Saturday, November 12, 2011

"The hidden beauty of pollination"

This is an extraordinary video showing hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, bats and flowers so close up and so vivid it takes your breath away. It shows the critters as they pollinate various flowers and some fantastic time-lapse film photography of flowers as they open. It was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. This is a presentation by the TED nonprofit that “devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading.” They do some fantastic work including linking nature and solutions to human problems. In this video the “Filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg shows us the intricate world of pollen and pollinators with gorgeous high-speed images from his film “Wings of Life,” inspired by the vanishing of one of nature’s primary pollinators, the honeybee”. At the beginning of the video, the filmmaker describes his work including his emotional link to the flowers and pollinators he has filmed for many years. Be patient as soon you will see the most stunning video begins–you will want to share this with everyone you know who enjoys hummingbirds, butterflies and other pollinators. SeEtta

Friday, November 11, 2011

High flying Northern Harrier

Among several interesting hawks I have seen in the Canon City area in the past week is this juvenile Northern Harrier.  With it's dark head, neck feathers and the pronounced facial disc, it is quite distinctive.

The broad bars on it's tail stand out in all pics though the narrow white terminal band can be see best in the bottom pic.  
I was happy to get these pics of this high flying harrier as it is difficult to get photos of their underparts since they usually fly close to the ground. Actually it is somewhat unusual to see this species in the Canon City area. SeEtta

Another Harlan's Hawk photo

Though the bird was more distant in this pic, about 200 feet away, the light was a little better so it provides a nice view of it's head, it's upperparts as well as some of it's underparts. I haven't seen it try to catch anything but I have observed it watching the agricultural fields below it so likely hunting for mice, snakes and such. SeEtta

Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk


This is a Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk that has been visiting in the Canon City, CO area for several days. It was quite sensitive and did not tolerate viewing from inside my car and over a hundred feet away so difficult to get pics. It vocalized it's displeasure at my viewing and photographing it both while perched and flying as can be seen in these pics with it's bill open as it screams. As shown it has a lot of white on it's face but very little on it's upperparts. It's tail is also quite whitish on the underside. It has a lot of blackish markings on it's underside. SeEtta

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"Insects can be scared to death by the mere presence of a predator"

This is some amazing research:  "
Insects may not have the biggest brains in the animal world, but that doesn’t mean they don’t feel fear.
In fact, in a study by Canadian biologists dragonflies were found to be so sensitive to their surroundings that the mere presence of a predator scared them to death – even when there was no chance of them being eaten.
‘What we found was unexpected - more of the dragonflies died when predators shared their habitat,’ says University of Toronto biologist Professor Locke Rowe, the study’s co-lead investigator.'"

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2054667/Insects-scared-death-mere-presence-predator.html#ixzz1d9hyKIkj

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Worm-eating Warbler: here are the calls I heard

Following is a link to the calls I heard given by the Worm-eating Warbler on the Canon City Riverwalk:
http://www.xeno-canto.org/sounds-Worm-eating Warbler flight call (B)
This is a recording made by Paul Driver in New Jersey and interestingly it is labeled as a flight call.  I also found a similar recording on Paul Driver's 'Bird Songs and Calls' blog (scroll down page)  that represents the calls I have heard this bird make.  Mr. Driver refers to this as a 'high buzzy' call on his blog.

The photo is the original I took today that I that is uncropped.   SeEtta

Worm-eating Warbler: seen again with sunlight


I met a small group of intrepid birders from northern Colorado (mostly Denver area) who came to look for this rare vagrant warbler this morning. In mid-morning the Worm-eating Warbler vocalized for a short period of time and several of us got very brief, fleeting views of it as it flew along the bottom of a thicket of limbs and vines then vanished. Two of us stayed but were birding our way down the trail at 12:30 (MST) right by where it had moved to (a good 100 feet east of where we had seen it earlier and had been watching). And what a better spot on the north side of the trail where some sunlight was filtering through so we got several very good views and I got this much better pic. Please note that since the lighting was better the only thing I did to the pic was to crop it to enlarge it and did no other editing--so what you see is what the camera saw and what I recollect seeing. And what a surprise---instead of skulking close to the ground in the shady south side of the trail (which is a north facing hill that the sun rarely reaches) it foraged above the ground in fairly good light. It even flew up to a limb of a large cottonwood that was 25 or so feet above the ground where it probed in a crevice for the larvae and worms it eats. It then flew back across to the south side of the trail and back west, stopping for a minute on a tree about 15 feet above the ground where we got more views, to the thicket where I first spotted it! And during these views and movement it vocalized the 'z,z,,z' like calls I heard yesterday plus an abbreviated version. Two more birders from the Colorado Springs area had arrived a little before and we summoned them back where one got good views. We stayed a little longer in hopes the Worm-eating Warbler would make another appearance so the second birder who didn't get a good view might see it but it had not when we left. SeEtta