Saturday, April 12, 2014

Glossy Ibis, rarish visitor to Colorado


Today I found a small flock of about 25 White-faced Ibis, first of the year birds here, in a flooded agricultural field in Florence. I always check each dark ibis to look for the rarish Glossy Ibis, more likely found in eastern U.S., which I usually find in large flocks of around a hundred or so. Surprise, I found not just first of the year White-faced but Glossy Ibis.

These photos show the bluish bare skin on it's face which are arranged as lines above and below the eye, and not going around the eye as with the bare skin on White-faced Ibis.

Though the third photo just above is not as sharp, it is good for showing the difference in facial features of Glossy and White-faced Ibis right next to each other.

The forth photo also shows the difference in these species though in a different perspective as they are loafing with heads resting on backs.

The bottom pic shows the flock feeding in the flooded agricultural field. SeEtta

Evening Grosbeak, Black Phoebes and Franklin's Gulls in Canon City

Thursday I found first this single Evening Grosbeak in Canon City-it was across the river from the Canon City Riverwalk so a long shot as about 300 feet away. As I walked along the bluff trail I found a flock of about 25 Evening Grosbeak in the trees near the top of the bluff-they had likely been visiting feeders just a few blocks over from where I live. I also found a Black Phoebe on the other side of the river from the Riverwalk about a mile east of the Sell's Lake trailhead and think I heard a second Black Phoebe calling in that area. Can't be sure if this is a different Black Phoebe than the one I found a few hundred feet east of the 9th Street bridge just over a week ago especially since I refound a Black Phoebe in that area Friday evening.
Friday evening as I sat on my deck I heard the distinctive calls of Franklin's Gulls--I spotted a flock of about 50 including those in this pic flying around on the south side of Canon City as they moved through during migration. SeEtta

Friday, April 11, 2014

Cattle Egret and Greater Yellowlegs stopover in flooded agricultural field near Canon City


Every spring migrating shorebirds and waterbirds stopover in the Canon City area in flooded agricultural fields. Today I found this Cattle Egret foraging in the wet vegetation around the flooded fields.



Also foraging on the edge of the flooded fields were these two Greater Yellowlegs. SeEtta





Thursday, April 10, 2014

Black Phoebes begin nesting in and around the Canon City area

I found this Black Phoebe and it's apparent mate this morning. As I watched this Black Phoebe pulled a piece of nesting material off what looks like a dried reed in the photo below. It flew with this plant fiber to a nesting area where a pair (likely these) used last year and probably at least one year before.
The Black Phoebe in the bottom pic was near the MacKenzie Ave bridge over the Arkansas River. I have seen a second Black Phoebe at that location and these are another apparent pair. This is another site that has been used previously for nesting. SeEtta

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Lincoln's Sparrow under my nyger feeders, what a surprise

While Lincoln's Sparrows are not rare in south central Colorado, the are not very common with reports more of one or two birds seen more often than multiple birds. I usually find them skulking in vegetation near the Arkansas River as do others who report them on ebird. While I haven't done a thorough search, most of the reports seem to be from parks, ponds, reservoirs and rivers.
So I was quite surprised this afternoon to spot one under my nyger feeders and it appeared it was eating nyger seeds spilled on the ground. I watched it off and on for about 20 minutes as it foraged on the ground then retreated into the thick vegetation I provide near these feeders. I would note that I do have White-crowned Sparrows eating this nyger seed both on the ground under the feeders and also perching on the hanging feeders. Of relevance Birds of North America online states, "Can be attracted to ground feeders during breeding, where both mealworms (Tenebrio spp.) and millet are readily consumed."
Since we have been in very serious drought conditions for several years I wonder if this bird moved up to the residential area in which I live to find seed more common here as we irrigate than in natural areas. SeEtta