Saturday, September 14, 2013

Eastern Phoebes moving through Canon City area


I found this adult Eastern Phoebe perched on the opposite side of the Arkansas River from the Canon City Riverwalk this morning. Yesterday I found 3 Eastern Phoebes, 2 adults and 1 juvenile, in the Canon City area. This may still be some post breeding movement but seems more likely they are migrating (they are rarely seen in Colorado during winter but unknown if they migrate south in New Mexico or more easterly or southeastly). SeEtta

Common Tern at Brush Hollow State Park

Also yesterday I found 7 Common Tern at Brush Hollow State Park. This is a pretty rare bird in this location as few terns come to this location. SeEtta

Friday, September 13, 2013

Black Phoebe near Holcim Wetlands

I also found this Black Phoebe along the Arkansas River near Holcim Wetlands yesterday. Then early yesterday evening I was really delighted to watch at least 10 Chimney Swifts fly over my house. They were flying fairly high up (so no photos) and I haven't seen more than one or two in Canon City this summer so believe these are migrating swifts. SeEtta

Flooding on Arkansas River at Portland

I took the photo above from the property of Holcim Cement (they own the Holcim Wetlands and I am on their citizen advisory committee). The bridge visible in the photo is the newly constructed vehicle bridge for CR120 to cross the Arkansas River. Behind that the railroad bridge is visible showing the flood waters coming to about 4 feet under that bridge (I believe it rose a short distance more before receeding). The area flooded directly in the front is the water intake works for the Holcim Plant and it is under a few feet of water (they shut off their intake of water when it's got all the debris and mud in it). This short video clip really shows the strength of the river flooding. SeEtta

Flooded Colorado birding hotspot-Holcim Wetlands

After some unprecedented amounts of rain at my house in Canon City (approx 5 inches in 36 hours) I drove out to Holcim Wetlands to see how it was fairing. It was clear from the road, as shown it top photo, that the trail entrance that goes under the RR bridge was flooded as was Hardscrabble Creek that caused the trail to be underwater. I ran into a Holcim employee in the parking lot and accompanied him via an alternate route to check on damage to the wetland and trail area from flooding.
The photo just above shows a more close-up view of the very flooded Hardscrabble Creek and now under a foot of water trail entrance. It will be awhile before the water is gone and the mud that will remain dries to allow entry.

The third photo shows the wetland pond area that is almost to bankful due to flooding.
We found that the Arkansas River, which runs adjacent to the wetlands, had flooded through the trail in several locations on both the west and north sides causing extensive damage to the trail. Even Hardscrabble Creek had overflowed onto the trail on the east side of the wetlands and even pushed it's water into the wetlands under the trail. SeEtta

Green Heron


Yesterday while 'touring' local birding hotspot-Holcim Wetlands-with Holcim staff I saw 3 Green Heron including this one. Only a few other birds--Great Blue Heron, small flock of Blue-winged Teal, a couple of DC Cormorants--partially due to the flooded wetland area. More on flooding above. SeEtta