Saturday, July 5, 2008

Juvenile Clark's Grebes practice independence

The juvenile Clark's Grebe in the top pic doesn't appear ready to be far from it's parent though it appears too large to ride on the parent's back. I have seen some this side at least try to climb onto the parent's back but the parents seemed to discourage it by swimming away. As can be seen, the juvenile has it's bill wide open--it may be calling to the parent to feed it.
The young Clark's Grebe in the bottom pic was swimming about 20 feet away from than the parent grebe that sleeping (they sleep on the water with their heads tucked in). It does appear to be an older chick (though not as old as the one in the top pic) and apparently both it and the parent considered it old enough to practice a little independence while the parent got some shut-eye. Fortunately this juvenile and it's parent were near the large vegetative mat on the lake which motor boaters and ski-doos stay away from as the vegetation clogs their blades.

Note: these pics came out better than the ones I posted previously due to having a sunny day rather than the cloudy days when I was there before. Good light is really important when taking distant pics like these with a zoom lens(the grebes were about a hundred or more feet away. SeEtta
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Grebes still with babies on their backs

I made a quick trip to Lake Henry yesterday and was rewarded by the sight of a number of Clark's and Western Grebes still with chicks on their backs and some juvenile grebes learning to be independent. These pics are of a Clark's Grebes that was still "back-brooding" (brooding their young on their backs) its chick.
The downside of the trip was the many ski-doos and motorboats that were on the shore near the 40 recreational vehicles that were already camped there and there would likely be a number more arriving later yesterday and today with their motorboats and ski-doos. While I was there, I watched 2 ski-doos driving very fast across the lake causing grebes to dive for their lives.

The really sad thing is that parent grebes will avoid diving with young chicks on their backs until a real emergency as their offspring can drown. It's really unfortunate that recreationists consider their recreational participation more important than survival of birds and other wildlife--tis is true of other motorized recreationists (like those with ATV's) and even non-motorized recreationists (eg, climbers who disturb nesting raptors).

This includes birders who consider their observation and photographing of birds more important than the birds' welfare, especially when it comes to pursuing rare species or those that are listed as Threatened or Endangered. Indeed it's not just selfish ski-dooers that are a threat to birds but birders who should know better. SeEtta
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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

More Lewis's Woodpecker pics

Here are two more pics of the nesting Lewis's Woodpeckers that I took yesterday. In the top pic, the woodpecker is entering the nest cavity. In the bottom pic, the woodpecker is getting ready to fly out of the nest cavity. The top pic appears almost artificial but the colors are natural and have not been modified though I did have to lighten the pic as the nest cavity is in the shade. Also the eyes are large and dark just as shown in the bottom pic. SeEtta

Nesting Lewis's Woodpeckers

I found a pair of Lewis's Woodpeckers bringing food to nestlings in the tree cavity that is just in front of the bird in these pics. The nestlings must be older as the woodpeckers (both the male and female feed the nestlings) were making frequent trips to the nest cavity to bring food. I also saw them coming out of the nest hole with fecal sacks in their bills. SeEtta
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Bright orange oriole

Male Bullock's Orioles, they species found here in the west, have such brilliant orange plumage, but it only shows up when you can get a pic in good light. That can be a trick since this species spends a lot of time under the canopy of large trees where their mates are nesting.

These male orioles are good dads in my experience. I see them bring food first to the female when she is in the nest then to the nestlings and finally to fledglings. They seem to do their share of parenting including protecting nest sites with their loud calls, removing fecal sacks from the nest (according to Birds of North America online and accompanying some fledglings after they leave the nest (presumably to show them how to find their own food, etc). SeEtta
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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

W.Wood-pewee on nest

This pic shows a Western Wood-pewee on it's nest that I found next to the Arkansas River near Canon City. I am beginning to think that this bird is young as I have walked by this nest daily, usually twice a day, and only seen a bird on it one time in 2 weeks (certainly she may be on the nest for many hours when I'm not there).

As can be seen, the nest is compact and well woven. Per Birds of North America online the nests are "neatly woven of grasses, plant fibers, bark, plant down, feathers, and hair bound together with spiders’ webs; lined with fine grasses, hair; decorated with moss, insect puparia, exuvia, or bud scales." SeEtta