Sunday, November 5, 2017

Bald Eagle-what is it doing on it's nest this early?


I spotted this Bald Eagle on a nest that has been used for several years. As I watched it for a few minutes it was doing something in the bottom of the nest--could it be already repairing the nest? It is early for this behavior. As the nest is at least 500 feet from the road I couldn't see what it was doing even with my spotting scope. I will have to check the nest again to see if I can tell what is happening. (click on each pic to enlarge to see eagle better) SeEtta

Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk in Otero County,CO

Not the best pics especially because they were so back lit but they do show the field marks for the harlani subspecies of Red-tailed Hawk.
Top 2 pics show the whitish tail, blackish belly, streaked white chest and white on face surrounding the eye. SeEtta

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Red-necked Grebe, a very rare visitor to Holbrook Reservoir

I spotted this Red-necked Grebe yesterday at Holbrook Reservoir in southeast Colorado. While fairly rare in the state with only a few showing up every year (though often at least one at Pueblo Reservoir) this is the first one that has been recorded in Ebird for this small reservoir.
This one appears to be transitioning from breeding to winter plumage with a little reddish still showing on neck. SeEtta

Rugged looking Lewis's Woodpecker

After an absense of almost 2 years from the Canon City area, I found a flock of Lewis's Woodpeckers have returned. I have no idea where they have been as I have checked the 3 reliable sites in and near town for them most of 2016 and this year with no luck. Previously they had been quite regular for much of the past 10 years.
This is molt time for this species and this one does look rather disheveled. SeEtta

Yellow-rumped Warblers in muted fall plumage

One of a good number of migrating Yellow-rump Warblers stopping over during migration (actually 2 weeks ago). SeEtta

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Just a cute Mountain Chickadee

While I have 3 Mountain Chickadees coming to feeders in my yard I photographed this one elsewhere in town. I do enjoy these cute little acrobatic birds. SeEtta

Chihuahuan Ravens in south central Colorado


It is has been some time since I found clear Chihuahuan Ravens in my area. Usually I find ravens that are likely hybrid Chihuahuan-Common Ravens or just those whose characteristics are intermediate. Correctly identifying Chihuahuan Ravens in Colorado is fraught with hazards as explained in this Colo Field Ornithologists journal article and I am not inclined these days to call one a Chihuahuan without some definitive field marks. This raven and a second one showed the definitive field mark of having nasal bristles clearly more than half the length of the bill. Of less reliability they appeared to have thicker (deep) bills and the throat feathers look less shaggy than those found on Common Ravens. SeEtta

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Tarantula mating season

Fall is mating season for tarantulas in Colorado. Usually I find some in my town but this year I did not so I drove to just south of La Junta which has probably the most tarantulas on the move. Though I missed the big weekend for sex seeking tarantulas I still saw just over a dozen including this pretty brown one. I don't know if this guy lost part of a leg or what but see the circled area in the pic just above.
The local La Junta Tribune even had an article on this event: "The males typically are the most active, searching for the scent of females who are waiting in burrows, experts say. The male blonde tarantulas spend about 10 years reaching sexual maturity. They will mate once and then die — often at the fangs of the female whose eggs they have fertilized."
I put the pen down to provide a way to judge the size of this guy. SeEtta

Friday, October 20, 2017

First Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk of the season

My area of Colorado is in the winter range of Harlan's Red-tailed Hawks and they often start migrating here in October from their very far north breeding grounds. I spotted this new arrival yesterday in Canon City and unfortunately it was pretty distant so the photos are not real sharp as I had to crop them severe and terribly back lit. This is a dark morph hawk with whitish tail, blackish belly, streaked white chest and white on face surrounding the eye.
The white tail is I think best seen on bottom pic. But clicking on each pic to enlarge it further will make features easier to see. SeEtta

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Rescuing a young hummingbird nestling


