Saturday, August 21, 2010

Barrow's Goldeneye near Canon City,CO-part 2

Thought we think of Barrow's Goldeneye as diving birds, this young male has done a lot of it's feeding in shallow water as is shown when it stands up in the few inches of water in which it is in to stretch it's wings. Though the Arkansas River in Colorado is not known for it's dept, there are some deep pools in this area where I have seen other Barrow's Goldeneye dive. This species feeds on aquatic invertebrates which I suspect it is finding on the rocks in this shallow water. SeEtta

Barrow's Goldeneye near Canon City,CO

This immature male Barrow's Goldeneye has been hanging around the Arkansas River just east of Canon City,CO since July 25. As this goldeneye stretches and grooms, it provides nice views of it's plumage which I think is Alternate I that is found on first year birds. Most Barrow's Goldeneye are found in the far western mountains up to Alaska with a small breeding population found in Colorado in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area in nw part of the state. This young goldeneye is too young to breed (couldn't find anything about when males start breeding but most females of this species don't start until they are three years old according to All About Birds.org). Nevertheless it is far from where it should be at this time of year His lack of balance when he exercises his wings causing him to fall off the rock into the water may be an indication of his youth as younger birds often display poorer coordination than adults. SeEtta.

Young handsome male Barrow's Goldeneye

These are still pics of the immature male Barrow's Goldeneye in the video clips below. I think he's quite a looker and will be a hit with the goldeneye ladies when he's old enough to find a mate. SeEtta

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

More commentary related to Am Birding Assoc crisis

Ken Kaufman has added more commentary on his blog about the current situation with the American Birding Association and suggestions about who ABA should serve. Ken suggests an 'inclusive' approach aimed at serving all birders be they. expert or beginner, backyard or chaser. Read Ken's remarks and comments

Bear cub just 40 feet away!

After an appointment in Pueblo, I detoured to the San Isabel National Forest near Greenwood, CO this afternoon. It was a little cooler and very peaceful as I was the only one in the area I drove into. I (and my 2 dogs who had been sleeping while I just enjoyed the quiet) had been very quiet for quite a while, I stepped out of my car. When I turned around to get back in the car I was very surprised to see a bear cub just 40 feet away on the other side of the car. I quickly but carefully got into my car to get my camera trying not to scare the young bear. However, it had stood up on it's back legs to smell the air and as soon as it got a whiff of human it ran quickly into a nearby gulch and I never got a chance to get a photo.

What a bummer as I have never been that close to a bear in the wild when I was not safely inside my car (of course, since I was inches away from being in my car I wasn't fearful but it did feel like I was out there with the cub). This looked like a yearling cub so mom was likely nearby which changed my plans to let the dogs out and to take a hike. Two years ago (specifically on August 1,2008) I saw a mother bear and her 2 cubs in this area not far from where I saw this one--that time I got photos. This is great bear habitat with lots of scrub oak (loaded up not quite ripe acorns) and minimal human interlopers. SeEtta

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Water changing fish gender from Boulder update

This should be good news to all who drink water that flows downstream of Boulder,CO. SeEtta:

"Male fish are taking longer to be "feminized" by chemical contaminants that act as hormone disrupters in Colorado's Boulder Creek following the upgrade of a wastewater treatment plant in Boulder in 2008, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado at Boulder." Read the full story here

Monday, August 16, 2010

Very young Common Raven

Much to my surprise as I walked across a bridge over the Arkansas River at Texas Creek, CO yesterday this young Common Raven flew onto a fence about 15 feet in front of me. I had earlier heard some muffled calls that sounded sort of like a Common Raven and they must have come from this bird.
This Common Raven is quite young, possibly even a fledgling or not long since it was. It has a very pink mouth lining with a still some pink on base of bill. Eyes are grayish though somewhat difficult to see in these pics. Plumage brownish-black with wing and tail feathers glossy (supposed to be green or purple gloss but it looks like a blue gloss to me).
I had my smaller dog with me and he was startled and unsure of this bird that, though it weighs a lot less, is actually larger than him. I held him at my side by his leash but when the raven started to call it scared by dog who barked at it causing it to fly away before I could study it better. SeEtta

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Both juvenile phoebes still here

Both juvenile probable hybrid phoebes are still foraging right near the nest site along the Arkansas River east of Canon City,CO. I see one sallying from overhanging branches very near the nest site and often the other from overhanging branches about 25 feet upriver. These two siblings seem to be staying together a lot as I also saw them together this evening foraging upstream several hundred yards from their usual location (the location where the big insect hatch occurred 2 days ago). They are now 22 days post fledging and this is the longest I have ever been able to follow any fledged phoebes. SeEtta

Study shows impact of birders/hikers on birds

A study of how human voices effect birds was conducted recently in Peru. Their findings, published in Biotropa: Journal of Tropical Biology and Conservation included:
>human voice noise resulted "in decreased vocalizations (37% decline) and decreased physical sightings (44% decline)."
>of conservation concern: "As vocalization is involved in territory defense, breeding behavior, and predator detection, strong noise responsiveness indicates potential harm for birds. Insectivores were the most affected bird guild, raising conservation concerns, as insectivorous birds are sensitive to habitat modification"

I have found the issue of 'birder impact' to be a hot topic with many serious birders who maintain that their birding has no deleterious effects on birds. I got in hot water on the Colo birding listserve a few years ago for expressing my concern about birder impact, in that instance the subject specifically addressed birders damaging habitat while pursuing rare birds. I was flat told that birders in Colorado don't do that. What a crock--I have personally observed birders trampling habitat to see rarities in Colorado on more than one occasion. This research adds another dimension, plus some scientific research, to the issue of how birders impact birds (and their habitats).

The research is discussed in an article "Hiking quietly benefits birds... and birders"SeEtta