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Migrating Chimney Swifts going to roost in chimney

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I heard a couple of Chimney Swifts making their chittering sounds and as I watched more appeared. I walked around the Goodwill Store building to get a better view.   I was delighted to see that this flock totaled 25-30 swifts. Since about the most breeding Chimney Swifts I have seen in Canon City is 8, this is a migrating flock that are stopping over to feed and roost. The pic below shows 16 or 17 of the swifts as they circled close to the Goodwill chimney in preparation for entering the roost. The pic just above shows one of the swifts as it briefly hovered, using it's tail feathers opened widely, before diving quickly into thhttps://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=57749986988450056&pli=1#editor/target=post;postID=6517924101953644242;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=0;src=postnamee chimney. The short video clip below shows this flock of swifts as they move in and dive into the chimney to roost for the night. SeEtta Chimney Swifts Entering M…

A juvenile Peregrine Falcon

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I spotted this juvenile Peregrine Falcon driving on Red Canyon Road north of Canon City last week. Though I used a 600mm (equivalent) lens and cropped the pic severely, since it was perched 400-500 feet away I couldn't enlarge it more than this.

Just to give some perspective, the pic below is what the pic above looked like before I cropped it to enlarge the Peregrine. SeEtta

"Hidden" Belted Kingfisher

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I photographed this Belted Kingfisher at Florence River Park from my car.  As the bird was behind a number of tree and shrub branches it thought it was hidden so it stayed put about 30 feet from my car (they usually flush at that close distance)--of course those branches made getting a clear shot a challenge.
While field marks of blue-gray  head and back, white collar, black dagger like bill are usually noted, often not mentioned is the small white  spot in front of each eye.  Interestingly these white spots are thought to assist their fishing skill:  "That “perfect” aim, some biologists believe, is enabled by two white “false eyes” in front of the bill. These spots may serve as sighting devices along the line of the bill, allowing the eyes to fix binocular vision on the prey, and also correcting for light refraction at the water’s surface, which makes prey appear to be nearer the surface than …

Black Phoebe fledgling and parent

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I took all these pics from inside my car after driving up to about 40 feet from one Black Phoebe. I waited patiently while it just perched quietly, then this juvenile Black Phoebe flew in to a perch less than 25 feet from me providing for such nice close-ups.   The juvenile is in spanking new plumage and it's brown wing stripes (denoting juvenal plumage) stand out nicely.
Just a bit of this fledgling's yellow flanges can be seen, but very small amount as this is clearly an older fledgling (ie, tail is not very short ).  It is even starting to show the raised crown found on adult Black Phoebes.  Also I saw the fledgling do some foraging on it's own, so it is close to gaining independence.
The adult is feeding the fledgling in the pic above.
Some of the insect that the parent bird fed to the fledgling is shown above. 
Bottom 2 pics are of the parent bird. It is scruffy looking, showing disheveled feathers due to a lot of wear. The white feathers shown above are body f…

Pair of Virginia Rails

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This Virginia Rail is one of two I found in a private pond in the Canon City area that is mostly overgrown with cattails. Note it's bill was just this bright in my photo, it is not enhanced--I think it came out so bright because it was dusk lighting.
In the past I have found rails in ponds/wetlands with heavy amounts of cattails. As seen in these brief video clips, the Virginia Rail effortlessly walks into and out of the cattails providing 'now you see it, now you don't' action. VirginiaRail-a2 from SeEtta Moss on Vimeo.


The National Audubon website says, ".... the long-billed Virginia Rail eats mostly insects."
It astounds me that Virginia Rail are huntable in many states including Colorado. Fortunately it doesn't appear that there are many who them and my local wildlife officer said he has never met a hunter who shot them.
I was able to get these pics and the video by staying quietly in my car and shooting out the window to reduce disturbance.
T…

Recently fledged phoebes

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These are recently fledged Black Phoebes, notice their very short tails. The one in top pic clearly shows it's brightly colored gape. The pic below shows actually 3 young Black Phoebes--see the tail feathers below the bird on the right, those are from the third fledgling that is between the other two and facing away. Like most Black Phoebe families I have followed over the years, this one one has the young fledglings almost hidden behind a lot of tree limbs. But they were only about 10 feet from the Fremont Irrigation Ditch. The bottom pic is a young Eastern Phoebe that is also clearly showing it's brightly colored gape. This phoebe and another young one had flown out into a yard but soon retreated to the thick vegetation by an irrigation ditch. SeEtta

The cactus dodger cicada

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I found this cicada in my lawn last week so I showed it to my young friend Hailey who is showing a developing interest in nature. She got these excellent pics with my Samsung cellphone.
My yard seems to be an unusual place for this Camama species of cicada which is called the 'cactus dodger' species because "...known for their affinity for cacti like prickly pear & cholla, and are most likely named Cactus Dodgers for their ability dodge the needles of their favorite plants." SeEtta