Saturday, May 11, 2013

4 Northern Waterthrush today including this one


This has been a good spring for Northern Waterthrush here. I found my first today when I opened my car door and started to put on my binoculars--spotted one less than 15 feet away in a small tree then 2 more in the next 10 minutes on the Canon City Riverwalk. I found the one in this photo about 2 miles further east on the Riverwalk. About time I got some good pics of one. SeEtta

Black-and-white Warbler, a rare visitor to the Canon City area


I found this Black-and-white Warbler on the Canon City Riverwalk this morning. There are usually only 1 or 2 reported in and around Canon City most years. This has grayish ear coverts and lores so is a female. Since it has a lot of buffy wash on it's underrparts I suspect it is a first year female. SeEtta

Friday, May 10, 2013

Flock of White-faced Ibis in flight

There haven't been as many White-faced Ibis this year as usual but we still have one fairly large flock of over a hundred still around. I got this photo of a part of that flock as they flew around a field.  Click on the pic to enlarge to see the unique bills on these birds.  SeEtta

Swainson's Thrush now moving through Canon City

After the record numbers of Hermit Thrush moved through the Canon City area over the past few weeks (haven't seen any for a few days) I saw my first of the year Swainson's Thrush this morning on the Canon City Riverwalk. Including the one in this photo there was at least one other in the same area. SeEtta

Brazenly blue Blue Grosbeak

Found this beauty this morning on the Canon City Riverwalk, the first Blue Grosbeak I have seen so far this year. SeEtta

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Plumbeous Vireo--close up of one with it's catch


My meeting yesterday was on the campus of Colorado State University at Pueblo and there are a few small pieces of good bird habitat so I took 15 minutes to find and wait patiently to get close-up shots of the Plumbeous Vireo (I was about 15 feet from it also and have cropped the photos too). I bet this insect is identifiable but I don't know my insects that well. SeEtta

Lincoln's Sparrow--up close


In addition to the Northern Waterthrush this evening I found at least 4 Lincoln's Sparrows in the area around the Sell's Lake parking area for the Canon City Riverwalk. I found the one in this photo around 6 pm and near the waterthrush but it was more cooperative. I waited patiently as it fed and was rewarded with these very close up pics (I was about 15 feet away but have cropped the photos closely also to get these). SeEtta

2 Northern Waterthrush in Canon City


Yesterday I got in a half hour of very productive birding at the McKenzie end of the Canon City Riverwalk before I had to drive to Pueblo to chair a water planning meeting (if I wasn't the chair and about 40 attending I would have cancelled to enjoy the big push of migrating birds!). The first uncommon bird I found was a White-throated Sparrow but didn't get a photo. Then I found the Northern Waterthrush in the photo in the messy vegetation near where I saw the White-throat.

Today I didn't get much birding in either but due to rain most of the day. It stopped raining late this afternoon so I found the Northern Waterthrush in the lower pic more than 2 miles west of where I saw the other Waterthrush, near the Sell's Lake parking area for the Canon City Riverwalk--at 6 pm. SeEtta

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

And a first of the year Dusky Flycatcher too


I found this Dusky Flycatcher yesterday also. Unlike many empids, this one was kind enough to give it's 'whit' call 3 times--and I am glad it repeated as it's call is so soft I wasn't sure I heard it the first two times. It also shows the field marks this species with a rounded head, prominent eye ring and wing bars, grayish back with whitish throat and underparts with just a small amount of yellowish wash. SeEtta

First of the year Plumbeous Vireo


I found this Plumbeous Vireo yesterday and is a first of the year bird for me. It was busy foraging and did no singing. SeEtta


Pretty Nashville Warblers


I also started finding Nashville Warblers on May 5 and have seen 2-4 each day so far. This is a species that is not terribly common in southern parts of Colorado and per ebird only seen in fall in Fremont County.

