Friday, August 2, 2013

Black Phoebe fledglings: more photos

This morning I returned to the location where I found the family of Black Phoebes yesterday. After walking up and down the river I refound them near where I had last seen them. Though they stayed across the Arkansas River and a few hundred feet away much of the time, the parent bird did bring them over to the side on which I was standing which is where I got the last pic on this post.
As I was getting ready to leave around noon the adult brought the fledglings across the river and into the trees lining Sell's Lake. I got the other 4 pics of them there, taken through the chain link fence that surrounds this privately owned pond adjacent to the Canon City Riverwalk.
These photos, taken much closer than those I posted of the fledgling yesterday (they were well over a hundred feet away on the other side of the river) provide better views not only of the rusty (also called cinnamon) edged/tipped wing bars but also the buffy (some call this rusty or cinnamon) tips to feathers on their upperparts (specifically their wing-coverts, primaries, and secondaries) and a light brownish tipping to feathers of lower back, lower scapulars, rump, and uppertail-coverts. All of these photos (since all appear to show the same feathers coming out it seems likely these are all of the same bird) show a feather that is likely molting from around it's right wing.
Also these photos show another feature distinctive to Black Phoebes in juvenal plumage: their tail feathers (rectices) are not as rounded as those on adult birds. SeEtta

Young Black Phoebes in Canon City

Last evening I was surprised to find a Black Phoebe parent bird with at least 2 fledglings in tow across the Arkansas River from the Canon City Riverwalk. I had checked the usual nesting site in this area earlier this year but apparently they had a late nesting and I didn't re-check.

I returned at mid-morning after my class and refound the family not far from where I had last seen them last evening. The top two photos are of one of the fledglings and they clearly show the rusty edges of their wing feathers. The second photo also shows the yellow bill flanges found on young Black Phoebes. I'm pretty happy with the top two photos as the birds were on the other side of the Arkansas River.

The bottom pic is of an apparent juvenile Black Phoebe that recently gained it's independence. I found it very near where the parent and fledgling birds were located and I followed it a few hundred yards upstream as it apparently began making it's own way.  SeEtta

Monday, July 29, 2013

Long-billed Curlew in far southeast Colorado

Today I birded in far southeast Colorado. I found this male Long-billed Curlew on some grassland on or near the Comanche National Grasslands. This species is an early breeder on Colorado grasslands and migrates south as soon as young are able.
While I photographed it from about a hundred and fifty feet away (using long lens then cropping photo for further enlargement) it called repeatedly--I didn't see any other curlews in the area so wonder if he just got separated from a group he was migrating with. SeEtta

Cedar Waxwings and young offspring in my yard

Last week while I worked in my backyard I kept hearing a soft bird call with which I was unfamiliar. I looked all around and could not locate the bird. Then I heard the distinctive high pitched 'zee-zee' trill call of a Cedar Waxwing and I located it high in one of my large deciduous trees. The other call I was unfamiliar with continued and came from the same area as the adult Cedar Waxwing.

Finally I located the source of the unknown calling--it was clearly a fledgling Cedar Waxwing. It had a head that looked like an adult Cedar Waxwing except the mask was abbreviated. And it had a broad streaking on it's underparts that is not found on adult birds. It didn't have a crest, at least not one that was visible. And it's tail was even shorter than the usual short tail of adult birds.

I watched as one or both parent birds would fly in to the tree to bring food for their offspring. I don't think they nested in my yard as I believe I would have heard the adult's calls before. This fledgling appears quite young, maybe only a few days out of the nest when I first saw it, so they likely nested in my neighborhood or in a greenbelt only a few hundred yards away. They must have brought their offspring to my yard where it would be safe while they foraged for food.

I watched the young fledgling and the parents over the next few days. The parent's brought fruit to their offspring, some they found in my yard and some from other locations in the area. After the first 2 days the fledgling flew to my neighbor's yard but returned to mine for roosting. I had to go out of town for a few days and when I returned I went outside to listen for the calls of the parent or fledgling Cedar Waxwing but they were gone. I expect the fledgling improved it's flying skills and the family moved on. I certainly enjoyed their visit and I am glad I could provide habitat both for the safekeeping of the young bird and some of the fruit needed to feed it as well as the parents.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Rufous-necked Wood-Rail makes it to CBS

The Rufous-necked Wood-Rail made it big-time yesterday when it was featured on CBS This Morning-Saturday. American Bird Association's Jeff Gordon was invited to discuss the bird and the hundreds of birders who traveled to Bosque del Apache NWR to see the mega-rarity. I was surprised to see that I am in 2 of the still photos in this video (I have on the tan hat with the neck protector). SeEtta