Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Merlin feasting on a bird

This Prairie Merlin is the last species I found on my birding trip last week.
Look below the tree limb and you will see dangling legs and feet from the prey that is being eaten by the Merlin, and in some pics part of it's lower body is evident.
The pics below are enlarged to better show the feet and long claws. You can see that it is feathered just above the joint.  It looks in the pic just below to have only 3 toes but with two of the toes are foreward and one toe is back.  Not sure what kind of bird has this configuration.

And the final enlargement  appears to show the head (looks like it has 2 eyes) of the prey bird between the Merlin's feet but maybe some other part of the body.  Not sure what this prey might be.  SeEtta

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Another Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk

On my trip east of Pueblo I also found this dark morph Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk in the area near Lake Holbrook. Another very spooky hawk that would flush as soon as I turned off the engine of my car. Again mostly blackish plumage (altho a little more dark brown in it) with white lorals. It also had red in it's tail though it was multiple thin bands across it. SeEtta

White goose among Canada Geese at Lake Holbook

In addition to a number of distant ducks and a few Am Pelicans I also saw several hundred Canada Geese. When the geese took off I could see this lone white goose flying with them. SeEtta

Prairie Falcon on other side of Lake Holbrook

On the other side of Lake Holbrook I found this Prairie Falcon making some nice diversity of raptors for the day. SeEtta

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk, this one in eastern Pueblo County

Yesterday I drove east of Pueblo looking for Harlan's Red-tailed Hawks and any other raptors I could find. I was rewarded for my efforts with a total of 3 Harlan's, 1 Merlin and 1 Prairie Falcon in addition to 7 Western Red-tailed Hawks. This is the first Harlan's I found which was in far eastern Pueblo County. It was very, very skittish so the closest I could get for pics was 400-500 feet which put my extended zoom to it's max. And it only perched on trees on private property away from the public road.

In addition to the mostly black plumage speckled with a little white as seen on these Harlanii Red-tails, the white loral area on the face of this dark morph Harlan's can be seen in these pics. In the middle pic though it shows a reddish tail you can see it does not have the light scapulars so distinctive on the backs of perched Western Red-tailed Hawks. SeEtta

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

This Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk was in western Pueblo County

I found this Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk at dusk when I took a detour on my way home from Pueblo. Given the low light and the fact I took these shots from my car with the engine running (I had only a few seconds to shoot these before it flushed) these pics came out better than I expected. In the top shot the white loral area is visible as is the whitish undertail and some white spots on it's otherwise blackish underparts found on an adult dark morph Harlan's. The blurry bottom pic does show the silvery flight feathers contrasted against it's dark body and underwing coverts and it's whitish tail.  SeEtta

Curve-billed Thrasher at Lake Pueblo State Park

In addition to the birds that are abundant around Colorado that are ever-present at Lake Pueblo State Park, I have never missed seeing at least one Curve-billed Thrasher if I looked in appropriate habitat. Just saw this one today. SeEtta

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Pine Siskins coming back to town

For the past week or so I have spotted small flocks of Pine Siskins in and around Canon City though none in my yard yet as I haven't started feeding for the winter. Yesterday I encountered this one in a small flock at Tunnel Drive in Canon City. And it sat still long enough for a photo. I enlarged the tail portion below to show off the very yellow base of it's undertail. SeEtta