Monday, August 19, 2013

Gray Flycatcher on nest


I found this Gray Flycatcher on the nest a few weeks ago in Red Canyon Park about 10 miles north of Canon City,CO. I took all the photos from inside my car with a 1200mm zoom equivalent (or 50 times the normal view) to minimize disturbance. And since I did not walk close to nest there was no danger of a scent trail that predators could follow. This female bird seemed to settle onto her nest comfortably.

Red Canyon Park, which is one of the city of Canon City's 'mountain' parks, has excellent pinyon-juniper habitat so hosts breeding Gray Flycatchers as well as other 'pj' birds. However, we have had a severe drought for past 3+ consecutive years so the habitat had suffered and many birds were not nesting or even occupying this or similar habitat in this area. The photo below shows the juniper tree in which the flycatcher nested.

The bottom pic shows a parent bird when it was out foraging for food. Since the male was staying near the nest I don't know if this was the female or him. Since it appeared there were no nestlings when I took these photos I had hoped when I returned today to find some fledglings to add to the photo series. I did not find any Gray Flycatchers (I had seen several the day I took these photos) so they must have already left to migrate south so I don't know if the nesting was successful. SeEtta