Spring Canyon is my favorite place to take pictures in Hutchinson County for several reasons. It’s easy to get to and even in the summer it’s not crowded in the early morning. It well protected from winds from the southwest (our prevailing wind source in the summer) and the north (prevailing wind source in the winter) by the Sanford Dam and the canyon walls. At sunrise the light from the east-south-east lights up the whole area beautifully and the reflections off of the canyon walls give the small ponds a wide range of color from copper to silver to gold to green. Add the reflection of our nearly always cloudless sky and the oranges and reds and purples of the occasional cloudy morning along with the long deep shadows cast by the bluffs and you get an amazing palette to work with. The only problem is that this year there aren’t that many wintering birds there, perhaps there isn’t much to eat in the canyon this year. Most of the waterfowl are over the dam at the main lake (Meredith) and the photos are just not as good over there. The distances are greater, the sun is generally behind the subjects, and the wind is stronger.
Here are a few photos that I’ve gotten at Spring Canyon in the last few weeks. The waterfowl are in their breeding colors now and are beautiful.
A Redhead pair. The male is the darker bird farther back.
A couple of male Ring-necked Ducks. I think it is strange that the name reflects an almost invisible ring around the base of the neck instead of that amazing tri-colored bill. You can sort of see the ring on the duck in the rear–it’s a lighter reddish brown color where the neck joins the body of the bird.
Two male and two female Lesser Scaups. The males are the darker ones. The females have a bright white area around the bill this time of year.
A female Canvasback, male and female Redheads, Male and 2 female Lesser Scaups on their morning promenade.
And they’re off. Two Redheads, a Ring-necked Duck, and a Female Lesser Scaup take flight after a couple let their yapping little dog loose near the pond. Guess they missed the No Pets sign at the Canyon entrance.
Redhead and a Lesser Scaup
More in the galleries.