Wednesday, October 22, 2014

'White' crane among the Sandhill Cranes at Bosque del Apache NWR

This 'white' crane showed up last week at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. It is clearly not an albino as it does have color not only in feathers but in eyes and in it's bill. The Refuge states it is a leucistic bird.

Though this 'white' cranes mostly whitish feathering fits with leucism I don't know why it's bill is so lightly colored.

I saw this unusual crane several times this past week. It has been in the company of Sandhill Cranes though I have not seen it interact with any.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sandhill Cranes: from Colorado to New Mexico

I took the above photo of a large flock of Sandhill Cranes as they flew over my house a week ago.
I took the other two photos of Sandhill Cranes at Bosque del Apache NWR over the week-end.  These are early arrivals at Bosque with numbers just in the hundreds while tens of thousands will arrive next month. SeEtta

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sage and Curve-billed Thrashers

I found a Sage Thrasher this week in some 4-winged Salt Brush/Cholla cactus habitat in Canon City where I usually find Curve-billed Thrashers, and it didn't take long to find two of those fairly common birds for my area. The Curve-billed Thrashers are resident while the Sage Thrasher is presumably stopping over during migration. The dark streaking on the underparts of the Sage Thrasher, along with the shorter and straighter bill distinguish it from the Curve-billed Thrasher.
I included the photo just above that shows the white tips of the outer tail feathers of this Sage Thrasher--while Curve-billed Thrashers also have white on the ends of their outer tail feathers you can see in the last photo that their tails are slightly rounded.

The eyes of these two different Curve-billed Thrashers are clearly orange while the eyes of the Sage Thrasher, though not as clearly visible, tend more to yellow. The Curved-billed Thrashers show definitely decurved long bills with spotted underparts somewhat visible on the bottom bird. SeEtta

Friday, October 10, 2014

Orange-crowned Warbler fest on Canon City Rivewalk

I did not notice how this warbler is holding it's left wing so far down as these birds were flitting about quickly. I hope it doesn't have an injured wing as this would be a problem for it's migrating.
I watched well over a dozen Orange-crowned Warblers busily foraging in a mixed flock along the Canon City Riverwalk today. Actually it was at 1:30 in the afternoon when I decided to take a walk there during an interlude in the drizzly weather. I suspect the big rains we had yesterday (I got a total of about 1.25 inches at my place these 2 days) had brought them down and now they were fueling up for the rest of their migration. Most vocal in the flock were several Black-capped Chickadees but several Brown Creepers were also vocalizing. Also in the flock were a few Ruby-crowned Kinglets, a couple of Mountain Chickadees, 2 White-breasted Nuthatches and several Downy Woodpeckers. SeEtta

Lewis's Woodpeckers- some good looks

A few days ago I found a number of Lewis's Woodpeckers at my friend's property east of Canon City as well as near a local orchard. This is the first I have seen of this species since before breeding when they become secretive.
They were quite playful today, chasing and pestering each other.
They were also caching food for the winter in crevices of telephone poles. That is concerning since these poles have been dipped in strong chemicals to protect them from insects and water damage and I cannot help but wonder what those chemicals do to these birds whose beaks come in contact with the wood repeatedly.
The pic above shows one in flight-they look almost like miniature hawks when they fly. SeEtta

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Orbweaver spider in my yard-this one a "Cat-faced Orbweaver"

I found this neat looking orbweaver spider in my yard today. Eric Eaton, our local insect guru told me it is a "Cat-faced Orbweaver," Araneus gemmoides. It was striking to see how fast it could retreat to the safety of a shrub when I accidentally tweaked it's web. SeEtta

First American Dipper for the fall season

American Dippers come down the Arkansas River as it runs through Canon City, usually arriving in the fall and spending the winter. I have also for the past several years had 1-2 American Dippers stay for at least most of the summer with a pair with an aborted nesting effort a few years ago (racoons got into nest and presumably ate eggs or nestlings). This one was at west end of Riverwalk. SeEtta

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Red-bellied Woodpecker at Lamar Woods

Far eastern Colorado is on the western edge of the range for Red-bellied Woodpeckers and probably the most reliable spot to find one is at Lamar Woods in Lamar,Colo. Though resident in this small wooded area they are not always out and about to be seen. This morning I found two of them that had been interacting but the other bird flew off before I could tell it's gender. SeEtta