Saturday, August 28, 2010

I found this Monarch Butterfly not far from La Junta, CO in the southeastern part of the state. Monarch Butterflies in many parts of the U.S. have begun their fall migration. If you can tell them apart from Viceroy Butterflies (very similar looking) you can help track their migration at http://www.learner.org/jnorth/monarch/

Mississippi Kite fledgling & parent


The top pic is the fledgling Mississippi Kite I found in Rocky Ford, CO that is shown in the video clips below. The bottom pic is the parent that was watching over the fledgling. These pics show the distinct difference in plumage between adult and a young bird in juvenal plumage worn by fledglings and juvenile birds. SeEtta

Mississippi Kite-a watchful parent clip

This short clip shows one of the parent birds to the fledgling Mississippi Kite I video-taped in Rocky Ford. The parent remained in a tree only about 150 feet from the tree in which the fledgling was perched, clearly keeping a watchful eye on it's offspring. It had just completed some grooming and in this clip is seen looking around--maybe looking for the other parent that is off hunting as the hungry fledgling can be heard calling in the background. SeEtta

Friday, August 27, 2010

Mississippi Kite fledgling-video clip 2

This short clip of the Mississippi Kite fledgling I video-taped in Rocky Ford, CO shows it preening in between calls to let it's parent know it's still hungry. It looks like the kite is chewing something after it preens--not sure if it is finding mites or some other insects when it preens and couldn't find anything about this on the internet. SeEtta

MississippiKiteFledgling-video clip 1

I videotaped this Mississippi Kite fledgling in Rocky Ford,CO in a residential area. During this short clip, the fledgling yawns, then calls to let it's parent's know it wants some food though I watched it being fed just before I filmed this. It spent a lot of time calling and later made two forays on it's own to try to catch something. SeEtta

Monday, August 23, 2010

Lewis's Woodpecker juvenile still pics

The juvenile Lewis's Woodpecker in the top pic shows a little reddish coloration on it's belly feathers. Otherwise these look like they do in the video clips. SeEtta

Lewis's Woodpecker parent bird

This is a parent bird that is still accompanying the juvenile Lewis's Woodpeckers shown the in video clips below and in the still pics above. SeEtta

Another provocative Ted Eubanks' essay

Ted Eubanks has posted another excellent and provocative essays to his website in an interesting discussion of what a 'good' birder is with 'inciteful' notes about ABA, and about Audubon.

Ted says,"Good birding demands good stewardship. In my mind, good birders limit impacts (such as by reducing consumption), and those impacts that are unavoidable are mitigated. The most consumptive activity associated with birding is travel. Therefore “good” birders limit the need for transportation (use mass transit, become place based) and mitigate for the impacts when travel in unavoidable."

Right on Ted. Read's Ted's essayThe Tao of Birding if you dare. SeEtta

Lewis's Woodpecker juveniles-video clip 2

This clip gives a nice view of the juvenal plumage of these Lewis's Woodpeckers including a good look at the of the warm chesnut tones on it's head. According to "Birds of North America" online there is considerable variation in juvenal plumage in birds in these post-breeding flocks but does note that "feathers of hindneck have white subterminal spots (not present in adult....)"--these white spots can be seen if the video is stopped when it's back is to the camera. BNA also notes that the tail feathers are more pointed than in adult plumage a feature seen at the end of this clip. One of the woodpeckers flies over to the top of a snag and has what looks like a winged insect in it's bill. It proceeds to either cache this food or try to dig more insects out? I have watched this clip over and over and cannot tell whether it is food caching or finding. This species is known for caching acorns in tree crevices (tho I didn't find anything about them caching insects) as well as using their bills to located insects in broken/open parts of snag trees. Does anybody have experience with this? SeEtta

Lewis's Woopecker juveniles-video clip 1

I first found these Lewis's Woodpeckers in juvenal plumage on Aug 13 flying from branch to branch on the likely nest tree. However, they flew across the river before I could count how many there were or see if they were still being fed by parents. I refound them on Aug 21 just a few hundred feet from the probable nest tree and they were clearly foraging for themselves when I took this very short video clip. SeEtta

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bighorn sheep ewes with lambs

Yesterday I spotted this small herd of Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep as I drove home through Bighorn Sheep Canon here in Fremont Co.,CO (near where John Christo wants to put his 'over the river' panels which is projected to draw several hundred thousand people to this canyon in a two period). I didn't try to get out of my car but as soon as I turned off my engine the herd starting moving away even though I was about 75 feet from them.
Just goes to demonstrate that though Bighorn sheep will often stand in place even when people are near, that depends upon the tolerance level of the specific sheep and such factors as whether they have young lambs with them as this herd did (actually there were 2 lambs with these 4 ewes but the other lamb was out of the photo). Not all creatures engage in fight or flight, some just freeze in place--this species has demonstrated that their heart rates go up when people are near with evidence that this makes them susceptible to disease later in the year. Oddly some people will hear this from a Div of Wildlife officer yet continue to believe not the facts but what they want to believe-that the sheep are not bothered in any way. SeEtta