Yesterday I drove over to Florence River Park, a small nature park on the far east edge of Florence, CO. As I sat in my car for a few minutes I spotted a hummingbird 20-25 feet in front of my car. It hovered a few feet off the ground then went down to the ground which piqued my curiosity. When I got it in my binoculars I was stunned to see that it was on the ground feeding its baby. And, ye gads, it was in the parking lot where it was could be run over by a vehicle, grabbed by one of off leash dogs that are common here or even stepped on by someone as it was difficult to see. So I got out to move it, or get to move on it's own if it was able to fly, to a safer location. The pics above and just below show the young hummer on the ground in the parking lot.
It quickly became apparent this was a nestling that was not ready to fledge yet. I called Nancy Kelly at Second Chance Wildlife Rehab in Pueblo to ask her advice. She advised putting it back in the nest which was not possible as the tree limbs were 30 or so above the parking lot. She then suggested making a nest box and tying up in a tree--that wasn't feasible either. So she said I should put it in a box and bring it to her. The pic below is the nestling hummer in the box with some paper towels and the stick it had attached it's tiny toes to. Actually the stick was about a foot long but I certainly wasn't going to pry it's toes off and it small it broke easily so I just lifted the hummer with it's attached stick into the box.
The nice thing about baby hummers is they don't need very large transport boxes. The pic below is the box I put holes in then put it in my car for just under an hour drive to Pueblo. It chirped every few seconds for most of the trip which apparently was it's calling to be fed. I did get it to the rehab in Pueblo. Nancy confirmed it was a very young bird, maybe a week or so old.
The pic below shows the parking lot where I spotted the nestling hummer with the red ball at about the location it was located--a very precarious location for a tiny hummer on the ground. I am really glad I decided to go to this park in nearby Florence so I could get it out of harm's way and to a rehab where it is safe. Fyi, I didn't see the mother well enough to confirm the id but I believe she was a Broad-tailed Hummingbird. SeEtta
8-19-17: Follow up from Second Chance Wildlife Rehab, here is a short video of this nestling feeding vigorously:

Monday, August 7, 2017

Band-tailed Pigeons, the mountain pigeons

I spotted a small flock of about 9 or 10 of these Band-tailed Pigeons in a tiny unincorporated town called Greenwood which is south of Canon City about 20 miles (via winged flight). The homes in Greenwood are right up against the San Isabel National Forest and forests are the habitat for these mountain pigeons.
The white collar on the nape of this species can be seen in the pic above.  The broad pale gray terminal band on a darker upper tail (and below the light undertail coverts) is best seen in pic below.  SeEtta

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Eared Grebe parents feeding young chick

I photographed these Eared Grebes at Lake Cheraw in southeastern Colorado as both parents (they were up at the same time) were busy feeding fish and maybe lake vegetation to this very young chick.
How do I know that the chick is less than 10 days old? Birds of North America online states, "Uncommon for chicks >20 d to receive parental care."
I am not sure what that small fish is but it zebra striped. And according to the Birds of North America chicks receiving parental care by both parents are more likely to be less than 10 days old.
While this chick mostly just waited for a parent to bring it food it occasionally would swim out to a parent to get fed as quickly as possible as shown in pic below.
And I did see it dive once but it didn't look like it caught anything.
Pics are best viewed more enlarged, just click on a pic to enlarge it. SeEtta



Sunday, July 23, 2017

Gray Flycatcher in Red Canyon Park

What a difference the sun makes on photos, the above was taken in same time frame as those below but had the sun shining.
Gray Flycatchers nest in the pinyon juniper habitat in Red Canyon Park which is just 8 miles north of Canon City.
I saw several of these during two trips up there this past week. SeEtta

Black-throated Gray Warbler, also Red Canyon Park

Another species that nests in the pinyon-juniper and oak habitat found in Red Canyon Park. SeEtta

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Open wide: Barn Swallow fledgling being fed

Young Barn Swallows make it easy for parents to 'hit the target' in feeding them as they open their beaks wide when any adult swallow comes near. The parents (both parents feed fledglings) will feed them from 2 to 7 days after they fledge from the nest and they have to make many trips to fill these hungry young birds' bellies. So the parent bird is off again to find some delectable insect for it's young.SeEtta

Monday, June 26, 2017

Yellow Warbler fledgling

I spotted the adult Yellow Warbler (bottom pic) fly into a section of thick vegetation and while I watched I saw her feed a fledgling. I moved my car so I could observe from inside using my car as a blind and photograph with minimal disturbance using the silent mode on my mirrorless camera.
The fledgling stayed mostly inside of the vegetation reducing opportunities for better photos but the top two pics show the plumage on this fledgling with the development of limited yellow feathering. SeEtta