Friday, May 22, 2015

Eastern Bluebirds to Western Tanagers

While many neotropical migrants apparently found a clear sky sometime last night to continue on their migration, there were still lots of bird diversity around the Canon City area. I found both these Eastern Bluebirds (fairly rare here though this species has bred here in the past) and the Western Tanager below at Pathfinder Park--we do often get both eastern and western species. In fact I saw Eastern, Western and Cassin's Kingbirds at that location today. Also an Ash-throated Flycatcher, a continuing Olive-sided Flycatcher, several remaining Wood-pewees (most now identifiable as Western Wood-pewees as they are singing), a few Yellow-rumped and Yellow Warblers. And from some cliffs on the other side of the river from Pathfinder Park I could hear a Canyon Wren singing it's song. More in other areas next. SeEtta

Olive-sided Flycather video clip with it calling and singing

This is one of more than a dozen Olive-sided Flycatchers I have seen in the Canon City area over the past 3 days while rainy and overcast weather conditions brought this and other neotropical migrants down and effectively grounded them here. This was way more than I have ever seen during migration in the past (usually no more than a couple of them).

The top pic shows well the large head and 'vested' appearance that is a significant field mark for this species while the second pic shows the short tail but does not show the white tufts on the sides of it's rump that I saw in the field. I think that third pic best shows the large bill found on this species.
While I heard the 'quick 3 beers/free beer' song from several of these flycatchers this one sang it's 'free beer' song and gave it's 'pip,pip,pip' call frequently that I picked up in this short video clip. Interestingly 'Birds of North America' online indicates they sing when they get to their breeding territory and that their song is 'occasionally heard during non-breeding season'. They do not breed in my part of Colorado (Fremont County) they are just on the other side of the continental divide from their coniferous breeding habitat in Western Colorado.
The bottom video clip does not have any singing or calling but great close up views of this bird as it checks out it's surroundings in search of food. SeEtta Olive-sidedFlycatcher-a2-PathfinderPark from SeEtta Moss on Vimeo.
Olive-sidedFlycatcher from SeEtta Moss on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Chestnut-sided Warbler today

Though I have seen a lot of common warblers this is the first rare neotropical migrant I have spotted this spring. I was happy to get this photo as I not only spotted this bird from inside by car but followed it as it made very rapid moves in the canopy then photographed it out my open window. I have only seen one other Chestnut-sided Warbler in my county and that was a female in first winter plumage in the fall of 2012. And there have been less than 10 reported this spring in Colorado. I also saw a number of Wood-pewees (mostly silent so I was hopeful one might be an Eastern) and 2 Olive-sided Flycatchers--but I will post about those tomorrow. SeEtta

Monday, May 4, 2015

Big bull snake laying across road that I moved out of danger

The first pic shows this 3 1/2 foot long bull snake that I had to swerve to miss in the road from Florence to Williamsburg. It gets a bunch of traffic and it was just laying soaking up the sun in the road where it was in danger of being either hit accidentally or on purpose so I turned around and moved it off the road. Lucky it did not like the sound/vibration of my car being near it so I didn't have to get out and use a long stick to encourage it to move as I usually have to do. All native snakes are important to our ecosystem and should not be killed (actually bull snakes will keep rattle snakes away from one's house). SeEtta

Bullock Orioles are back too

As I drove out of Florence, the little town near Canon City, I spotted a pair of Bullock's Orioles foraging in a cottonwood tree near the road.
I was able to get these pics from inside my car. Background is crummy as it was overcast. SeEtta

Lazuli Buntings back in Canon City, first seen in my yard

I spotted this Lazuli Bunting in my yard but did not get a chance to photograph it until it thought it was hidden in my next door neighbor's tree about 50 feet away. They can be such shy birds. Later in the morning I spotted one at the Canon City Riverwalk where they breed. SeEtta

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Yellow-rumped Warbler, Myrtle race

Just a couple of pics of a Myrtle race Yellow-rumped Warbler I photographed on the Canon City Riverwalk this morning. We get both Myrtle and Audubon's all along the Arkansas River corridor and seem to get fairly equal numbers of both overall though some days one or other race is dominant. There was a big push of Yellow-rumps this morning and I saw around a hundred of them in the two hours I birded. SeEtta

Plumbeous Vireo, first of the year in Canon City


I spotted this Plumbeous Vireo as it foraged along the Canon City Riverwalk this morning. I watched it actively foraging for about 15 minutes and it did so quietly for the first 10 minutes. It was pretty successful in finding insects to feed on. Sorry I chopped off it's bill in pic below. SeEtta