Saturday, January 30, 2016

Hawks harass eagle that apparently trespassed

This afternoon I spotted this juvenile Golden Eagle being harassed by 2 Red-tailed Hawks as the eagle apparently had trespassed into the hawks territory in Penrose (nearby small town). Unfortunately they were more than 400 feet away so even with my long lens and then cropping the pic to enlarge I couldn't get the birds any larger. The hawks, (presumably a pair) while considerably smaller than the eagle, were quite brazen diving at the eagle and coming very close to it. The eagle and the hawks engaged in some amazing acrobatics for a few minutes until the eagle could head out and get away from this pair. SeEtta

Friday, January 22, 2016

Long-tailed Duck on pond in Canon City

This female Long-tailed Duck was found by a local birder a few days ago. I got this pic yesterday but lost the media card for 24 hrs and just refound it. This species is pretty rare in my area with the last in 2012 that I found at Brush Hollow Res. The current Long-tailed Duck has less black on it's head than the one I found 2012. Interestingly that one was found only one day in January before this one. It is not easy to see and photograph this duck as this property is private. I photographed it from the public parking lot in front but quickly lost the duck as it swam on back where not visible from the public area. SeEtta

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Northern Goshawk, very unusual bird in my area of Colorado

I spotted this adult Northern Goshawk this afternoon a few miles east of Canon City in a cactus grassland area as it flew across the road in front of me. While I couldn't see field marks as I was too distant it's flying very low to the ground got my attention. When it landed in a juniper shrub about 200 feet from me I stopped my car and saw it's white eyebrow in my binoculars so grabbed my camera and quickly got off a few shots in the short time before it flew off. As I only had about 30 seconds to get pics and there was no good place to pull off the road I had to take the pics with my car running (pulled to the side of the driving lane, fortunately no traffic came by) so that added to less than great shots.
But these pics clearly show the salient field marks for adult Northern Goshawk: that big white supercilium (eyebrow stripe, dark stripe through eye, dark cap, long tail, bluish grey upperparts and some broad dark but inconspicuous bands on it's grey tail (and even a thin white terminal band found on some adults). When it flew off it again flew very close to the ground as is shown in the bottom pic--it was over a hundred feet from the shrub it flew from and maintained this low level height of  only about 5 feet above the ground until it disappeared from view.  Found this discussion of this low flying on the Canadian Peregrine Foundation website: "The goshawk, and to a lesser extent the Cooper’s hawk, will also actively search for prey by flying relatively close to the ground and trying to use the element of surprise to their advantage." SeEtta

Monday, January 11, 2016

Rufous-crowned Sparrow, and Canyon Towhee sidekick, in Canon City

While the Rufous-crowned Sparrow above looks disheveled it is only because it had just been bathing in some melted snow water and drying off in the sun (on a cool, upper 30's, but sunny day). The Rufous-crowned Sparrows that are resident in the Tunnel Drive area of Canon City associate with Canyon Towhees and the towhee below had just bathed also. SeEtta

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New dark morph Harlan's Hawk with whitish tail in Canon City

I first spotted this black hawk over the week-end and from it's behavior and looks without binoculars thought it was a Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk. I has been very distant from the road when it perches so strained my long zoom and then cropping to get these pics. From it's whitish tail this is not one that I have seen here in recent weeks. It shows the black, rather than brown plumage found on Western Red-tails, a little white on it's face and most prominent is the whitish tail with dark tip. Interestingly there is a second Harlan's here that was perched several hundred yards from this one over fields. SeEtta

Monday, January 4, 2016

Wilson's Snipe I photographed before recent cold spell

I found this Wilson's Snipe working in a drainage ditch (actually what is called 'return flow' ditch for return of excess irrigation water) on private property in the Canon City area. This was before our recent cold spell that froze much of the water in this ditch. SeEtta

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Large flock of Eastern Bluebirds for this western edge of their range

Yesterday I found an unusually large flock of at least 20 but more likely 30 or more Eastern Bluebirds just east of Canon City.

As we are right up next to the mountains where they are not found they are fairly uncommon in this area.

However while we do usually get some of these in the winter it is generally 5-10.

I found and photographed these on private property where they were coming down to drink from a canal that was mostly iced over.

I followed the flock as it flew over to the Pathfinder Park where they appeared to be foraging in some Russian Olive trees that had good numbers of olive fruit on them and they were fairly small in size. SeEtta

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Visiting Merlin

I found this Merlin last week but had computer problems so could not upload the photos. As Merlins are uncommon winter visitors in Canon City I believe it is the same Merlin as was seen by my friend Cathy near the Abbey the week before and likely the same as was seen by friend Linda on the Riverwalk before that.
I first spotted it perched in large tree on the other side of the Arkansas River from the Canon City Riverwalk where I was walking--see bottom pic for that view.
After watching it stretch and look around a lot for about 5 minutes it flew over to the river and harassed a pair of Mallard Ducks, in fact flushed them though it is way too small to be a real threat to them.
This is a Taiga subspecies of Merlin. Per Birds of North America online, "...breeds from Newfoundland to w. Alaska south into the n. US (Maine and n. Vermont, New Hampshire, and NY; n. Great Lakes states, and w. mountain states)." . SeEtta