Friday, June 25, 2010

More very good pics of the female Long-billed Curlew

The female curlew was most accommodating in posing for a number of still pics and video. She did appear to be trying to figure out what was making the click that my dslr makes when I snap a photo and would turn her head sideways as shown in the middle pic--maybe trying to triangulate the sound?
While the female foraged, she stayed within about a hundred feet of the older chick over which she was watching just as the male did with the chick he was watching. She called occasionally, presumably to maintain contact with the chick and maybe with her mate too. SeEtta

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Adult female Long-billed Curlew

The top pic of the female Long-billed Curlew is my favorite--she is emitting the distinctive 'cur-lee' call. I got these very good pics of the female as she approached as close as 60-70 feet from me as she foraged. I've got some great video of her foraging but that will have to wait as I have to edit it and post it to youtube before posting it here. SeEtta

Long-billedCurlew male & chick

In the top pic the male curlew can be seen standing not far from the younger chick (about 30-40 feet in this pic). He was a vigilant parent, staying within about a hundred feet and calling frequently to keep contact. When I moved my car closer to the canal, it called loudly and flew up in air (though it didn't fly towards me so not sure that was a true aggressive display, maybe just a warning display?????) to make it's displeasure known and warn the chick.
The bottom pic shows the male bird alone as it watches the chick on the other side of the canal. SeEtta

Long-billedCurlews--the first chick?

After the young chick I photographed in the post below disappeared from view, I drove my car another feet closer to the canal in hopes I could refind the chick. Though I didn't see it again for awhile, I noticed the adult female curlew on the other side of the road on top of the canal on that side. Then I spotted a chick not far from the female--this turned out to be different and older chick (clearly longer bill) than the one I had first seen. Aha!--this pair of curlews has two chicks. The male was watching the younger one on one side of the road and the female was watching the older chick on the other side of the road. The best part for me was that the chicks were not as distant from the road as the one I watched and photographed last week (presumably this, the older chick) which provides better photos (and much better video, but I haven't edited that yet). This older chick spent most of the next hour and half I watched just loafing in about the same place while the female foraged nearby. SeEtta

Long-billed Curlew family-another chick!


I returned to northern Otero County, CO yesterday in hopes that I could refind the Long-billed Curlew family I posted on below. I was delighted to find them only about a quarter mile from where I had seen them last week. I first saw the adult male--it was on the top of the banks of an old irrigation canal that has gathered enough rain water this year to produce some nice wetland vegetation and some standing water. This probably produces a nice invertebrate food source. After I watched the male for a little while, I spotted a Long-billed Curlew chick and took the photo above.
The chick soon moved out of sight but the short view caused me to wonder why this chick looked so young with it's quite short bill (the chick I saw last week appeared about this age then so should be older appearing this week). I didn't find out until a little later that this chick is likely a second and younger chick than the one I saw last week (more on that in next post). Note--all the pics can be enlarged for close-up viewing by double-clicking on each pic. SeEtta

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Possible Roseate Skimmer dragonfly at Holcim Wetlands


A few days ago a skilled birder and naturalist, Tony, found a dragonfly that is very rare in Colorado having only been seen on 4 occasions. As I birded my way back home from Pueblo,CO today I stopped at the Holcim Wetlands. I think I refound that dragonfly which is a Roseate Skimmer. The other dragonflies I saw were Pondhawks, at least one each male (blue) and female (green) and a number of bluets. So the purple-pink colored skimmer caught my attention as it sparred with the Pondhawks. Not only was it's abdomen purple-pink but so is it's thorax (looks dark in pic but was just as bright purple-pink as it's abdomen. This dragonfly was large, similar in size to the Pondhawks. The wings show the same pattern as shown on the photos of Roseate Skimmers on Bug Net. SeEtta

Hawk nesting on cliff by a cave

I have followed this female Red-tailed Hawk for several breeding seasons in an area near Canon City, CO. The first year I observed her nesting, she choose a very precarious small ledge on a steep cliff--but it held and her young fledged successfully. The next year she nested in a less precarious location by some large boulders. Sadly I saw one of her fledglings wedged, and apparently dead, head first in a vertical opening in a nearby cliff area--maybe a wind gust caused it to dive head first into the opening where it was unable to get free, very sad. This year she choose this nice size ledge on another cliff which has a cave behind it. This is very convenient as both she and her young have been able to retreat into the cave to avoid the hot afternoon sun. She built at least a good section of nest on the ledge as much nest material can be seen outside the cave part and she tends to perch on the nesting material on the ledge most of the times I have seen her and only occasionally retreating to the shaded comfort of the cave part.
In the bottom pic the mother bird is tearing pieces of some game that she is feeding in small bites to the young nestling barely visible in the pic. There is an older nestling behind her in the cave. SeEtta

Successful Red Fox with mouse


I was driving when I spotted this pretty Red Fox trotting across a field. I stopped the car and quickly got my drsl camera in position. The fox stopped and looked right at me as I got the top pic with a satisfied look as it had caught a good size mouse that it was taking off to have a nice meal or maybe to a den with young. It's eyes are so bright (I didn't do any manipulation of the eyes, this is what they look ilke) Then it turned and trotted off with the mouse securely held in it's mouth. SeEtta

Monday, June 21, 2010

Western Grebes greeting ceremony video clip


A Western Grebe awakens from a nap, engages in some grooming then reunites with it's apparent mate. The pair engage in some synchronized movements as part of the 'greeting ceremony' that pairs use when reunited after being temporarily separated and apparently serve as a way of reinforcing the pair bond. I don't know what caused the tannish staining on the grebe on the left of the picture. Taped at Lake Henry in Crowley County,Colo. As noted before, double click on the video to go to the YouTube site which has a somewhat larger viewing screen. SeEtta

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Long-billed Curlew Chick exercising it's wings video clip

This Long-billed Curlew chick in northern Otero County, CO exercises it's wings in two episodes as it practices for future flight. After the second flapping the adult female comes in from the left. One or both parents stayed within a hundred or so feet of the chick the whole time I watched. See a somewhat larger video clip by double-clicking on this clip to go to the YouTube viewing. SeEtta