Thursday, February 26, 2015

Another Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk near my town

I spotted this very shy Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk as I was driving early this week. It was in the back of a large tree and partially obscured by the branches and the location was difficult to find a place to pull off the road safely so these were the only photos I got. Though I stayed in my car and was about 150 feet away this bird flushed and flew into a tree deep into private property where I could just barely see it. SeEtta

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Finally got pics of Harris's Sparrow

I have seen this Harris's Sparrow a number of times in the past few months but always briefly and almost always it is behind some vegetation so getting a good pic has bee futile. Finally yesterday I spotted it and got these pics.

It has been on private property so I have only seen it when it has come near the public road. Last year an adult Harris's Sparrow spent the winter very near where this one has been-makes me wonder if this is the same bird that returned. SeEtta

Tundra Swans still here


I have traveled to Holcim Wetland the past 3 days to monitor the Tundra Swans. I got this better flight photo on Thursday but not the way I would prefer. When I drove into the parking lot above the wetlands I could see the swans were still there and in the northwest section of the pond--they had their heads under the water feeding on "Aquatic plants, seeds, tubers, grains, some mollusks and arthropods." (from Birds of North America online). I had walked down the south trail to the west end as the swans were on the northwest part of the pond. As I walked west they began swimming east so I ended up at the west side with them on the east side of the pond--and clearly a move made to avoid me. So I waited about 10 minutes to see if they would see I was not going to bother them and return, but they did not. So I walked back on the trail with only minimal views of them as they stayed closer to the thick cattails which hid much of their bodies. When I got closer (almost directly across the pond from them, about 350 feet)several mergansers that had moved into the pond closer to the trail flushed and flew off--the swans responded by flying off too (which is when I got the photo above) and they flew out of view to the east. Argghh. I did not want to disturb them--they need the opportunity to have a place they feel safe to feed and rest as they have done at Holcim Wetlands and there are other birders too who would still like the opportunity to see them.
So when I returned to monitor the swans yesterday (Friday) on my way to and coming back from Pueblo as well as today I stayed in the parking lot which is about 300 feet from the south edge of the pond and at least 600 feet from the swans. The pic just above was taken from my car in the parking lot showing the swans resting (albeit at least one appears to have an eye open). SeEtta

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Visit from two Tundra Swans

We rarely get swans of any type in the Canon City area, the last were a few years ago. So it was nice to hear that a local birder had found two at the Holcim Wetlands just east of Florence.


I was out of town all day so stopped by in the afternoon as I drove back. I was pleased to spot the two of swans flying back in to the wetlands after looking as much as possible with most of the trail still not repaired and off limits. I guess they might have been off somewhere feeding and were now  returning for the night.

Thought I was photographing swans landing so was surprised to find this Canada Goose had photo-bombed on of the pics.

This swan landing shows that swans are not always the graceful looking birds they are said to be.

The swan below shows only a small amount of yellow in it's lores while the other swan shows a lot of yellow as is found on Tundra Swans. SeEtta
When the two were right beside each other they look like exactly alike but the amount of yellow in the lores is different when seen at closer view.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Young Golden Eagles practicing flying maneuvers

Also while I was counting birds for the Great Backyard Bird Count in Florence River Park I spotted two young Golden Eagles flying near each other overhead.  These young eagles are either juveniles or sub-adults (difficult to distinguish here) and they appeared to be practicing flying maneuvers they will need as adults as they flew circles around each other, sometimes coming quite close, as they might do during breeding or to engage a competitor.
It has been a great year for viewing Golden Eagles in this area. My local wildlife officer hypothesized that the very good year for rabbits here has kept a number of Golden Eagles around. SeEtta

Black Phoebe for Great Backyard Bird Count

I drove to the Florence River Park to do one of my day 1 counts for the Great Backyard Bird Count. I heard this Black Phoebe call and it gave me a nice show.
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I have seen a Black Phoebe off and on at this location since last summer when at least 2 pair of Black Phoebes nested in the area and frequented this park that is adjacent to the Arkansas River and includes some nice wetlands. SeEtta

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Very urban owls: Great Horned Owl pair living at La Quinta Inn

I have been staying in this La Quinta Inn in Colorado Springs and one evening I heard a Great Horned Owl calling. I spotted it on the tower of the motel.
When I told the desk clerk Monica she said that there had been a pair of these owls that had frequented the motel for several years.
The next day the one Great Horned Owl perched on the faux balcony of the tower all day long. Then near dusk a second owl was there, clearly a mated pair.
The pair perched near each other until dark then hooted for awhile before flying off to hunt.
This area is commercial with several motels, several restaurants, a multiplex theater, a shopping center across the street, and the World Arena sports and entertainment center down the street. All that urban character is broken by a pond across the street that draws a lot of waterfowl, and two more small lakes within a few miles that do provide a little nature to the area. And these owls have apparently adapted to this big city living. SeEtta

Time out for surgery

Had to take a brake to have surgery which was successful and now healing pretty well. SeEtta