Saturday, September 7, 2013

Zone-tailed Hawk-close up views


This is the Zone-tailed Hawk I found this afternoon in Caballo State Park in New Mexico. If you look close at it's feet it has some prey in it's talons. It looks like it is a squirrel whose head has already been eaten partially.

Given the look this hawk is giving me as shown in the bottom pic, and how it's nape feathers are erect as shown well in the middle pic, I have the impression it is letting me know that it is going to keep that prey. SeEtta

Zone-tailed Hawk in New Mexico



This afternoon I stopped at Caballo State Park just south of Truth-and-Consequence, New Mexico for a break in my drive back home to Colorado. I found this Zone-tailed Hawk and it had some prey in it's talons (see photos in next post for closer view).
As the hawk flew off it grasped that prey tightly in it's talons and it is visible in the top and bottom pics (may need to click on each photo to enlarge for better viewing). Wouldn't you know that my sharpest photo is the middle pic that only shows half of the hawk as it is flying away. SeEtta

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

SINALOA WREN in Arizona, another mega-rarity


While not as good looking or easily seen as the Rufous-necked Wood-Rail that was found at Bosque del Apache NWR last month, the Sinaloa Wren shares the mega-rarity label. Found not far from the entrance to Huachuca Canyon on the Ft Huachuca Military Base yesterday, it was an short drive for me to that location this morning since I have been staying just a few miles away in the town of Sierra Vista. Ironically it was harder and longer for me to find my way through the military base to check in at the MP office than it did to get out of my car and see the wren (saw it within 15 minutes of arrival thanks to Ron Beck, who discovered the bird and returned today on his bicycle so he could count it on his 'green-year' birding list). During the hour and an half I stayed this wren called then showed itself several times with some really quite good though brief views from as close as 25 feet.

Clearly the top pic was the best I got. That photo plus the blurry bottom pic showing the tail color (waved about as it moved) do seem to support the identification by showing some of the requisite field marks that differentiate Sinaloa from "other medium-sized wrens by ... moderate black streaking on the auriculars and neck; brown back contrasting with rusty tail...." (quoted from ABA Checklist Report when this species was accepted by the Checklist Committee for 2008-9). Not shown but seen by me and others was it's "plain underparts with grey breast", another requisite field mark. (read more on the Checklist link).

I included the bottom pic both because it does show the rusty color of the tail and what the view of this bird was more often than not as, like other wrens, it flitted about quickly with only brief stays in one place. Note: there was a birder with a 60 mm lens outfit who got some even better photos. SeEtta

Monday, September 2, 2013

Blue-throated Hummingbird in Ramsey Canyon


I found this Blue-throated Hummingbird, an uncommon summer resident in high canyons of SE Arizona, on the grounds of the Ramsey Canyon Inn (viewed from the road on this private property) this afternoon. I had been wanting to see one of these but had not seen any reports on the birding listserv recently so I was surprised to find this bird. Apparently this species has not done well this year in the Huachuca Mountains. Unfortunately it was backlighted so photos are not great and I wanted to provide accurate views of what I saw so the only editing I did was to crop the photos to enlarge the bird but no other editing. SeEtta

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Lucifer Hummingbird, rare visitor from Mexico


I spotted this neat looking hummingbird among the dozens of hummers coming to feeders at Ash Canyon B&B, one of the few locations where this rarity is found. Unfortunately it stayed in the shade of the tree where the feeder hung so the photos are pretty dark (a problem with very long dslr camera lens like mine). This male only visited the feeders only briefly while I was there so I was happy to get the chance to see this species for the first time. SeEtta