Friday, November 6, 2015

Rocky Mtn Bighorn Sheep in Bighorn Sheep Canyon

When I drove up Bighorn Sheep Canyon west of Canon City earlier this week I was looking for bighorn sheep as this is the time of year they begin their annual mating season. I didn't have to squint to see the big ram as he was right in the traffic lanes of H50. I drove slowly towards him in hopes he would leave the highway and he did. See bottom pic for view from inside my car of this ram and some of his harem.

His harem was right grazing on the side of the highway and he joined them while keeping an eye on me.

This ewe is wearing a monitoring collar--provides info to wildlife officers on where the bighorn sheep go during different seasons.

American Kestrel and Cedar Waxwings

Caught this American Kestrel just as it was above to bite down on a grasshopper.
This is one of a half dozen Cedar Waxwings I spotted yesterday feasting on juniper berries in Canon City.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Yellow-rumped Warblers in mixed flock

Yesterday I was delighted to find at least 10 Yellow-rumped Warblers foraging in a mixed flock on the Canon City Riverwalk with at least a half dozen Ruby-crowned Kinglets, several Black-capped and Mountain Chickadees, several Downy Woodpeckers, a couple of Am Robins, at least 2 Brown Creepers and one White-breasted Nuthatch. Since Yellow-rumped Warblers usually overwinter in the Canon City area it is not possible to know if these were migrators or some that will stick around.
Though the bottom pic of the Ruby-crowned Kinglet shows little of it's head (but part of the white eye ring is visible) it does nicely show the two white wing bars and the dark bar below them and the green edging on their coverts. SeEtta
There was a Black Phoebe on the MacKenzie end of the Riverwalk on Friday but have not seen it again. SeEtta

First Harlan's Hawk of the winter season in Canon City

While they breed in and near Alaska, Harlan's Red-tailed Hawks winter in parts of eastern Colorado. In the past several years I have been delighted to find a number of Harlan's Hawks in south central and southeastern Colorado including my home town of Canon City. I spotted this first of the season bird as I was walking the Canon City Riverwalk over the week-end. Harlan's are well known to be extremely skittish and the way this hawk flew gave me the impression it was a Harlan's. However it ducked into the cottonwoods south of the trail and disappeared. When I returned from my walk I searched for this hawk and found it perched in the cottonwoods about 300-400 feet away--thus my photos are limited by this distance. However, the white lores and cheeks, whitish chest, whitish underside of tail with otherwise blackish feathering are clearly seen in the top pic are distinctive for dark/intermediate-morph Harlan's.

The middle pic adds the view of the outer tail feathers that are whitish with dark middle and dark towards the terminal part of the tail, one of a number of tail variants found on Harlan's. I searched for this bird again in hopes of getting better pics but did not find it. Since many of the cottonwoods still have their leaves it could easily be perched in a tree and not visible. I did spot a rufous-morph Red-tailed Hawk in one of the cottonwoods with a lot of leaves so could not get any pics of it before it took off. SeEtta