Exploring Nature One Step At A Time

A Beautiful Snow Day at Ricks Pond Red Shouldered Hawks

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Snow always vanishes so quickly in Hot Springs National Park, so I decided to head over to the Gulpha Creek and Ricks Pond. This is more of a photo expedition hiking from the base of the Creek and around the Pond to the old Fordyce Estate stone bridge.

The Gulpha Creek is reflecting the snow decorating the bare limbs of winters Trees.  It has a beautiful song as it spills out from below the stone arch foot bridge that leads to the old Fordyce Estate.  Snow blankets the banks of the Creek and I follow it up to the Ricks Pond Dam.  Ice sculptures have form at the bottom of the dam spill.  White decorates the top of the dam and as I climb up the bank I can see a slushy texture coating the surface of the pond.   Light reflection on this new pond surface has a myriad of  subtle color changes.

On the far side of the pond I notice an anomaly in one the Trees, so I take a photograph unsure of what I am seeing.  A sudden movement and one large Bird drops down to the waters edge. Then as quickly flies up to a Tree, I keep shooting not sure if at this distance I will capture any clear images. I try to get closer but there is little or no cover in the winter along the edge of the pond.  As I slowly move forward two bird fly off toward the marshes each landing in separate Trees.

I decide to sit on a rock and soak in the beauty of the water and the surrounding snow covered land.  Perhaps I need to arrive early in the morning and wait quietly for the sun to rise to photograph feeding birds. I have a large learning curve for getting close to large birds in this water based open environment.  As I stand to leave a Turkey Vulture flies gracefully over the pond.

It was a beautiful day at the pond and my mystery birds turned out to be a pair of Red Shouldered Hawks.

Love to you ALL!
Lee

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