Photographer takes wing with new focus

Birds are subject of exhibit that will run through March

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Photographer Carl Paulson is a Littleton Fine Arts Guild member who recently become a birder, which has led to new subjects for his camera, starting in his back yard and other nearby locations ...

He sent us “Whatcha Got There?” — a photo of two young screech owls making noise about something — as an announcement of a Zoom program he was to present on Jan. 5 at Vita Littleton, my home — and I was hooked!

I’ve been interested for years, but had forgotten what a wide variety of birds inhabit nearby trees, fields and parks.

Colorado has about 400 different kinds of birds through the year, he said, including permanent and migratory (part-time) residents. (He’s shot images of about 110 so far.)

A collection of some of those images filled Paulson’s Zoom program and some are exhibited in the Creative Lounge and Lobby at Vita through March. The public is invited to walk through this exhibit between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday. Ring at the front door.

Owls similar to the pictured screech owls have a nest nearby and residents hear them calling. Apartments in the building’s floor plan have bird names, which brought Paulson’s presentation even closer to home.

Near to his own home, he watched a woodpecker hollowing out the rotting stump of a newly felled tree, making more space for her brood, and he managed to identify a hummingbird flower favorite. He began to recognize bird calls, starting with “chicka-dee-dee-dee” and put his camera to work.

A handsome, though raucous, starling, pictured at Barr Lake (a favorite Denver-area birding location), was followed by an early image of a tiny wren.

“As a new photographer, you don’t how special it is at first look,” he commented about this charming wee creature’s portrait.

“Oscar the Grouch” was the name for a noisy magpie, but Paulson also noted the iridescent glow in the bird’s wings.

At Reynold’s Landing, he recorded a great blue heron which had just speared a rainbow trout for lunch ...

And handsome Steller’s jays visited his back yard. “They aren’t supposed to be here.” (We have heard other accounts of migrants who were a bit off-course of late. Probably a common thing, but it seems the world is off-course ...)

A bald eagle was pictured “enjoying the thermals”; a red-tailed hawk carried a rabbit home for offspring, and a red-naped sapsucker at Staunton State Park was enlarging a cavity for its babies.

Two black and white downy woodpeckers were “just outside my window,” Paulson said, and a stunning shot shows a golden eagle coming right at the camera, with a crawdad in its beak.

Cedar waxwings are a favorite subject, Paulson commented. “I have one snatching a mosquito right out of the air!”

A petite white-breasted nuthatch walked down a tree trunk upside down, as is its custom ...

And then there was a shot of a beaver swimming along happily, followed by a stunning image of a western tanager ... and a chipping sparrow with fledgling.

Seemed like “All’s right with the world” for a too-quickly-passed hour!

Sonya Ellingboe

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