Saturday, October 9, 2010

Unusually warm weather in Colorado as well as much of US

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Organization (NOAA) released it's latest monthly State of the Climate Report which noted the following significant weather phenomena:
      "U.S. Temperature Highlights — September September was the fourth consecutive month with above-average U.S. temperatures. It followed the fourth warmest summer on record. Most states had above-average temperatures, and several others experienced temperatures ranking among their top 10 warmest: Rhode Island (third warmest), New Mexico (fourth), New Jersey (fourth), Colorado (fifth), Massachusetts (sixth), Florida (seventh), Connecticut (seventh), New Hampshire (seventh), Arizona (ninth) and Maine (ninth). Regionally, the Southwest climate region experienced its third warmest September on record. Only the East North Central climate region had below-normal temperatures.
  • An unusual heat wave affected Southern California the last week of September. On Sept. 27, the temperature in downtown Los Angeles reached 113 F, setting an all-time record high temperature for the city. The previous record was 112 F, set in June 1990."
     
Additionally Colorado and several other western states have had below average precipitation this fall.  I wonder what impact these weather changes have had on birds and other wildlife.  I have certainly observed some late nesting by several species of birds this year in my area and further east in Colorado.  SeEtta

Friday, October 8, 2010

One of the Forster's Terns was still in it's breeding plumage (Alternate) as shown in these pics. The bird in the top pic was preparing to dive. SeEtta

More Forster's Tern pics

Though common at lakes on Colorado's plains, these are fun birds to watch as they hover then dive straight into the water as shown in the bottom pic. The bottom pic is a little fuzzy but clicking on it provides a nice view and the top pic enlarges well. SeEtta

Forster's Terns at Lake Henry in SE Colorado

I drove down to lakes north of LaJunta and Rocky Ford, Colo for awhile yesterday. My very elderly dog has been quite ill and this was the first chance I have been able to go very far with him (I have to give him meds every 6 hours and can't leave him for long). I found 3 Forster's Terns diving around the edges of Lake Henry including this one that is now in Basic (winter ) plumage. SeEtta

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Handsome White-breasted Nuthatch

I photographed this White-breasted Nuthatch this week at the Canon City, CO Riverwalk. I heard this one and several more calling as they foraged along tree trunks and limbs, probing for tidbits between crevices.as the bird in the middle pic is doing.
The White-breasted Nuthatches found in the Interior West make a rapid fire double-noted call which sounds to me like 'bidi-bidi-bidi-bidi' (various sources describe the call differently). The call of these birds is usually different from Eastern and Pacific populations and Nathan Pieplow has done fantastic work on this. Read his posts on this species here.
Check out the beautiful chestnut undertail and lower belly which is shown nicely in the bottom pic. SeEtta

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fantastic undersea video from Smithsonian

Monday, October 4, 2010

'Just' a common Northern Flicker-I think common birds are cool too

Just a couple of pics of a male Red-shafted Northern Flicker I took at the Canon City Riverwalk yesterday. I love to hear them calling in the fall and especially giving their 'wicka wicka wicka' calls. SeEtta

Yellow-rumped Warblers moving through Canon City,CO area

Last week there was a big push of Yellow-rumped Warblers moving through the Canon City,CO area as they migrate for the winter. I saw a number, including this one, just east of Canon City in a hackberry tree (native here and a great bird and insect attractor). Most, like this one, are in their winter (Basic) plumage. I also saw a number on the Canon City Riverwalk, which is one local location where some of this species usually overwinters.
I included the rear/side view of the Yellow-rumped Warbler because most photographers only post head shots or others that include the head. This is unfortunate as those with less familiarity with this and other species may see or photograph a bird from the side or rear and need to look at pics that they can use to compare.

Western Scrub Jay

This is one of the Western Scrub Jays that were performing acrobatics to get seed from a hanging feeder with tiny perches meant for smaller birds at my friend Gail's home in pinyon-juniper habitat a little west of Canon City, CO. A couple of Juniper Titmice came into nearby trees as did one Pinyon Jay (there was a flock not far away so this may have been a scout checking out the food supply). SeEtta

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Yes, it was a Northern Parula

I received 4 emails, all from very skilled and experienced birders, with 3 stating they were convinced the warbler I posted below was indeed a Northern Parula. One suggested the possibility of a Magnolia Warbler. SeEtta