Big Birds at Prospect Park

I’m lucky to live in an area with a lot of wonderful parks and open space areas. One of my favorites is Prospect Park, and I’ve visited it several times lately. The weather has been all over the map the last couple of weeks – from warm sunny days to blizzards – but that’s spring in Colorado. And that’s a beautiful time and place to be. I’ve done my share of landscape painting over the years, and landscape photography as well. But for some reason, this month it has mostly been birds that have caught my eye.

I am sure cormorants have been around here longer than I have, but this year is the first time I’ve noticed them, or knew what they were. A whole flock has taken over a tree on a pond at Prospect Park:

They use the tree as a launching pad for excursions to feed and to collect nesting materials:

The way they are building a network of nests in the tree reminds me very much of the condominium building visible behind the tree:

One day while my wife Wendy and I were watching and photographing the cormorants, a couple of birdwatchers came and told us where we could find a hawk in a tree elsewhere in the park. We were a bit skeptical that it would still be there when we got there, but there it was:

We thought we were lucky to get off a couple of shots, as we were sure it would fly off at the sound of our shutters. But it turned out this hawk was unflappable. We were able to photograph it from as close as we wanted:

On two separate occasions I watched and shot this hawk for probably an hour. It didn’t do anything really dramatic, but I managed to catch a number of “moments”, such as here when it might have found some prey:

Rather than dive and attack, it started calling out – perhaps to alert the other hawks in the area:

This bird was circling above us the whole time, but never came in any closer:

Eventually, my friend on the branch above me lost interest in whatever had commanded its attention, and went back to more mundane activities, such as scratching its head:

At one point it shifted position and lifted its tail and I was sure it was going to fly off, but all it actually did was poop:

When the wind blew, it would have to do something to keep its balance. In this instance, it apparently decided it was best off balancing on one foot:

It was also a gust of wind that prompted the most dramatic pose offered by the hawk:

I have no idea how long this particular hawk will stay in the area, but I plan to visit as often as I can, as this was just an amazing experience.