Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Unusual tanager today/post note: others don't think so

Post note: I received messages from two experienced birders who said they believed this bird had either worn off one wing bar or was young and had not acquired it yet.
I saw this apparent female Western Tanager this morning on the Canon City Riverwalk, but something didn't seem right so I took these pics. The first thing that struck me was that this bird had only 1 wing bar instead of the two that are considered field marks for separating female Westerns from other female tanagers. The pics seem to show a yellowish wing bar and it is in the location of the greater coverts. The yellowish wing bar that would be expected to be formed by the tips of the median coverts is not present (photos show some spots of daylight that were filtering through the branches).
The other thing that really struck me as different was the larger size of this bird's bill. In the photos it also shows that most of the lower mandible is quite dark (should be more greenish yellow per Birds of North America-BNA online as shown in this bird-in-hand pic) though the cutting edge does appear to be greenish-yellow as is expected on Western females (BNA).
Unfortunately these pics of the bird do not provide views of other parts that might show other field marks. As there have been records of hybrid tanagers, it causes me to wonder if this bird might be a hybrid??? SeEtta

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hybrid BlackXEastern Phoebe: a second juvenile

While watching for the Black, Eastern and hybrid offspring Phoebes I have been following in Canon City,CO I spotted a second hybrid juvenile. It was easy to tell that this was another juvenile as it's appearance is substantially different from the first hybrid juvenile. The top and middle pics are of the second hybrid juvenile while the third is one of the pics I took of the first hybrid juvenile I found a week ago.
This second hybrid juvenile looks mostly like an Eastern Phoebe with a whitish throat contrasting with dark head, smudgy sides (though there seems to be some rather black portions and smudgy areas 'leak' across breast (similar to Black Phoebe but not completely dark across breast and Eastern Phoebes in juvenal plumage often have this). The tips of the rectrices are quite sharp, a characteristic of juvenal plumage for Black Phoebes and possibly for Eastern also (Birds of North America online not very clear on Eastern. It lacks both in the photos, and in my observation through my spotting scope, yellow wash on belly and underparts that is prominent in juvenal plumage for Eastern Phoebes. Other plumage characteristics not seen in photos or when I watched the bird in my spotting scope. Though this bird is clearly different in appearance than the first hybrid, it is in my opinion intermediate in plumage between Black and Eastern Phoebes. SeEtta

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Western Screech-Owl: still pics of one of the the juveniles in owl family

This is one of the juveniles in the family of Western Screech Owls I have been following these past few weeks. I found this one at 8:30 pm which is right just a little after sunset so can get pic without flash. Took bottom pic around the same time as too pic but taken at only 1/30th of a second rather than 1/50th as on last pic so get more features but a little blurry--and both handheld so difficult not to have blur at that slow speed (usually take photos, with good light, at 1/400th to 1/800th of a second). These young owls are becoming skilled flyers, at least for short distances, and darn good hunters. SeEtta

Colorful moon

I got the top pic of the full moon as it was close to the horizon--I did not edit color, this is what it looked like (and I have no idea why). Just 20 minutes later as seen in bottom pic the moon, both taken from Canon City, CO area, had lost it's color (??) but still interesting with clouds moving in front of it. SeEtta