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


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Successful field trip to Red Canyon Park: Gray Flycatchers, Pinyon Jays, Juniper Titmouse and more

I led a very productive field trip to Red Canyon Park yesterday with 11 participants from Broomfield, Denver, Manitou Springs, Colorado Springs, Salida and Canon City. I refound the Gray Flycatcher family I have been following for the past 2 weeks and everyone got excellent views of them and heard their frequent contact calls. The juvenile in the photo above was one of the young from that family--the buffy wing bars that are a field marks for juvenal plumage show well in this photo. In addition to these Gray Flycatchers, we saw a couple of more individuals plus another family that foraged nearby as we had lunch and provided views of a parent feeding a fledgling.
Other target species for the pinyon-juniper habitat in this park that were seen were several Pinyon Jays (heard well by all participants then seen in flight), Juniper Titmouse (2 birds with fairly close views for all), Virginia Warbler (several birds), several Western Shrub Jays and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. Other flycatcher species included an Olive-sided, Western Wood-Pewee and at least one empid spp. Hummers included both Broad-tailed and Black-chinned with one flying right up to the group as if to say 'did you bring me anything.' We had very good fairly close views of 2 Canyon Wrens who sang repeatedly at a close distance. We did have several singing Plumbeous Vireos and Bewick's Wrens but no visual views of them. Also saw a Golden Eagle soaring, an accipiter and a few Turkey Vultures, 1 Loggerhead Shrike, several Black-headed Grosbeak, Canyon & Spotted Towhees, many Chipping Sparrows, a lot of Lesser Goldfinch and a few other species common in the state. We did not find any of the Evening Grosbeaks I had seen earlier this week nor any Western Tanagers. SeEtta

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Evening Grosbeak chowing down on juniper berries

I first heard these Evening Grosbeak giving soft inter-flock contact calls near where I had stopped my car in Red Canyon Park yesterday. There were about a dozen of them feeding in this and nearby juniper shrubs.
Interestingly all that I saw were females or immatures as shown in these photos.
And each one I saw eating had pieces of juniper berries all over their bills, they are pretty sloppy eaters. SeEtta

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Flock of Common Nighthawks feeding overhead during their migration

I had the pleasure over the week-end of having a flock of at least a dozen Common Nighthawks feeding overhead above my home. They were evidently a migrating flock that flew around and around for about 45 minutes as they fed on whatever insects were in the air. I had a similar flock feeding over the Canon City Rivewalk not far from my home 2 weeks ago but couldn't get the photos I was able to crop for enlargement as here to see the field marks.
The bird in the first photo is a male--see the white tail band and large bar on primaries. The next two are of a female-no white tail band and primary bar more limited.

The bird just above and below are males.
The bird above and the bird below are females.
And the last one is a male-it's white tail band is not as obvious but can be seen if clicked on to enlarge further and the primary bar more extensive. SeEtta

Monday, August 18, 2014

Gray Flycatcher family

This past Monday I birded Red Canyon Park about 10 miles north of Canon City where I stumbled upon some very young fledgling Gray Flycatchers. There was definitely one parent in attendance that I observed feeding one or more of the young birds, and I believe the other parent was nearby. They were in thick vegetation and I was unable to get a photo in focus and also the parent(s) quickly moved the young away. Yesterday I returned and looked for the family.
I found what is likely the same family about 75 feet from where I had last seen the Gray Flycatcher family earlier this week. An adult bird flew into a shrub less than 30 feet in front of me and I got the top photo of that bird. It was quickly followed by a calling apparent fledgling that flew into the same shrub as the parent bird flew out.
I believe the 2nd, 3rd and 4th photos are of that apparent fledgling but cannot be certain. In support of my belief that this is a fledgling, or at least a young juvenile, is the sharpness of the terials as shown--that is a characteristic in many birds that is indicative of juvenile status (I could not find this confirmed in internet documents but there is not a lot of info on this species).
The last two pics are definitely a young fledgling as I clearly remember this bird and confirmed by it's short tail. SeEtta

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Eastern 'Cicada Killer' with cicada

As I was walking on Canon City Riverwalk today I heard a cicada fly right behind me. When i turned I saw that the cicada was in the grasp of this Cicada Killer on the ground just a few feet away. The Cicada Killer started dragging it away.
I surprised at how fast the Cicada Killer moved especially since it was carrying the cicada beneath it. This short video clip shows that:
It moved quite fast for ~75 ft to a tree then climbed the tree with the cicada in it's grasp. Lost sight of them -~25 ft above the ground.

Acorn Woodpeckers at Pueblo Mtn Park-confirmed nesting success

When I last checked on the Acorn Woodpeckers in Pueblo Mountain Park on July 8 the pair were flying in and out of the nest hole repeatedly so I had the impression they were caring for nestlings. This visit these rare woodpeckers were not near the nest tree but in another area of the park where I found them foraging. And I found 4 of them and it appeared that two were juveniles. The bird on the limb in the pic above has bluish eyes which are found on juveniles.
The center pic shows the parent bird on the far right as it was feeding the fledgling, the bird in the center. The bottom pic is a few seconds after the feeding and when enlarged the eye on the bird in the center is blackish, which is the color of very young juveniles. I think the bird on the far left is the other juvenile (the one with the bluish eyes) as it dropped down from a limb above when the parent came to feed the other young bird. SeEtta