Saturday, January 22, 2011

Back in Colorado: Beautiful Bald Eagles

I still have several more video clips and a number of pics from my Texas trip to post but it was just such a great birding day here near home that I had to post these now. I drove up the Bighorn Sheep Canyon that runs along the Arkansas River from just west of Canon City to the town of Howard. Near the town of Cotopaxi I found these Bald Eagle perched on a snag tree on the other side of the highway and the river, between 125-150 feet away--(not close but with my 300mm lens, 1.4 extender and 1.6 multiplier for not having a full frame camera, it was the equivalent of about a 900 mm lens).
If you look close, the eagle has a feather stuck on top of it's bill. Just double-click on each pic for close-up views (these pics are good enough quality to enlarge fairly nicely). This might have come from when it groomed itself or possibly from some bird it consumed. SeEtta

Friday, January 21, 2011

Clapper Rail clip 6: the final 'stalk'


If you have viewed the other 5 clips and now ready to view this one, you are either a bird behavior lover (like I am) or a rail-o-phile . This last clip shows the rail stalking some more then apparently giving up or deciding it's time to take a break as it walks out of the water and into some talk vegetation where it proceeds to engage in some grooming (didn't post the video of that as it doesn't show--I saw it with my binoculars). Hope you have enjoyed these clips as I have enjoyed them. SeEtta

Clapper Rail clip 5: longer view of rail in good light & more close-ups


A little longer clip with the rail in good light and some close-up views as it stalks and actively forages. SeEtta

ClapperRail-clip 4: close-up views of cinnamon, buff & gray plumage


This is another very short clip and it provides some close-up views of the Clapper Rail. Though it is under the boardwalk, the cinnamon, buff and gray colored feathers are seen since the sunlight is lighting up the area. SeEtta

ClapperRail-clip 3: rail stalks slowly then quick action


In this short video clip the Clapper Rail begins with a slow stalk then locates a target feast prompting some vigorous movement. SeEtta

Clapper Rail: a few photos

I had to throw in a few still pics for a change of pace.
Check out the drop of water in the bottom pic that I caught just as it hit the water. It dropped from the rail's bill. SeEtta

Clapper Rail clip2: video clip of rail foraging under the boardwalk


In this short clip the Clapper Rail is foraging under a section of the boardwalk. A very close-up view is at the end of the clip. SeEtta

Clapper Rail clip1: video clip of rail walking around in the open

I videotaped this Clapper Rail from the famous So Padre Island Convention Center boardwalk and am posting a series of short clips (most under 30 seconds). I have visited this wonderful birding boardwalk on a number of occasions when I have traveled to the Rio Grande Valley to enjoy the wonderful birds in this area. I have always enjoyed the great and usually close-up views I have had of Clapper Rails from this boardwalk. I will be adding still photos and videos of other cool birds I saw from this boardwalk this trip in later posts. I must add that I was quite disappointed with the new additions to the boardwalk system that is associated with the new So Padre Nature and Birding Center, a far too expensive building (no additional habitat just a fancy building with waterfalls in front?!) and not a very friendly place (they could learn a lot about servicing nature lovers from the staff at the Estero Llano Grande State Park). I strongly recommend entering the boardwalk from the Convention Center entrance, a location that also has a nice butterfly garden and bird habitat.

In this first, and very short, clip the rail walks out into the open providing some very nice views. SeEtta

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Long-billed Thrasher foraging for food in the leaf litter: video clip


One of the Rio Grande Valley's specialty birds (resident of So Texas & Eastern Mexico)is shown engaging in their distinctive feeding behavior--poking and sweeping it's bill from side to side in the leaf litter, eating several morsels it finds. It gives great views at the beginning of the clip when it stops to look to see if I was a threat (no one else was nearby and though I was being very quiet, the camcorder makes a little beep sound when it starts). I videotaped this bird at the Frontera Audubon thicket in Weslaco, TX, a great place to bird (even when they don't have rarities, I find I can get great views of Valley specialities at pretty close range here). SeEtta

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Thousands of Sandhill Cranes line the fields adacent to H87--more west Texas fun

The very top pic shows a crane beginning a leap up while flapping it's wings. Though often associated with dances of breeding behavior, Birds Of North America online explains that this is a signaling behavior given by birds intending to take off to other family members.
video

Both this video clip (they are pretty distant in the clip) and bottom pic (it is best to double click on the pic to see the extent of the view captured by that wide angle shot) show many of the Sandhill Cranes that were foraging in tilled agricultural (presumably cotton as most I saw were) fields adjacent to H87 north of Big Spring and south of Lamesa in west Texas. These cranes extended for over a mile along the highway, most on the west side but a few hundred on the east side. That was a pretty cool distraction from the otherwise not very stimulating drive between these two towns. SeEtta

Chihuahuan Raven flock infiltrated by a hawk: video clip of the action


This short clip shows a rather hapless hawk that flew into the midst of a loose flock of Chihuahuan Ravens and it was not welcome. Both the hawk and the ravens engage in some acrobatic warfare. This clip is best viewed in an enlarged form that can be accessed by double-clicking the small box in far bottom right corner. SeEtta

Monday, January 17, 2011

Chihuahuan Ravens: Jan, 2011 clip of hundreds flying overhead

video
I got this clip a few days ago on my return trip through the Lamesa, TX area. These are only a small part of the very large congregation of more than a thousand I found north of Lamesa--hundreds flying, hundreds perched in trees and hundreds sharing an area that likely included a pond with hundreds of Sandhill Cranes. The sound of the Chihuahuan Ravens comes pretty clear in this clip as hundreds of the birds fly overhead. SeEtta

Chihuahuan Ravens: close-up video clip


This short clip gives a closer view of two Chihuahuan Ravens. Previous to this clip the raven on the right was making a non-too-subtle move to get the food that the other raven has. The raven in the rear outsmarted it and returns to working on whatever morsel it has in its beak. SeEtta

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chihuahuan Ravens: large flock flying


This short video clip gives another nice view of the large concentration of Chihuahuan Ravens near Lamesa,TX as this group flies fairly close to the ground giving pretty good views. SeEtta

Chihuahuan Raven: beak view

This raven was one of the very large winter concentration in the Lamesa, TX area. It, and many others I saw, showed very clearly the field marks of Chihuahuan Ravens. This is in contrast to a number of ravens that I see in southeastern Colorado where it is often difficult if not impossible to clearly identify birds that do not vocalize. In this pic the heavy/thick bill with rictal bristles coming almost the distal end of the bill make it clear that this is a Chihuahuan, and not a Common, Raven. SeEtta

Wintering concentration of Chihuahuan Ravens


This video clip shows one of the large loose flocks of Chihuahuan Ravens I saw in and around Lamesa, TX both on my way to the Rio Grande Valley in December and on my way back this week. Birds of North America online notes that this species is known to congregate in large numbers in western parts of Texas. More to come. SeEtta