trunks of trees.

Urling Kingery spotted possibly the last hurrah of a Dainty Sulfur butterfly. The great weather we have been having has enabled this summer resident to hang in there well into November.

A Ferruginous Hawk soared above and took sentinel duty on a hill top about half mile away. Once again I wished I had my spotting scope and point and shoot camera for this digiscoping opportunity.

I love the age range of birders that Audubon attracts on the walks. Nature provides a great bond for kids and adults.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Walden, Colorado trip August 20010

On August 15,2010 our trip to North Park and Walden, Colorado with the Audubon Society of Greater Denver was a great success and enjoyed by all. Lee Farrell and myself lead 12 participants to see the late summer breeding grounds of many colonial nesting ducks, geese, grebes, and a variety of shorebirds. In all our bird count topped 84 species as we traversed several types of high planes habitats. Click here to view American White Pelicans foraging for fish at Windy Gap, Colorado.

The trip began with a rendezvous at the historic Peck House B&B in Empire, Colorado where we began with coffee, beagles, and hummingbirds. The Peck House front porch was abuzz with Broadtail and Rufus hummers. Our next stop after crossing Berthoud Pass was Windy Gap reservoir just north of Grand Lake. Here several species were observed to include a large group of American White Pelicans doing their unique fish herding routine.

The road to Walden from Windy Gap was an education of Pine Beetle devastation. Entire valleys of dead and dying lodge pole pines lined both sides of the road. It will be interesting to see the forest in succession. It will not be fast enough however.

The rest of the day was consumed with an auto tour of the Arapahoe National Wildlife Refuge and the Walden Reservoir. Many shorebirds were noted to include Western, Eared, and Pied Billed Grebes.

The accommodations were at the North Park Inn in Walden which was a great stay.
On Sunday we began an ambitious day with an early morning nature walk in the riparian area of ANWR followed by a trip to Lake John to see Western Grebes with babies on their backs – a real treat to see.

The return trip to Denver was over Cameron Pass and through Pudre Canyon to Ft Collins. Below are just some of the pictures I took.

Our group of 14 North Park travelers.

This guy got away. Walden is the Moose viewing capital of Colorado but not seen ot this trip. This picture was digiscoped on an earlier scouting trip

A neat digiscope picture of a Barn Swallow early in the morning in the Arapahoe National Wildlife Refuge.

This was a shot of an elusive Greater Sage Grouse. A life bird for several in the group. The Greater Sage Grouse is under threat with habitat loss.

Pied Billed Grebe let me get close with my Leica camera.

A big goal was to find grebes with young riding on their backs. Here are 2 shots of Western Grebes parents doing just that.

An overlook of the Arapahoe Nathional Wildlife Refuge. Home of many a Moose.

Diane with our spotting scope trying to find a Moose!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bird walk in Wash Park with The Friends of Washington Park

Had a fun time leading a bird walk for The Friends of Washington Park (FANS) recently in Washington (Wash) Park The winter cold weather was winding down but the partially frozen Smith Lake allowed some close watching of ducks, geese, greebs, and shorebirds. Seeing them this close up is in the urban setting of Denver is a real treat.
Coopers Hawk left overlooks Smith Lake.

Just a Ringbilled but had fun digiscoping from about 60 yards with my Cannon point and shoot and Swarovski Spotting scope.

This Northern Shoveler and about 6 others were in character swimming in tight circles to create vortexes to have food rise to the serface.

Common Golden Eye was a very entertaining diver at Smith Lake.

Most pictures taken with Leica cameras.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


The Eagles, Owls, Hawks, and Falcons of the Northern Colorado Front Range

The winter months bring great raptor watching on the front range with many species checking out nest sites and beginning their courtship rituals. Along the back roads of Weld County and Bolder County north of Denver and midst the spreading sprawl of urban neighborhoods mixed with farms and open space, we found an abundance of Eagles, Owls, Hawks, and Falcons. Our expert guides Harold and Betty Oliver of the Audubon Society of Greater Denver led our group to raptor hot spots and produced a total of 84 raptors including 15 Bald Eagles, 2 Golden Eagles, 43 Red Tail Hawks, 7 Ferruginous Hawks, 2 Great Horned Owls, 12 American Kestrels, and 3 Northern Harriers. It was a great day trip and we plan to do it again on April 18th to check on the nest sites to see how the Eagles and Owls are doing. We hope to see Ospreys by then as they should have returned from South America.

A lone Red Tail Hawk uses a idle oil pump as a pedestal to survey its territory. Click here to see a Red Tail in flight.

Our Birding group a one of many stops looking at raptors on display in their natural habitat.

Many on the road trip took advantage of the photographic opportunities.

These two eagles were close to a nest site in Weld County. We saw them a year earlier on a another road trip. Click on the picture and see a digiscoped video of them watching over a field with rabbits and other rodents. Digiscoped with a cannon point and shoot camera on a Swarovski spotting scope
from 1/4 mile.

This digiscoped Great Horned Owl is on eggs that will hatch soon. We expect her chicks will be available to observe by April. We plan a "nesting" road trip on April 18 to see them. Click here or on the picture to see chicks we observed last year near Chatfield State Park

Our very esteemed Raptor Road Trip leaders- Harold and Betty Oliver of The Audubon Society of Greater Denver. You can do other trips sponsored by the Olivers and ASGD by visiting

We were lucky to get close up views of several Ferruginous Hawks. They are the largest of all hawks and have been considered to be included in the family of eagles.

Click here and on the small picture below to view a short Ferruginous video

We came across this cooperative Bald Eagle sitting on top of a slag rock pile.

We invite all of our Raptor Road Tripper's to share some of their pictures with us. We will give credit and links to any web site promoting pictures of birds and wildlife in their natural habitats. Send your pictures to

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Here is more on our Front Range Birding trip to the Northwest Coast in January. Our trip was with Partnership with International Birding Our trip yielded 114 species including 32 lifers for me. It was quite the winter trip for great photos and digiscoping. We owe Harry Fuller our expert guide all of our appreciation for leading us to all of our finds. Check out Harry's blog

Check out this youtube video of a Black Oystercatcher foraging

Bald Eagle

Check out this youtube video of a Winter Wren defending his territory

Sandhill Cranes over Sauvie Island.

Harlequin Ducks on the Olympic Peninsula

Barrows Goldeneye

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Here are several pictures from our Northwest
Birding trip.

Our intrepid group on a beautiful sunny Oregon afternoon. Trip with our expert guide Harry Fuller of Partnership with International Birding. More photos and trip discription can be viewed at

Black Oyster Catcher on Haystack Rock at
Cannon Beach, Oregon. digiscoped with Swarovski 20x60 ATS HD scope
Right is Haystack Rock

On the beach with scopes and digiscoping in

Mt Saint Helens, WA
Below is part of a large group of Sandhill Cranes.

Many Dulins were seen every day at surfs in
Oregon and Washington. digiscoped with Swarovski
ATS HD scope.
Pictures taken with Leica CLux 3 and VLux cameras.