What fun, I saw a number of these just a few weeks ago in the Texas Hill Country where they were migrating through and now get to them in Colorado as they move north to their breeding areas. SeEtta

Wilson's Warbler


A new arrival this week has been Wilson's Warblers like this first year bird. I saw the first on May 5 and have seen one to two daily. SeEtta

Comments on Lesser Prairie Chicken 'listing' plan reopened

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today the reopening of the public comment period on its 2012 proposal to add the lesser prairie-chicken to the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. The public comment period will b...e reopened for 45 days to allow an opportunity for the public, the scientific community and other interested parties to provide input on the original listing proposal in light of a newly-released range-wide conservation plan for the species. Read more by clicking on the link!
 A copy of the plan is available at http://www.wafwa.org/documents/AprilDraftLEPCPlanSubmittedUSFWS04_02_2013.pdf.
The reopened comment period also allows the public to review and comment on a proposed special rule that, if approved, would foster conservation of the lesser prairie-chicken and give landowners across the species’ range additional flexibility to manage their land, should the species require protection as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. The proposed special rule, issued under Section 4(d) of the ESA, would allow take of lesser prairie-chicken incidental to activities carried out through the Natural Resources Conservation Service's Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative and activities included in comprehensive prairie-chicken conservation programs developed by or in coordination with the state fish and wildlife agencies. The 4(d) rule would only be implemented if the lesser prairie-chicken were to be listed.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Two adult Harris's Sparrows


I was very surprised to find two adult Harris's Sparrows in an agricultural field yesterday in Canon City. Previously I had only seen 1st winter birds and usually saw them in the winter (tho had one a few weeks ago). They are clearly quite handsome sparrows in their fresh breeding plumage. SeEtta

And another Broad-winged Hawk today, a second light morph


Wow, I spotted another Broad-winged Hawk this morning soaring over Canon City. It was a light morph, and obvious adult (tail banding),  the second of those this year. I believe the two sightings of dark morphs were different birds, first one an adult and second one a subadult--so that makes 4 Broad-winged Hawks so far this migration season. I usually only see one each year. Wish it meant the population is doing well but is more likely some other reason like winds aloft pushing them closer to the mountains (into Fremont County) or that they are coming this way to avoid the more severe drought on the southeastern plains. SeEtta

Sunday, May 5, 2013

More photos of rare dark morph Broad-winged Hawk


Though I did a lot just observing during that half hour+ I got to watch this rare dark morph, I also got a number of pretty good photos.
This is what Birds of North America online says about dark morph plumage: "Head and underparts similar to dark morph adult but show rufous and white mottling on underparts, especially breast. Tail colors similar to those in Juvenal-plumage light morph." The rufous and white mottling on the breast can be seen in the second and forth pics here.

The black bill with yellow cere, legs, and feet found on both color morphs of Broad-winged Hawks. And the bottom pic shows the whitish lores with dark brown head, including forehead, that are a field mark for dark morph. SeEtta

Rare dark morph Broad-winged Hawk in Canon City--the same one or not??


This morning I spotted a dark morph Broad-winged Hawk that was engaged in hunting prey. I quickly learned how to stay back far enough to not flush it so I could observe it's behavior and take more photos--in fact I was able to observe it and follow it as it worked around a forested area about a quarter mile and for just over a half hour. What fun! I watched it engage in perch and pounce hunt on one occasion (it might have scored but I didn't want to get too close and risk it dropping it's prey). I was impressed by how small this hawk really is.

I learned that this is a subadult bird as it has one of the two juvenile type tails as described by Brian Wheeler in Hawks of Western North America: this one has the 'narrow banded type' tail with 4 fairly narrow dark bands plus a wider dark subterminal band (noted by Wheeler to be the same on dark morph as on light morph birds). Birds of North America online notes that female and male birds of this species begin molting to Basic I plumage so I think it's safest for me to call this bird a subadult.
Is it the same dark morph Broad-winged Hawk I photographed day before yesterday? Certainly the odds are strongly against having 2 dark morph Broad-winged Hawks in Canon City just 2 days apart--according to Cornell's All About Birds webpage, "It is found primarily in the northwestern part of the range, and accounts for less than 0.1% of migrants observed." All my field guides and online resources said a dark morph of this species is a rare or very form so I expected this to be the same bird.
However--see how the tail of today's dark morph shows multiple narrow dark bands alternating with narrowish pale bands with the subterminal band just a little wider than the other dark bands. This appears different from the tail bands on the bird from day before yesterday (show below) which appear to me to be consistent with adult tail bands described in Raptors of Western North America: "TAIL (ventral)-Black with one broad white band that is always visible on the mid-section. When fanned, an additional one or two narrow white inner bands may also show." SeEtta