Sunday, July 27, 2014

Scissor-tailed Flycatchers in south central Colo: the female foraging

Yesterday (Saturday) I got the top 3 pics of the female Scissor-tailed Flycatcher that is nesting south of Florence, CO when flew near to where I was parked (the driveway several hundred feet north of the nest tree). I watched her catch a couple of insects and could see that at least one was a grasshopper.
The pic below is very interesting both because I caught her in mid-flight so the salmon-pink underwing patches show nicely but also because there is a grasshopper in the air just above her. In a photo below that I took today the female had lost the grasshopper apparently because it's leg came off so this might be the reason for the grasshopper in this pic too.
The next 4 pics that I took today, again when the female foraged near to where I was parked, show a very interesting sequence.
In the pic above the female has a good sized grasshopper in her bill that she has caught.
In the pic now above the grasshopper has come out of her bill--note the grasshopper leg noted below her, it has apparently come off the grasshopper and likely the reason she is now having to re-catch it.
She does re-catch the grasshopper and eats it. Note the bulge starting to show around her throat/gullet in the pic just above. Then in the last pic with her head turned the bulge of the grasshopper being moved down into her digestive tract is quite evident. SeEtta