Saturday, September 21, 2013

Townsend's Warblers feeding frenzy in hackberry trees


Two days ago I birded Red Canyon Park which is about 8 miles north of Canon City. Primarily a pinyon-juniper habitat, it does have a normally dry gulch that drains much of this city 'mountain park' so a number of deciduous trees grow in it. Hackberry trees do well in the very sandy parts of this gulch and that is where I found a lot of warblers--mostly Wilson's with some a number of first-of-season Yellow-rumped, a few Townsend's and Orange-crowned Warblers plus a couple of Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Chipping Sparrows. I did not have my cameras though I was able to get close enough to get a photo of a Ruby-crowned Kinglet with my Samsung Galaxy 3 smartphone that only has 4X zoom.

I returned today to Red Canyon Park and the warbler fest was even larger with fewer Wilson's Warblers but at least 25-35 Townsend's, 20-25 Yellow-rumped, a few Orange-crowned, 1 MacGillivray's (in the trees) and 1 Virginia's Warblers. Most of the Townsend's flocked into the same tree so I got a lot of photos of them as they fed on the many immature insects inside the many galls in the leaves of the 8 or so large hackberry trees.

Other birds that I also saw in the hackberry's were at least 3 Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Chipping Sparrows, 1 Blue Jay (surprise to see this species here), and a Northern Flicker. Other birds in the park included at least 5-6 Pinyon Jays, several Western Scrub Jays, Spotted Towhee, many Townsend's Solitaire, a Common Raven, and a latish adult male Broad-tailed Hummingbird who distinctive wing whistle sounded as it flew not far from me (but not many nectar flowers left now). SeEtta