Meadowlarks and Hairspray

I got my big telephoto lens out Friday afternoon and went to Bluff Lake Nature Center located on what use to be Stapelton airport. It was still 95F (35C) when I got there. I changed into walking shoes, grabbed a bottle of water, the camera and a hat and started off. I forgot that I was wearing non-prescription sunglasses and left my regular glasses at home; this made it hard to use manual focus. I also ment to bring along the small camera with standard lens but left it back on the bike.

It was really hot. Between the sun, the heat and lugging the telephoto around I wore out pretty quickly. I didn't have a whole lot of luck but still managed to get a couple of good shots.

The first bird I spotted was a bright orange Northern "Bullock's" Oriole. It was quite active and I was still a little too far away. The automatic focus doesn't work very well for distant or active subjects; manual focus works best for these situations, unfortunately I was wearing sunglasses and didn't have my regular glasses with me. The pictures of the Oriole didn't turn out very well but they're good enough to make an identification.

As I was hiking back up the hill I spotted a Western Meadowlark and was able to get a series of good photos. This bird wasn't singing it's regular song; this bird was going "pip, pip, pip, chortle, chortle, chortle". I've never heard a Meadowlark do that before. Later it flew into the tall grass where it finally sang the song I am most familiar with.

Western Meadowlark, Bluff Lake Nature Center Denver, Co. June 24, 2011.

Western Meadowlark, Bluff Lake Nature Center Denver, Co. June 24, 2011.

Last week a friend of mine had tickets to a play that he wasn't able to use so he gave them to me. On Saturday I called another friend and we saw a live performance of the musical "Hairspray" at the Arvada Center for the Arts. I don't think I've seen a live performance of a play or musical since high school. It was very entertaining.

Every rung goes higher, higher

Sand Creek Park, Stapleton, Denver Co. June 24, 2011.
We are climbing Jacob's ladder
Every rung goes higher, higher
Sisters, brothers, all.
(I don't use the rest of the lyrics.)

Tuesday in the park

Tuesday morning I went back to South Platte Park. I spent a couple of hours there. I really like this park. They've done a lot of work to clean up and restore the river and its flora and fauna. There are two trails that run the entire length of the park. One trail is concrete and is for bicycles the other is gravel and is for hikers and joggers. This time I walked north. I kept a watch out for birds. I saw a blue heron but other birds chased it away before I could get a picture.

Bridge crossing the South Platte river Littleton Colorado

In the evening I went to City Park where I met up with Michael, Lewis and Laurin. We were there for the "Melodies of Pride" concert by the Mile High Freedom Band and Harmony Chorale (glbt).

Harmony Chorale City Park Denver Colorado.
The Mile High Freedom Band is hidden behind the Chorale.

Michael, Lewis and Laurin

I noticed the moon rising over the park lake after the concert. I had my little camera and said to myself "I know this isn't going to work but I'm going to try it anyway." The Nikon P7000 has a setting for taking pictures at dawn and dusk. I was able to get a rather nice photo of the moon rising over the lake.

Moon rise over Ferril Lake City Park Denver Colorado

Walking the parks

I'll be satisfied if I can get my weight below 200 lb. and keep it there; I'd like to loose about 8 pounds. I've been taking a walk every morning. It gets a little boring walking around the neighborhood every day and I'd rather not walk on concrete if I can walk on gravel or dirt. Once in awhile I'll take the motorcycle to one of the suburban nature preserves to go for a walk. I usually take a camera with me.

Last week I went to Crown Hill Park in Wheat Ridge. I walked on the dirt path that circles the outside perimeter of the park; I did have to walk on concrete some of the time. It took me 40 minutes to complete the circle; it's 2 miles around. There were 3 Pelicans on the lake but I didn't have my telephoto lens with me. I was able to snap this picture of a barn swallow at the end of my walk.

Sunday afternoon I rode out to Lakewood to walk around the Bear Creek Greenbelt. Bear Creek Greenbelt is only one park of a network of interconnected parks in Lakewood. You can start in Bear Creek Lake Regional Park in the west and walk, or bicycle, for about 8 miles ending up in Bear Creek Park in the east. Bear Creek Greenbelt is half way in between. I took quite a few pictures there.

Yesterday I rode down to South Platte Park in Littleton. The park is a nature preserve along the Platte River; it's about 2 1/2 miles from end-to-end. I spent more time exploring along the river than I did walking. I only snapped a couple of pictures while there. This is a great birding spot.

This morning I did my usual walk to Cheesman Park and back. They've been doing some cleanup and repair work on one of the mansions along 7th street. I noticed some interesting markings where they cut back some of the creeping vines along the fence.

I want to get out earlier in the day and take my big telephoto lens with me. I want to go back to Bear Creek and South Platte and do some birding. I also want to visit Barr Lake and Chatfield. I'd like to go back to Roxborough too.