Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sanderlng, a early migrant I found at Lake Meredith, CO


I found this early Sanderling at Lake Meredith earlier this week when I birded the lower Arkansas Valley on an unusually cool day (high of 82 instead of more normal 102). This bird is transitioning from alternative (breeding) to basic (winter) plumage.

It looks very different from what we usually see as it is still mostly in breeding plumage. SeEtta

Burrowing Owls: close-up photos

I also got a few closer shots with my extra long Sony camera--also taken from car to reduce disturbance but these owls were slightly closer to the road.
They are standing next to burrow entrance which is visible in photos. SeEtta

Friday, July 11, 2014

Burrowing owls: successful nesting this year in parts of Otero County

Severe drought conditions have plagued much of southeast Colo for the past 5 to 7 years with reductions in some bird species and nesting. This year some parts of the area have received rain that is not a lot but adequate. I was delighted to find a section of a county road going north from Lake Holbrook with a veritable boom in young Burrowing Owls: 15 owls (both parents and young) along both sides about a quarter mile long. SeEtta

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Small wildfire I spotted in the Beulah, CO area over the week-end

While driving up to Pueblo Mtn Park over the week-end I spotted this small wildfire in the forest in the Beulah area. I quickly went to a residence near where I could see the fire to have them call it in as I correctly figured they would have be able to describe better than I where it was located in those mountains. I was told they had lightening the night before so it seems likely that it had been smoldering and finally flared up with the winds. It looks very small, possibly only one tree. In the past when I have reported such a small fire the firefighters choose to just watch it as these small ones often burn themselves out they told me. However since this is not far from the town of Beulah, where many have done no mitigation around their homes, they may have made an effort to put it out just in case. In fact, the home at which I stopped to have them call the fire in had a number of full grown ponderosa pines close to it--I took advantage of this opportunity to remind the gentleman that those trees put his home at risk from wildfire. He said he knew and was 'working on it.' SeEtta

Fledgling American Crow at Pueblo Mtn Park

There were several fledgling Am Crows learning to fly and making lots of noise while I birded Pueblo Mtn Park over the week-end. This young crow, with obvious juvenal gape, had recently fledged as it's flying skills left a lot to desire. It hopped around tree branches better than it flew. SeEtta

Acorn Woodpeckers still going in and out of apparent nest hole


My trip to Pueblo Mtn Park over the week-end was intended to be focused on the Acorn Woodpeckers there and whether they were nesting. However it was very difficult to look for them as there was a large wedding celebration going on nearby with a lot of people drinking and being loud not far from the apparent nest tree. So I birded other parts of the park and even the town of Beulah hoping the wedding would be over in later afternoon--not so much as still a number were there close to dusk with loud music and continued drinking with about a hundred 100-200 feet of the nest tree. I did observe and photograph what appeared to be a pair of Acorn Woodpeckers between 6:30 and 7 pm as they went in and out of an apparent nest hole, behavior usually associated with having nestlings. They would fly off after leaving the nest hole then return a short time later as though they were obtaining food, but I did not see any as they would quickly go into the nest hole. Sure seemed like they are feeding nestlings. SeEtta

Monday, July 7, 2014

Cordilleran Flycatchers feeding babies on nest in Pueblo Mtn Park

Yesterday I drove up to Pueblo Mtn Park where I found this pair of Cordilleran Flycatchers attending a nest in a picnic shelter. Soon I could see they were bringing food to what must be small babies as I could never see even a beak sticking up from the nest.
Each parent took turns bringing insects to the nest. In between they occasionally interacted including flying close to each other and vocalizing.

I felt bad when I drove away to look for other birds then drove back by to find a bunch of people had taken over the shelter and making it very difficult for these very conscientious parents to feed their offspring as frequently as they had been doing.
As can be seen in the pic below the nest was located below the roof and in between the log rafters, a protected location (except from humans). They are often found in association with riparian areas and this picnic shelter was only about 10 feet from a small stream.
In many of these pics you can see the distinctively bold eyering that expands at the back to make a tear-shape along with the light wing bars. The long and wide bill including bright yellow bottom mandible are visible in several photos.

I took all these photos with the same digital camera (sony hx-300) with same settings--the changes in natural lighting caused the difference in the color of the plumage of these birds. SeEtta