Saturday, December 14, 2013

Close-up shot of female sapsucker

So now using a very long telephoto lens plus some cropping you get a very close-up view of the head and neck of this female sapsucker. Some likely saw in the previous photos a hint of some red at the bottom of the throat and now this clearly shows a limited amount of red--is this within an acceptable range of "throat and chin white with the occasional few red feathers"? (from Migration Research Foundation-McGill Bird  Observatory) Below is the chart from the Migration Research Foundation for scoring sapsuckers:
I believe this is more than 'traces of red' but the red doesn't appear to 'form a complete band' at the bottom of the throat (the caveat is that though this is a very close-up view there is the possibility that if one had this bird in hand and pulled it's head back to view the throat fully it might be that the red does form a complete but thin band-but we have to deal with what we got).  So I would rank this bird as smack in the middle of this scoring of throat traits.  

More close up photos showing other field marks tomorrow.

Think that separating Yellow-bellied from Red-naped Sapsuckers is a piece of cake?

Both photos are of the same sapsucker just taken with different cameras on the same day. I took the photos from my car that was parked about 35-45 feet from the bird. When I looked at the bird with my binoculars I felt sure this was a female Yellow-belled Sapsucker. This is about the view I had in my binoculars. What do you think? (do not enlarge the photos) SeEtta

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Golden Eagle with very full 'crop'


"Of the raptors, only the diurnal birds of prey, the hawks, eagles and falcons have a crop. Like seed-eating birds, they use it to store pieces of food. An amazing amount of food can be stored in the crop which bulges out from the hawk’s upper chest as it fills, giving a fully cropped-up raptor the look of a feathered Mae West! Although powerful birds like hawks are not often thought of as vulnerable, they too are at risk when eating. Another raptor may steal their food, or, in the worst case scenario, a larger bird of prey or a mammalian predator may kill and, in turn, eat the raptor while it was occupied with eating."-from Delaware Valley Raptor Center: Raptor Adaptations (an excellent reference).

The bulge in the upper chest of this Golden Eagle I photographed a few days ago here in Fremont County really sticks out so it must have consumed a good amount of food before flying off to consume it in piece in a safer location. SeEtta

Golden Eagle flying right near Canon City


I saw this adult Golden Eagle flying just barely outside the Canon City city limits and just a half hour or so after I photographed the Golden Eagle with a full crop (posted above} about 10 miles away but in Fremont County. It was less than a mile from Craddock Plaza Mall, a strip mall with a lot of development around it. SeEtta

Monday, December 9, 2013

The one eyed Ferruginous Hawk in flight


Just a series of photos I took a few days ago of the one eyed Ferruginous Hawk as she flew. None good enough to enlarge but I think the series shows how well this clearly handicapped hawk is doing.

I did go out to look for her today and she was where I have seen her near the prairie dog town. During the 20 minutes I observed her she only flew out one time as though she was going to go after a prairie dog but did only flew above them and did not attempt to go down towards them.

She returned to her perch and not long after an adult Bald Eagle came near. It flew around near her perch appearing to harass a flock of crows and she held her ground even when the eagle flew somewhat close. However she did fly off when the eagle started to fly directly at her. As she flew off the eagle flew also that way though not right on her but maybe following.

I did drive around the area for about 15 minutes looking for her but did not see her or the eagle. SeEtta