Bird Sanctuary at Estes Park

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House Wren in Estes Park, Colorado

August 24, 2018

This morning, we went in search of moose.  We went to Brainard Lake near the Indian Peaks Wilderness.  We did not see any moose, so we hiked to Long Lake.  We didn’t see any moose, but the views were incredible.  Of course, Regis and I both had long lenses on our cameras and I forgot my cell phone, so we have no pictures of the amazing views.

After our short hike in this air which is significantly lacking in oxygen, I left Dart and Regis at the motor home and went to the Bird Sanctuary near the Estes Park Lake.  My first encounter was with two snakes fornicating.

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Two snakes. The only snake in Rocky Mountain National Park is the Garter Snake and we are in Estes Park, right outside the park. Therefore, I believe these are Garter Snakes. If you look closely, there are two heads. They were in the grass, so it was tough to get a photo.
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Garter Snake in Estes Park, Colorado.
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Possibly a female Red-winged Blackbird Estes Park, Colorado
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Robin in Estes Park, Colorado
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Duck in Estes Park, Colorado. (Two bird books and I can’t figure out what kind)
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House Wren in Estes Park, Colorado
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Mountain Chickadee in Estes Park, Colorado.
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Estes Park, Colorado (I think this might be a female Brown-headed Cowbird)
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Eating berries in Estes Park, Colorado. (Regis and I have looked in two bird books and can’t figure out what this bird is.)
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Barn Swallows in Estes Park, Colorado.

If anyone can identify the birds that I can’t, please let me know and I will update this post.  It’s amazing that neither Regis or I can identify some of them with two different bird guides!

Downtown Dog

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Barn swallows.

June 27

Dart seems to be becoming a city dog.  When Regis has allowed Dart to decide where to go on their walks, Dart heads straight downtown.  I would never have guessed he would choose downtown.

Yesterday, when I was taking Dart for our morning walk, Orcas swam by the campground.  I had our best lens with me while walking Dart since I’m always looking to see what to capture.  Regis was at the campground.  Fortunately, Regis is a really great guy and took off in the car  to find us, but not before he ripped off a bunch of pictures.  We immediately headed closer to Wilson Point, since the Orcas were headed for the Straight of Juan de Fuca.  I got to see them and I think they were the same Orcas I saw from the whale boat because there was a baby in the group. While they were swimming in front of the campground, they were going through the area we’ve been kayaking.

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Orcas swimming by Port Townsend.

I broke down, took some money out of my IRA, and bought two new lenses.  The new lenses arrived a few hours after the Orcas left.  I’ve only tried the new Canon 70-200/2.8L IS II USM so far.  I am in love with this lens.  This is my new favorite lens.  Regis talked me into spending the extra money for the 2.8 and I’m glad I did.

The trouble with my old lens started with the purchase of my new 100-400 lens before this trip.  Most of my pictures have been blurry, so I thought the problem was me.  I noticed the pictures with the 100-400 lens are crisp and clear.  So, Regis and I started experimenting with the old lens (18-200) and saw that the pictures are blurry at most settings.  At the right focal length and lens opening, you can obtain an ok picture.  But, all other lengths and settings are blurry.  This is the same lens that broke twice and was fixed.  In my research on new lenses, I noted that this 18-200 lens is considered a travel lens and not particularly sharp.  Couple that with two breakages and this lens could not stand up to the quality of my new lens.  It took me weeks to figure out what lenses to get because I wanted to cover the focal lengths between 18-100 because that is the gap between my two other lenses.  I wound up getting a 24-70 lens and a 70-200 lens.  Now my range of lenses are 10-18, 24-70, 70-200, 100-400, and a 1.4 extender.

I have been trying to take some pictures of baby swallows but there has not been enough light since the nest is under a roof.  I was going to get Regis to shine a light source on the nest so I could take a picture, but never got around to it.  I used my new fast lens to take a picture and it worked.  When I first saw the birds last week, there were four nestlings.  Now, there are only two.

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Baby barn swallows.
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Barn swallows.

 

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Barn swallows.

I also have some extension tubes, but was not happy with the blurriness of the pictures.  The only lens I could use the tubes on was my older 18-200 lens.  That’s the blurry lens.  I put the extension tubes on the new lens and what a difference.  This is going to be fun.

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Flower in Port Townsend.