Savoring quiet—that’s what I did recently at Walden Ponds/Sawhill Ponds, a gravel mine turned wildlife reserve in east Boulder County.

Mine was the only vehicle in the snowy parking lot, around noon on a Friday. Cottonwood Marsh was white, as was the sky. Beth Partin's photos, Walden Ponds, wildlife reserve Boulder CountyI saw a red-tailed hawk on a power line and an eagle even farther away, but I couldn’t hear any birds calling. The ponds were frozen, with only a few cracks to indicate an upcoming thaw. The only noise was traffic pacing the edges of the wildlife reserve.

I hiked back to the “woods” and, to my delight, easily found a great horned owl sleeping on a broken snag that formed an inverted V. A jogger in red sped by so quickly I didn’t have time to point out the owl. He was the only person I saw for most of my hike.

I couldn’t find any signs of a nest, though owls have nested in this area for years. No doubt it was too well hidden. A hairy woodpecker’s high-pitched call broke the silence, and a chickadee buzzed its warning.

On my way back I noticed bird tracks intersecting mine. This great blue heron must have crossed the trail while I was hiking.Beth Partin's photos, great blue heron, Walden Ponds

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  1. Sybil Baker February 13, 2011 at 3:56 pm - Reply

    Gorgeous photos Beth–you really captured the mood of the landscape. Thanks for sharing–Sybil

  2. Cara Lopez Lee February 13, 2011 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    Sigh… Lovely post, Beth. A good reminder for me to get out & spend some time alone in nature. Sometimes I forget I don’t have to wait for summer. Both the post & the photo are so evocative – I definitely got the feeling of being there. I liked this line very much: “The only noise was traffic pacing the edges of the wildlife reserve.”

  3. Beth Partin February 13, 2011 at 5:08 pm - Reply

    Thanks, Sybil and Cara. I don’t get out nearly enough myself.

  4. dana February 17, 2011 at 6:39 pm - Reply

    i love the birdie footprints. fantastic.

  5. Beth Partin February 18, 2011 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    Dana, I loved the bird footprints too, but I had a hard time getting the color right. I still think the picture looks too blue. Any tips you have would be greatly appreciated.