Friday, April 15, 2011

Video: Impacts of urban develpment on stream ecosystems

video
USGS Release: Aquatic Life Declines at Early Stages of Urban Development (6/3/2010 11:00:00 AM)
This video from United States Geological Services (USGS)discusses recent research on the impacts of urban development on streams ecosystems. They found that the number of fish and aquatic insects "declines in urban and suburban streams at low levels of development — levels often considered protective for stream communities."

“When the area of driveways, parking lots, streets and other impervious cover reaches 10 percent of a watershed area, many types of pollution sensitive aquatic insects decline by as much as one third, compared to streams in undeveloped forested watersheds,” said Tom Cuffney, USGS biologist. “We learned that there is no ‘safezone,’ meaning that even minimal or early stages of development can negatively affect aquatic life in urban streams.”  Interestingly they did not find this significant impact in their Denver study area but they explain that that area had already been degraded by agricultural impacts so the conversion to urban development didn't cause the change that they did find in other locations that had intact stream ecosystems.   Read their full release statement.  SeEtta

Migrating Wilson's Snipe-a pictoral study

Though I usually find Wilson's Snipe in the Canon City, CO area in most winters, I couldn't find any this past winter which though mostly warmer than usual had a significant cold spell with consecutive well below zero temps (more than 15 below). I suspect that the snipe in these pics migrated into the area this week.
I found 3 Wilson's Snipe foraging together in the flooded fields in Florence a few days ago. They were sharing this area with migrating Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs and Snowy Egrets that I posted about below.
The snipe in the middle two pics raised their tails after disturbed by a flock of Starlings and appears to be a defensive or agonistic behavior. In the bottom pic the snipe has it's wings raised up out of the way that shows well the extensive barring on it's flanks. Do double-click on each pic to enlarge them for close-up views. SeEtta

Snowy Egret with plumes blowing in the wind

A few Snowy Egrets stop-over in the Canon City, Colo area during spring migration and only a few as wetlands and other bodies of water are in short supply in this area. A favorite stop-over spot is the agricultural fields just east of Florence where they still practice flood irrigation. When these agricultural fields are flooded with irrigation water they become like wet meadows and are ideal for waterbirds and waterfowl alike.
This is one of several Snowy Egrets I have seen foraging in the Florence area over the past week. Since the wind is almost always blowing these days, it was easy to get photos of the Snowy Egrets plumes blowing in the incessant winds though the egret had just shook and fluffed its feathers that accentuated the effect in the bottom pic.  Both pics can be viewed by double-clicking on each pic to enlarge it. SeEtta

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Please make a donation to Raptor Resource Project--they brought us the eagle cam

If you have enjoyed the live streaming video of the Bald Eagle nest or even the captured videos of these eagles below, please make a donation to to Raptor Resource Project .

They are the non-profit group that is bringing us these fantatic live and captured videos and they are doing great work in conserving raptor populations. 

Don't forgot to turn off the live streaming video when you are not watching--don't waste broadband .  You can still keep the video view screen open--just click the two horizontal lines on the bottom left of the video view screen then you can toggle it back on later as an arrow will replace the lines when the live streaming video is off.
SeEtta

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cassin's Finch in prairie valley along Purgatory River

Yesterday I birded a little south of La Junta,Colo in the Higbee area which is in the Purgatory River valley. This is a prairie-canyon area where there are large deciduous trees likely planted by farmers in the area. I was surprised to see a small flock of Cassin's Finch, usually a more foothill to mountain bird, feasting on the tender buds on those decidious trees along with at least 1 Lesser Goldfinch and hundreds of American Goldfinch. I also saw at least two Chihuahuan Ravens in the area. SeEtta

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"Bird-Feeding Frenzy"-one study shows effects of birdfeeding on birds


Interesting article from the National Wildlife Federation:
"Birders in North America and Europe put out some 550,000 tons of wild birdseed a year, yet scientists are only beginning to study the hobby’s biological effects
03-15-2011 // David Lukas

OUTWARDLY, there’s nothing momentous about filling a backyard bird feeder with seed. This simple act takes mere minutes, yet provides hours of backyard birding at little cost." 

Read the rest of this provocative article.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, both in photo together

Though most of the Yellowlegs that are migrating through my area of Colorado are Greater Yellowlegs, I did get this pic with both a Lesser and a Greater in the same frame that shows some of the differences in these similar species. The bill on the Lesser is much shorter relative to the size of it's head than the Greater. The bill on the Greater shows a slight upturn and though more distant in this pic, it is larger in size (tho a very difficult difference to judge in the field when Lessers not present).
Also liked this pic of the Lesser Yellowlegs I photographed as it foraged in the flooded agricultural fields that become like wet meadows when flood irrigated. Both pics can be best viewed for details by double-clicking to enlarge each one. SeEtta

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Update: Bald Eagles-dad was on nest with mom feeding chicks

Around noon mst I checked in and saw both Bald Eagle parents in the nest.  Dad was taking a turn at feeding the chicks.  However he must not have done enough feeding as mom took over feeding chicks after dad flew out of nest.   A few minutes later he flew back in to the nest and vocalized.  He stayed for about 15 min not doing anything but spending time there then flew off again.  Interesting to see the real lives (this is true reality tv) of Bald Eagles.  SeEtta