Friday, October 30, 2009

Hungry Hermit Thrush pics

During the 20-30 minutes I watched and photographed this Hermit Thrush, I watched it consume a seed (not sure what plant those seeds were from but several more are visible in the pic) shown in upper pic and several juniper berries. Interestingly, they are well known as insect feeders that eat more berries in winter but often seeds are not mentioned (other than berry/fruit seeds). Ir also appeared to drink some water from the melted snow in the street. SeEtta

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Migrating Hermit Thrush

I found this migrating Hermit Thrush in Veteran's Park in Canon City,CO this morning. Actually there were two Hermit Thrush but the second bird was more secretive, a characteristic for which this species is known. However this bird came out into the open and foraged within 15-20 feet of me. Twice it flew under my car which put it quite close to me but out of sight. The second bird stayed in the juniper trees next to the park road.
I included the bottom pic as it so clearly shows it's reddish tail, back and wings so nicely. It also shows it's how this species holds it's wings in an outward manner (they also flick them). More pics in next post. SeEtta

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Canon City Yellow-bellied Sapsucker(s) return

Canon City, CO has hosted 1 or more Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers very winter since December,2003. I have found them in mid-October in some years and have been looking for them for about 2 weeks but without any sign (no fresh sapwells) until I spotted this male adult today. He was in a pine tree in Centennial Park, one of several winter hot-spots that this species, as well as some Williamson's and a few Red-naped Sapsuckers in Canon City. I checked two other "sapsucker hotspots" but didn't find any more sapsuckers so this is the first to return.
I posted the close-up bottom pic as it shows better the full black frame around the throat of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, one field mark that separates it from Red-naped Sapsuckers (which have an incomplete black border). SeEtta

Cranes snowstorm stopover

Much of Colorado has been in the grip of a significant snowstorm for the past 3 days. I took this pic of part of a flock of 80-90 Sandhill Cranes that were using Brush Hollow Reservoir northeast of Canon City for a vital stop-over. Though we got 4-6 inches of snow in the Canon City,CO area from this storm, it stayed around freezing so some melted and the roads remained mostly wet. Further west and north, where much more snow fell and temps were lower the conditions were pretty nasty.
Just double-click on the pic for a closer though not sharp view of the cranes. SeEtta

"It Takes Two To Tutor A Sparrow"

An interesting article from 'ScienceDaily' online news:

"It may take a village to raise a child, and apparently it takes at least two adult birds to teach a young song sparrow how and what to sing.

In the first study conducted in the field to examine how juvenile song birds learn their repertoire, University of Washington researchers have learned that eavesdropping on the singing conversations between two adult sparrows appears to be a key event in song learning. The results are being published Oct. 21 in the online edition of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The Royal Society is the British version of the National Academy of Sciences.

Scientists study how song birds acquire their songs because the process has parallels with human language learning. In each case eavesdropping seems to play a role." Read the full article here SeEtta

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More Cedar Waxwing pics

I caught the bird in the top pic just as it reached for a juniper berry. Some of the birds, including this one, seemed to believe they were hidden from me by the juniper branches or foilage and continued their feast as though I wasn't there.
Here is a close-up of the red areas of their wings and yellow at end of tail feathers that are so distinctive of this species. SeEtta

Cedar Waxwings, eating machines



Earlier this week I found a flock of at least 25 Cedar Waxwings that were literally devouring the berries in several 15 foot tall juniper trees near the Arkansas River in Canon City, CO. I was able to get pretty close to them, less than 20 feet away so I got a few close-ups (yes, I might have got even crisper pics with my camera on a tripod instead of handheld; but I doubt that I could have got as close again to them after returning to my car for my tripod and I think these came out pretty good)
I returned to this area and the waxwings had stripped all of the berries from these junipers except small patches that were close to the traffic driving on the adjacent busy street next to the trees. Cedar Waxwings are truly very efficient eating machines. SeEtta