Showing posts from June 26, 2011

Western Screech Owl fledgling: video clip

I brought local birder Jan Swarm out with me last night to see if I could again refind the family of recently fledged Western Screech Owls. I was successful (have found every night but didn't get home from out of town in time to look Thurs night) and we were delighted to see them beginning at 8:45 pm when there was a little light to see them well. But I was surprised when we found 5 owls as I previously had seen only 2 fledglings and an adult. They gave us quite a show as they flew back and forth from tree to tree nearby before flying further away--then we found them again when we went back to our cars as they were in the trees adjacent to where we parked. Though this is a little dark (they really don't like my spot light and I don't like using it on them) but the fledgling is right in the middle of the screen. It emits the soft calls that I have previously heard used by this species when they have young, a gentle intra-family calling. SeEtta

Long-billedCurlew: video clip of young chick foraging

Note: this short video clip is fairly jerky--in order to reduce disturbance to the curlew family yet obtain reasonable video of the quite small chick (parents reacted to my recording on tripod across the road and getting reasonable video would require setting up on road next to the field which would be far too intrusive) I had to take the video from inside my car requiring hand-holding camcorder using 40X zoom. Nevertheless, in this clip the chick can be seen reasonably well as it goes about foraging in the field, often walking fairly quickly, as far as about 30 feet from a parent (though very clearly under the watchful eyes of both parent birds that would follow it if it wondered too far)--rather amazing since this precocial chick is possibly a week or less in age. SeEtta

Long-billedCurlew-video clip of the chick with the female

In this clip the Long-billed Curlew is seen near the female. First it stands in place as the parents had been giving warning calls. Standing by the female provides a good perspective on the size of the chick--the adults are about 2 foot in length so this chick is about 6-10 inches in length. At the end the clip shows the chick about 25 feet from the female engaged in independent foraging. SeEtta

Long-billedCurlew:video clip of male and female calling

This video clip begins with the male Long-billed Curlew as it begins giving warning calls in response to me setting up my video on a tripod across the road from the field in which he is foraging. Then it goes to the female, distinctive with her much longer and more distinctly curved bill, who takes up giving the warning calls while I am still unaware that they have a chick in the field (they were so close to the road I didn't think they would have a nest there and couldn't see the chick as it was so small). SeEtta

Long-billed Curlew chick

As can be seen in these pics this Long-billed Curlew chick is still in it's hatchling stage down. This is a very young chick, at least younger than 2-3 weeks old (age when female leaves the parenting to the male) and I suspect only a week or so old. Note: I used my longest lens combination (that is the equivalent of about 900mm) to photograph this Federally listed Species of Concern so I was usually over a hundred feet from the chick (except when I was photographing from inside my car and the chick approached within about 60 feet of my stationary car parked on road--that is when I got the top pic) then cropped the pics to enlarge them. SeEtta

Long-billed Curlew with mother

The mother curlew is near the chick in both of the bottom pics as it forages in the grassy area (actually a lot of forbs). According to Nature Works, "Shortly after birth their parents will lead them to the feeding ground where they will hunt for invertebrates like grasshoppers." This very young chick was quite independent and spent little time near either of it's parents during the almost 2 hours I observed them.
In the middle pic the female is looking skyward, watching for aerial predators (not long after this a Turkey Vulture flew over followed by an explosion of both parents as they flew up to escort it away from their chick). SeEtta

Long-billed Curlew family with young chick

Yesterday I took advantage of a 'cool' front that dropped the temperatures in Otero County from around 100 to the 80's. I returned to look for the Long-billed Curlew pair that I found last year with several chicks. I found the male and female in the lower pics only about a half mile from where I had seen the pair last year so believe this is the same pair. Actually the grass in the field where I saw them the most last year was in poor condition--there is a severe drought in that area plus it appears the ranchers overgrazed those fields (grass fields right across the road were short but healthy looking). Long-billed Curlews are known for nest site fidelity but I suspect the poor condition of the fields they were in last year prompted a move down the road.
The chick shown in the top pic is quite young, actually a nestling but since this species is precocial. More pics to follow. SeEtta

Just a pretty sunset in raven/bobcat canyon

I took this last night as the sun was setting in the canyon near Canon City,CO where I have been following the Common Raven family and where I took the video of the ravens harassing the bobcat. It is just kinda pretty. SeEtta