Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ladder-backed Woodpecker moved to decidous trees


Yesterday morning I returned to the Canon City Riverwalk to see if the interesting birds from the day before were still around. I did not locate the White-throated Sparrows but did refind the Ladder-backed Woodpecker. It was about 150 feet west of it's position the day before, and just off the trail; however, it was in some small trees/large shrubs between the trail and the irrigation canal that runs adjacent. It flew up to about 50-60 above the ground in a very large cottonwood tree for awhile then to the other side of the trail into some small deciduous trees on the hillside where I got these pics. It will be interesting to see if it works it's way into the sections of the hillside next to the trail that have tree cholla cactus. SeEtta

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

And a Townsend's Solitaire also on Canon City Riverwalk today


This Townsend's Solitaire was in between the Ladder-backed Woodpecker and the two White-throated Sparrows on the Canon City Riverwalk this morning--all were within 150 feet of each other and adjacent to the trail. At one point the Townsend's Solitaire flew to a small native juniper (only about 4 feet tall) on the dry hillside near the cholla cactus where the Ladder-backed was feeding. The Townsend's spent several minutes picking juniper berries off that tree. Then it flew into the tree in these photos and proceeded to sing. It's beak is parted in the top pic as it was singing when I took this photo.

I rarely see Townsend's Solitaire along the Canon City Riverwalk and they are seldom reported in there. I have seen more in town in the past few months and wonder again if they are moving into these less traditional areas looking for food due to the extended and severe drought conditions in juniper type habitats. SeEtta

Two White-throated Sparrows on Canon City Riverwalk


I also found two White-throated Sparrows on the Canon City Riverwalk this morning. Interestingly I saw the first only about 30 feet from where I last found a White-throated Sparrow on the Riverwalk several years ago. They stayed down and in messy vegetation making getting a reasonably good photo of them a challenge.

I spotted them when I first started down the trail then refound them a half hour later when I returned. They were moving together, usually within a foot or two of each other, adjacent to the trail. By the time I left they had moved about 50-60 feet down the trail. SeEtta

Ladder-backed Woodpecker on Canon City Riverwalk


I was surprised to find this female Ladder-backed Woodpecker on a dry hillside adjacent to the Canon City Riverwalk. As can be seen the bird is in a tree cholla, which is their habitat in this area. Though the Canon City area is predominately semi-arid, we have a large riparian corridor along the Arkansas River and the Riverwalk parallels the river in many places. But we have cholla cactus interspersed with the riparian vegetation in dry sections including hillsides.

In the three decades I have been birding along the Canon City Riverwalk this is the first time I have seen a Ladder-backed Woodpecker here though I have thought I saw one a few miles further down the river corridor a few years ago(quick look so dismissed it as wrong habitat). I did see one last year in another, though less extensive riparian habitat around a small stream. I do occasionally find them outside of Canon City in predominately cactus-grassland or juniper-cactus habitats. SeEtta

Monday, December 3, 2012

Lesser Goldfinch, haven't yet migrated south


A week ago two Lesser Goldfinch arrived at my feeders the same day as three Pine Siskins, the first I had seen here this season. The Lesser Goldfinch have usually migrated south by now. Given the unusually warm temperatures (highs often in upper 60's) they may think the angle of the sun (that birds use to know when to migrate) is off. SeEtta

Rough-legged Hawk in Pueblo County


I found this Rough-legged Hawk in Pueblo County day before yesterday. I believe it is a female light morph bird: thin dark eyeline with pale head, dark brown iris, streaked bib with dark belly, lightly barred leg feathers. Also the wingtips are about equal to the tail tip.

In the bottom pic the white basal feathers on the upper tail are shown. This is only the second Rough-legged Hawk I have found so far this fall/winter, the other one located in the Coaldale,CO area. SeEtta