Showing posts from October 14, 2012

Another Harlan's Hawk, this one in Canon City

I was surprised to spot this Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk as I drove across the Raynold's bridge over the Arkansas River well into the town of Canon City. Though it was flying low to the ground when I spotted it, by the time I could safely pull over and get out to photograph it the bird had gained a lot of elevation in strong winds. It may have flown up quickly to meet a local Red-tailed Hawk, with feet hanging down, that I expect came to escort it out of it's territory. They circled each other high above for several minutes before going their separate ways. It is quite unusual to get a Harlan's Hawk here. SeEtta

Bighorn Sheep in Bighorn Sheep Canyon-Colorado

I spotted 3 bighorn sheep ewes near the side of the highway near Cotopaxi, CO in the Bighorn Sheep Canyon this week. The top two photos are of 2 of the 3 ewes feeding on the more lush vegetation near the road. The middle photo shows some the grasses projecting from that ewes mouth as she chews.

The ewes kept looking up the hill behind them and later the lamb in the bottom photo came into view. SeEtta

Another male Williamson's Sapsucker, at The Abbey

I birded The Abbey in Canon City this morning hoping to refind a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker I found there yesterday but no luck. However, I found this striking male Williamson's Sapsucker working a siberian-type elm tree (seems to be the favorite tree for a lot of sapsuckers this fall in this area). SeEtta

Eye-catching Williamsons's Sapsuckers-

I think that adult male Williamson's Sapsuckers are just such striking birds with their jet black and white plumage accented by their yellow bellies and just a touch of bright red. I found the one in the bottom pic at Lakeside Cemetery in Canon City at 4 pm yesterday (very unusual to find one at that late time of day). I returned this morning to see that there are 2 adult male Williamson's and 1 adult male Red-naped Sapsuckers. Watched them chase each other around and from tree to tree. Then watched the one if the top pic as it ate fruits from a hackberry tree. Very entertaining. SeEtta

Immature Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in Canon City

Canon City hosts Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers every winter along with Red-naped and Williamson's. This is the first of the season bird I found today in a small park with many hackberry trees. I observed this bird eating some of the fruit from the tree but later watched it drilling into several hackberry trees. This is an immature Yellow-bellied that is in the rather drawn out process for molting into it's full adult plumage which may not occur until well into winter. SeEtta

Migrating Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes are migrating south across Colorado and these are a few of those that I saw during my trip yesterday to the La Junta area. These were part of small group I saw at Lake Cheraw. They were all standing when I arrived but as shown 2 have laid down with one tucking it's beak into it's back feathers to rest. Though I have seen thousands of these cranes in several states, I can't remember ever seeing one laying like this on the ground. Lake Cheraw is a good place for them to rest as there is no active recreation (no boating, no fishing, etc) here to disturb them though they are hunted in this flyway I have not seen hunters here. The group in the bottom pic were flying near Lake Henry but changed direction to fly to another nearby lake SeEtta

First of the season Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk

