Friday, November 28, 2014

Lone Sandhill Crane in Canon City

This morning I spotted this single Sandhill Crane in a cut hay field on the east edge of Canon City. We do usually get some of these migrating cranes stopping over to rest and feed but usually they are several and usually not this late in November.
This crane was several hundred feet away and actively feeding, but it would come to attention when it heard the gunshots that sounded fairly close (within a half mile or so). When I drove further to look for other cranes-none found-it flew off and I did not see it again. SeEtta

Thursday, November 27, 2014

More Golden Eagle sightings past two days

Since last week when I spotted at least 3 Golden Eagles flying together I have been seeing Golden Eagles all around eastern Fremont and Custer Counties. Day before yesterday I saw a likely juvenile flying high above Red Canyon Park north of Canon City. Today I saw an adult flying around the Wetmore area before I found this likely adult perched on a power pole.
And just a little west of Wetmore I spotted this 2nd year (white at base of tail but no white spots on wings) Golden Eagle in flight. SeEtta

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Golden Eagle family still together

Yesterday I spotted 4 large raptors above a canyon in which I was driving. By the time I found a safe place to pull over I missed identifying one of the raptors though I believe it was also a Golden Eagle like the others I observed. In the top photo an adult Golden Eagle flies with it's legs in the down position as it is holding some prey (click on that image to enlarge it for better viewing)
The next 3 pics are also of an adult Golden Eagle. Two of the Golden Eagles I was able to id and age were adults.
At least one of the raptors was the juvenile Golden Eagle in the pic below.
Two of the Golden Eagles, an adult and a juvenile, perched near each other on an escarpment for a period of time--this would indicate that the juvenile was the offspring of a pair of Golden Eagles.
Birds of North America online indicates that young Golden Eagles can stay with their parents from 1-6 months. SeEtta

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Surf Scoter in Canon City

Yesterday I photographed this Surf Scoter that was found the day before on a small private reservoir called Valco Ponds along with good numbers of common waterfowl and several Grebes. I got this shot without trespassing on this private property by standing on the large cement blocks by the vehicle gate to get a clear view of the bird as it swam past about a hundred feet away.

 I have limited experience with scoters, and they are usually far out on a large body of water, but I believe this is an immature as it has a dark brown iris (Birds of North America online states, "Pale blue gray or yellow white in adult male; usually pale brown (also pale gray or yellow) in female; dark brown in immature.") SeEtta

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pair of Rufous-crowned Sparrows

Rufous-crowned Sparrows were first discovered about 15 years ago at the Tunnel Drive area of Canon City during a Christmas Bird Count by birder Dave Johnson. They have been seen in this area every year (rarely seen during June and July when I speculate they go up into the higher side canyons in this area for nesting) and are the most northern residents of this species in Colorado.
blieve I saw two of them together yesterday and believe they were likely a pair as Birds of North America online notes that pairs in California "are paired throughout the winter." This is one of the few times I have seen them without Canyon Towhees nearby.
I was able to bring them down from the hillside by making squeak noises with my lips so got the best photos of them I have ever been able to get. SeEtta

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Yellow-bellied and Red-naped Sapsuckers in town now

I have not refound the adult Yellow-bellied Sapsucker I posted about earlier this month and only 1 of the 6 Williamson's Sapsuckers earlier this week but yesterday I found an immature Yellow-bellied and an adult male Red-naped Sapsucker in Canon City.

I suspect that the severe Arctic storm that dropped temps here to below freezing for 3 days has impacted the sapsuckers as the bark and possibly inner portions of the trees on which they feed have likely frozen. Though it has warmed here it is still a challenge for them as I have seen the Williamson's feeding on a deciduous tree and low to the ground where the sun was on that part of the and the Yellow-bellied feeding very low on a pine in a portion where they sun was hitting it.
Though some Red-naped Sapsuckers show little or no red on their napes, this one did. It also showed an incomplete black frame on it's face. SeEtta

Friday, November 14, 2014

Also a Northern Shrike in Williamsburg,CO

I also found a Northern Shrike in the Williamsburg area. Other birds this morning in this scrub-juniper-cactus habitat included a flock of Mountain Bluebirds and a Northern Flicker feeding on juniper berries (that must have been flash-frozen when the temps dropped 50 degrees from the low 70's Mon afternoon to the low 20's overnight. SeEtta

Ladder-backed Woodpecker drilling cold cactus

I found this male Ladder-backed Woodpecker drilling some tree cholla cactus this morning within the large area encompassed by the small town of Williamsburg, less than 15 miles from where I live. After two nights of below zero temps and daytime below freezing for 4 days including today that cactus was at best very cold and likely frozen. As can be seen the woodpecker had it's feathers fluffed to keep warm in the 20 degree F temperature. Ladder-backed Woodpeckers are uncommon residents in my county (Fremont) as well as nearby Pueblo and El Paso Counties. SeEtta