The Wonders of Blue Skies, Magpies and the Big Thaw

April 6, 2021

The Wonders of Blue Skies, Magpies and the Big Thaw


The Grill-Meister and I took a week of vacation and hoofed it up to Little House in the Rockies on Good Friday. Spending a week here in central Colorado has a restorative impact that goes far beyond taking a little time off. It is so easy to commune with nature when you are away from the big city. Grab a cup of coffee and I’ll walk you through a couple of happy hours I spent with my camera on Easter afternoon at the Tarryall Reservoir State Wildlife Area.

Tarryall Reservoir Beckoned as We Drove By

In the last half hour of our journey to Little House, on Saturday morning, we passed Tarryall Reservoir on the way to Indian Mountain where our little cabin is nestled near the top in a pine forest. Driving by, we noticed that the reservoir/lake was still frozen over, and there were several ice-fishers out in the middle. I saw a couple of magpies flying across the frozen water, their black, white and blue feathers highlighted by the white of the ice, and knew I wanted to come back and photograph them. That’s the kind of thing I have time for on a chill-out trip like this.

The Thaw was On!

I set out for the Tarryall Reservoir State Wildlife Area the next day, Easter Sunday afternoon, leaving The Grill-Meister happily working on adding new gadgets and software to his fancy telescope. When I arrived, it was hard to believe that just a day earlier, people had been fishing out on the ice, because it was rapidly thawing and no one in their right mind would even attempt it. I was the only person there and revelled in the peace and natural beauty, camera in hand.

I Found My Magpies

It wasn’t long before I found a magpie couple – or I should probably say, they found me. One of them is at the bottom right of the first photo below, and the other is flying, a tiny speck against the white of the road in the center of the picture. The one on the bottom was a bonus, because I didn’t see it at first; I was hurrying to try to capture the flying one that I had seen out of the corner of my eye. But then the closer one started hopping around and I had a good time chasing that (still elusive) perfect image by following him (or her). And when that one flew off, the other came closer, perhaps saying, “let’s play!”.

I didn’t get that perfect picture of either magpie, but I had such a good time practicing. And I had never heard a magpie chatter before. It sounded like several different kinds of birds at once, having a conversation.

On the Back Side of the Reservoir Dam

On the other side of the dam and the beautiful rock formation at the end of the reservoir is a waterfall, and people like to fish there, too, or climb the banks.

Two magpies flew overhead while I was trying to capture the sun-sparkles, too fast for me to catch them with the camera. I’d like to think that it was my original pair from the other side of the dam when it was just the three of us (plus a bunch of honking ducks) and we did their photo shoot. Maybe they were doing a flyover to wish me a happy Easter as they went along their magpie spring business under a beautiful blue Colorado sky.

The wonders of nature. I’m rapt.

© 2021, Glover Gardens

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