Friday, December 14, 2012

White and dark geese


There are hundreds of both white geese (Snow and Ross's) that have been added to the thousands of dark geese (primarily Canada) in Pueblo County, CO. In the top photo there is a 'blue' goose (the blue phase) right in the center. Since it finally got quite cold, there is a limited amount of open water so I found that potpourri of geese and ducks all crowded into this pond. SeEtta

Handsome Prairie Falcon

This is one of two Prairie Falcons I found today in Otero County, Colorado. SeEtta

In memory of the Sandy Hook tragedy

I photographed this Bald Eagle in Otero County, Colorado this afternoon as I was listening to reports on the radio of the Sandy Hook tragedy. I would like to think those victims will soar on the wings of an eagle like this. SeEtta

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Swans, so graceful in flight


These are photos from yesterday afternoon when the Tundra Swans were disturbed by a greedy photographer--they were not at the pond today and I doubt they will return. The impact that this one person had on these swans is demonstrated by the fact I observed these swans when a train went by, sounding it's horn as it crossed the busy intersection very near the pond--they didn't fly off, they just swam to the side of the pond more distant.

I had to remember their exquisite beauty and gracefulness in the photos I took yesterday as they circled and circled, rising higher and higher, as they gained altitude as they flew away. SeEtta

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Swans flushed from pond by inconsiderate photographer


I drove down MacKenzie Ave in mid-afternoon as I wanted to check to see if any more swans had been added. I spotted the birds taking off from the water so I quickly turned into the drive across from the ponds to take these photos. All 10 swans circled as they rose higher and higher, appearing to be gaining altitude to take off from here.

I couldn't understand why they would leave at this time then I spotted a man with a camera that had been far back inside the private property on which he trespassed. He said he had flushed them but had gotten some very good photos. As can be seen by his camera in pic below, he only has a mediocre zoom lens and this guy is clearly an amateur photographer.  That sucks. I checked late this afternoon and they had not returned. Who knows how far these swans had traveled to find a pond where they could rest undisturbed. And the two that arrived today had little time to rest up. SeEtta

Tundra Swans added two more today



This morning I stopped across the road from the Valco Ponds where the Tundra Swans were. Due to warm temps and chinook (snow and ice eating) winds, the ice that had kept the swans closer to the road was gone and the swans were far back and difficult to see from the road. There looked to be more swans so I drove down the road looking for a better viewing location. That turned out to the the bridge over the Arkansas River. These pics were taken from the bridge looking northeast to the pond where there were now 10 swans, one of which was an immature.
The bottom pic is a tightly cropped photo showing the immature closer up. SeEtta

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk


In addition to the Tundra Swans, I was able to finally get a reasonably good pic of a Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk I have been seeing around Canon City for about a week. It has been extremely shy--flushes when I am less than 400 feet away and stay in my car and try to hide my car behind a tree or shrub. Though this looks similar to a Harlan's I posted about in Oct (referred to as the 'second Harlan's' I had around town at that time), this may be a different bird as the other seemed to have a little more streaking on it's breast (need closer photo to compare better). There is another Harlan's around also now-it has a very streaked chest. SeEtta

Tundra Swan close-up and stretching photos


The close-up photo above shows the field marks for Tundra Swan nicely including the small amount of yellow lores that many of these swans showed. Click on the photo to enlarge it for a very close-up view. And I enjoyed the photo below as the swan was stretching as it provides a view of much of the bird not usually visible when they are on the water. SeEtta

Tundra Swans in Canon City, more photos


Here are some closer photos of 7 of the swans. I was hiding behind vegetation and the group all swam closer so I got some closer pics including these. All appear to be adults. All of them showed field marks for Tundra Swans as identified by Sibley: "Tundra’s eye appears nearly separate from the bill";rounded borders (not pointed like Trumpeters), 'relatively short-necked and goose-like', showing 'curve at gape'. SeEtta

8 swans a swimmin


I found this group of Tundra Swans this morning in Canon City,CO. They reminded me of the song "8 Days of Christmas". Click on pic to enlarge.  More pics to follow. SeEtta

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Black Phoebe, a contrast in snow

Today I found a 1st winter Black Phoebe on the Canon City Riverwalk. It's predominately black plumage contrasts nicely with the several inches of snow we got today. Though Black Phoebes are associated with much warmer climates, all the way to central America, they do survive the winters here. In fact, the first Black Phoebe in this county, a bird I first found in the fall of 2005, stayed most of the winter and survived one of our coldest nights on record with a low of 18 below zero F. Even in that brutal cold there were some insects flying, amazing though that was at least to me at the time. SeEtta

Tracking Pacific Walrus: Expedition to the Shrinking Chukchi Sea Ice video

Gorgeous videography from USGS provides a different view of these large sea critters that are such caring mothers. SeEtta