Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sapsucker sap wells


As I have noted in my posts about the Yellow-bellied and Williamson's Sapsuckers, there is evidence of their feeding on trees in the form of sap wells. This pic shows a few sapsucker holes in a Scots pine tree and droplets of sap that have leaked out. When they feed on trees that do not produce a lot of sap like pine trees do, I find the holes they have made. SeEtta

Chicadee from the hills

This Mountain Chickadee is another winter visitor to the Canon City, CO but it comes not from afar. Like it's name implies, this species is a resident of our mountains (or at least the foothills). In fall and winter Mountain Chickadees engage in an attitudinal migration. Some find their way to the eastern plains with most seen in areas near the foothills like Canon City. In most winters I have at least one Mountain Chickadee that comes to my feeders and they seem to really like the raw peanut pieces I put out. There have been times when a Mountain Chickadee would repeatedly call until I put out more peanuts, seemingly telling me to bring more of their favorite food. Though some would consider this anthropomorphizing, I have experienced the same repeated calling by Blue Jays and being buzzed by hummingbirds when feeders were dry--and the behavior stopped when I brought out their food--hmmm. SeEtta
I photographed this chickadee at The Abbey. As noted on the pics, it has a seed in it's beak. In the bottom pic the bird was facing not only me but the sun so there is a shadow of it's beak on it' breast. SeEtta

Visiting geese from the high Artic

Greater White-fronted Geese that winter in and around Colorado breed in far north Arctic areas. Every year a small flock spends the winter in the Canon City area. This flock is composed of 11 birds, including 2 juveniles.

It is reported in Birds of North America online that families remain cohesive during the winter and that this species maintains family bonds "over number of years and persist longer than in other geese." So it seems likely that the Canon flock is related.


The bottom pic shows one of the juveniles near an adult showing clearly some of the differences in plumage, with the lack of white behind the bill the most obvious. SeEtta

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Now a Williamson's Sapucker

Just as I was concerned that I hadn't found any Williamson's Sapsuckers yet, I found this female at the Abbey. As I noted below, one or more Williamson's Sapsuckers has wintered in Canon City since I discovered the first one in 2003.
I think this is an adult female but she was busy drilling holes and didn't give me a good view of her breast area which is black on adults. Immature females should have more brownish feathers on their upperparts also.
I did a more thorough check of the Abbey area and found 4 trees, all Scots pines, that showed fresh sapwells so either this bird has been around for awhile or there is more than one sapsucker. SeEtta

Monday, November 23, 2009

Another Brown Creeper

While waiting for the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in the post below to settle down, I spotted this Brown Creeper working a conifer. I watched very quietly while it worked up and down the trunk of the tree. It has a little residue from probing around the tree bark. SeEtta

Sunday, November 22, 2009

CanonCity's Yellow-bellied Sapsucker


I found this male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in Centennial Park in Canon City last week. It was an exceptionally shy sapsucker which made it most challenging to get these pics as it reacted to the mechanical clicking of my digital DSLR camera (I turned off the bells when I first got the camera but it has distinct clicking noises when I shoot pics that bothers some birds).
This appears to be a different bird than the male sapsucker I found on Oct 29 (see post on Oct 29, 2009) as that bird had extensive bright red on it's crown as well as it's chin and throat while this bird has somewhat limited red on it's crown, a red throat but some white on it's chin.
The second pic from the top shows the extensive white barring, much with a buffish tinge, that is distinctive of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers.
This bird was also much more active than the many other Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers I have seen in not only the Canon City area, but Pueblo, Colorado City and Salida. It hitched itself up and flew between branches then flew to different trees several times before it settled down on the pine tree on which it is shown in the bottom pics.

100 Heartbeats to extinction-Series Intro

Bird feet--Horned Lark

I think bird's feet are interesting. Even small birds like this Horned Lark have long claws--the better to grasp perches and food. I took the bottom pic further north on SH69 from where I saw the Horned Larks. The location has these interesting rocks as shown in the foreground while some mountains further north of the Wet Mountain Valley made an attractive backdrop. SeEtta

Hawks and mountains--more of Westcliffe,CO

The Wet Mountain Valley where Westcliffe and Lake DeWeese are located provides many opportunities to see hawks. In winter, there are usually several Rough-legged Hawks though I only found one yesterday and I got the distant pic of it shown at the top (it was well over a hundred feet away). However I did see 8 Red-tailed Hawks during the half day I birded that area.
The scenic mountains such as these in the Sangre de Christo range provide a great backdrop to birding in this area.