Saturday, July 24, 2010

Barrow's Goldeneye near Canon City,CO

Today I found this Barrow's Goldeneye on the Arkansas River a few miles east of Canon City, CO which is a very unusual place to find this species in the summer. I think this male is in Alternate I plumage which is found in first year birds. SeEtta

Pueblo Mountain Park

Yesterday after an appointment in Pueblo, I decided to tske a detour through Beulah, a small but neat town in western Pueblo County. Since I have found Beulah to be about the best place in southern Colorado for Lewis' Woodpecker, I was surprised to only find 6 Lewis' Woodpeckers. I was delighted to spot two Golden Eagles flying together, likely an adult showing it's offspring the best places to hunt. I also spent some time in Pueblo Mountain Park which is adjacent to Beulah. Though it is predominately ponderosa pine forest, it is a very pleasant location with nice birds. I saw this Broad-tailed Hummingbird, which is either a female or an immature, in one of those ponderosa pine tree. SeEtta

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Some Cedar Waxwings in Canon City

I stopped at the Canon City Riverwalk for a short time this morning to see what might be around while I drank a cup of coffee after my class. I heard then saw 1 Cedar Waxwing, something akin the poster child for an oxymoron (we always expect to see them in a flock and only rarely find one alone). I walked a little further and soon heard the sounds of more several Cedar Waxwings including this one. SeEtta

Flock of 75+ Pinyon Jays

Yesterday I had a little time after the Colo Water Conservation Board meeting that I drove up to attend so I got a some birding in around Salida where the meeting was held. I have posted some pics and video clip of a very large flock of Pinyon Jays I found in a subdivision that was carved out of some very nice pinyon-juniper habitat (possibly where this flock has foraged before this human sprawl invaded) on the north edge of Salida. I had found that flock there previously so I went looking again and was rewarded with these two members of this very large flock of more than 75 members. These pics are good enough to enlarge further-just double-click on each pic. SeEtta

Am Goldfinch take the best sunflowers

The American Goldfinches are pretty feisty and fend off Lesser Goldfinch that try to feed on the best sunflowers.
My sunflower garden didn't take much work as the plants were volunteers from a couple of plants that grew from sunflower seeds dropped from feeders. I just had a small garden plot rototilled and the sunflowers 'volunteered' themselves there. SeEtta

Lesser Goldfinch feasting on sunflower seeds

These Lesser Goldfinch have been enjoying my backyard sunflower garden. I have been trying to add more natural food sources so I can reduce my birdfeeding--I enjoy watching birds pick sunflower seeds from the flower more than out of a tray. Additionally the food sources, especially native food sources like sunflowers, provide food and habitat for other species as well as the seed-eating birds. I have been pleased to be hosting many bees on these sunflowers plus a hummingbird will stop by from time to time,likely to grab a small spider to provide protein. SeEtta

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Neighborhood Gray Catbird-eye to eye

This is my neighborhood Gray Catbird that visits my yard and others around me frequently. I expect this is the male as I was engaged in some counter-singing with it when it popped out of a shrub less than 10 feet from me--it appeared to just have to see who/what was doing that terrible whistling that mimics catbirds. I got only one quick shot as it looked at me for less than 20 seconds then flew off--in a huff(now that's really anthropomorphizing). I have had Gray Catbirds visit my yard for several years beginning the year after a pair nested in a messy shrub under my dining room window (that was really cool). SeEtta

Close-up of Prairie Rattlesnake-from a distance

There is a big advantage of having a super long telephoto lens for many shots but none more comforting than when you want to take a photo of a Prairie Rattlesnake like this big guy that is likely around 5 foot long. I was actually standing more than 10 feet away which is a comfortable distance since they can strike up to 1/2 their length from a coiled position. The triangular flattened head and relatively thin neck as well as the "vertically elliptical eye pupils" of this species easily seen in the pic. If you double-click on the pic to see it ultra enlarged, the pits ("lateral heat sensory organs") can be seen between eye and nostril.
According to Colo State Extension"their forked tongues transport microscopic particles from the environment to sensory cells in pits at the roof of the mouth. A rattlesnake uses these pits to track prey it has struck and to gather information about its environment." This guy was found in the relatively unused canal that brings water to Neenoshe that was full of tumbleweeds. I had just commented on how rattlers like that kind of environment which makes a good home to rats they like to eat when this snake came up out of the tumbleweeds to investigate us. SeEtta

Monday, July 19, 2010

Common Nighhawks snoozing

I spotted this Common Nighthawk as I drove out of Neenoshe Reservoir last week with a group of folks conducting a site survey. I couldn't stop so I returned the next day expecting the bird to be there since they sleep during the day and would likely use the same roost as long as it wasn't disturbed. SeEtta