Some days are magic. Words become an inadequate medium to share the wonder. So, I take pictures - usually lots of pictures - trying desperately to capture the enchantment. Sometimes I am fairly successful. Other times - well, you just need to be here to experience the moment.
Earlier this week I enjoyed a bewitching evening in the hillsides and along the marshes near Elk Lake. What started as a simple hike turned into one of those 'not-to-be-forgotten' moments. Thus, over the next couple of posts, I will share some of my many photos - all in an effort to seize a window in time which all to quickly slamed shut.
Over the years I have learned a few lessons. One important lesson: If you take along a companion, consider your purpose before handing out the invite! For example, I love sharing the glorious of creation with my 10-year-old, but I do not invite him if I'm hoping to see much. However, there are others - one friend in particular - who only enhance the experience. So. . .cameras in hand, we headed out!
While my hopes are always high, it had been so warm, I considered it unrealistic to expect very much. However, we had barely crested the first ridge before we found ourselves nearly nose to nose with a Mule Deer Doe. While Muleys are less flighty than White Tails, even they don't usually stand around and stare. I take it she as as surprised to see us as we were to see her!
It soon became obvious we'd chosen a location which the wildlife considered a bit 'exclusive' territory. We had barely started out before this hawk began screaming at us - non-stop! While I never spotted the nest, I assume we were too close for this bird's comfort.
A long time ago I learned many birds seem to prefer an edge of timber location. Thus, when looking for birds (which was part of this evening's goal), I like to visit these bird-friendly locations. Sometimes it works - sometimes it does not. This time we hit the jackpot!
The 'good' bird photographers (we have some staying with us this past week - a future post will feature some of their photography - - - many, many steps above mine!) will tell you to go and SIT or, at the very least, move very very slowly. I rarely have the time to do either for long. Thus when I come away with many decent bird photos, you know the location was superb.
Another semi-frustration is the lack of time to research all my feathered friends. At one time I knew almost every bird which frequented my 'yard'. Elk Lake, however, offers far too much variety. Thus, while I believe the bird two photos up is a Wilson's Warbler, I'm just calling this one "Red Mohawk Bird" :-) Not only is its red top-knot obvious - it clearly indicates this bird was a bit excited about our presence.
And, while bird sightings were definitely the 'highlight' of the evening, as always, the scenery took my breath away!
As I worked my way down the hill toward the open meadow below, this finch (I believe) allowed me to come quite close. The window blowing in our faces appeared to ruffle its feathers more than I did.
Like the finch above, this bird has a striped chest, however, it is much larger - and thus remains a mystery. As always, I welcome your input if you can put names to these feathered beauties!
All too quickly the light began to lengthen and highlight the marshes below. From our lofty perches, the lowlands took on an exotic appearance - almost like a photo of a wet African Savannah. Like a magnet, this beautiful landscape drew us down to experience the treasures along its peremiter before the light completely faded away. Next time I'll share some photos from what we enjoyed.
As privileged as I feel sharing my Elk Lake experiences with you, I always experience an undercurrent of inadequcy. The words and photos just cannot do justice to what I enjoy day after day. I realize the Centennial would be the loser were you all to live here, thus I am even more humbled and amazed that I, among the millions out there, have been honored to enjoy such an amazing place for so long. I hope, in the smallest sense, this feble attempt allows you to catch a hint of the magic of my world!
Lady of the Lake