Sunday, September 14, 2014

Burrowing Owl: very close up

Day before yesterday I drove to the area north of La Junta, CO to bird under unusually cold temps (in the 40's, which is especially unusual for this lower elevation area in early Sept). Among the several Burrowing Owls I spotted was this one perched not far from the road.
I approached carefully in my car (stayed in the car and was very quiet to reduce disturbance) until I was able to get these close up photos that I have cropped to provide very close up views. I took these with my Sony Cybershot at 50x under challenging overcast conditions that were of high quality so I could crop them (except the one just below that was too close up to crop any).
When I drove away the owl was still perched in the same location and after I turned my car around and drove back past it remained in the same spot--undisturbed, which is my goal when photographing birds. SeEtta

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Desert Whitetail Dragonfly and Ovipositing Common Green Darner


Here are two more odonata that I photographed over the week-end at the Dragonfly Festival at Bitter Lake NWR in New Mexico. Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge is one of the top locations for number of odonata species in the U.S. The top odonata is a Desert Whitetail Dragonfly.

This pair of Common Green Darners just above are perched in tandem while the female deposits her eggs. Following is a great description from the Animal Diversity Web: "Once mating is complete, common green darners remain in tandem and oviposit in pairs. The pairs fly low over the water, with the male still grasping the female, and they land in the open to oviposit. They lay eggs on floating stems and leaves, including alive and dead material, as well as on woody branches." Fyi, the male is the brighter colored dragonfly and is in the front. SeEtta

Monday, September 8, 2014

Inquisitive Virginia Rail

Though it seems unlikely this Virginia Rail kept coming out almost into the open, seeming to be curious about me. Even if that was not the case it did provide me the opportunity to get these pics.
There was a second Virginia Rail less than 25 feet from this one but it was busy hunting so moved to quick for any pics. SeEtta

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Black Saddlebags Dragonfly

This is a Black Saddlebags dragonfly and I think it is pretty cool looking. "Black saddlebags, although fairly common, are striking insects. The hind wings are long and wide, with irridescent black bands on the parts of the wings closest to the body. This gives them their common name "black saddlebags," because the black patches make them look like they're wearing saddlebags. The rest of the wing is clear." SeEtta

Common Green Darner pair in tandem


A photo of a pair of Common Green Darners in tandem as she oviposits. SeEtta

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Harrowing rescue on steep canyon walls off Tunnel Drive

I drove to the west end of Canon City this morning to do some birding but when I got there I saw that a rescue was starting on the steep canyon walls above Tunnel Drive on the other side of the river from where I was located. The top photo gives a good view of what I could see without the use of optics--note the white arrows pointing that are pointing at the young woman who was the subject of the rescue. Though I was several hundred yards away I had close up views through my 45X spotting scope lens. And since I photograph birds, flowers, mountains, just much of what I observe I started photographing this rescue by our local Canon City Fire District.
I was fearful on several occasions as I watched the firemen climb without safety ropes. Once the lead fireman in the red helmet got to her he started cutting a large cactus that is shown in front of her in the top pic so she could late come down past it. Then other firemen climbed to the top then threw a safety rope down to be attached to the victim. All of that took more than an hour.

I am not posting photos that show the young woman's face clearly--she climbed without proper gear and I am sure had a frightful as well as embarrassing time. I will share all the photos with the Fire Department if they are interested in using them for their action review.
The rest of the photos here show the rest of the rescue as the lead fireman got the victim down and eventually put in a rescue basket for the trip down.
Again look for the white arrows pointing to the fireman who are carrying the victim in the rescue basket down this steep canyon.
In the bottom pic they are almost down to the trail/service road that goes up Tunnel Drive. The firemen with the victim in the rescue sled are to the right of the white arrows. Further to the right are two more Fire Department members waiting for them to get down. Glad this was successful. The firefighters did a wonderful job of rescuing this young woman. SeEtta

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Another day at Red Canyon Park, add a Townsend's Warbler

It was so productive last Saturday I went back yesterday (Tues) to Red Canyon Park--and it was fabulous. Saw 2 flocks of Pinyon Jays fly over, on flock with about 75 birds and the other flock with only about 8 birds.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Western Tanagers: migrating through Canon City in good numbers this week


I spotted this Western Tanager, I believe a first fall male, as he flew up after taking a bath in a ditch yesterday. There was a big push of these migrants with at least 2 dozen in areas along the Arkansas River as it flows through Canon City. SeEtta

Ws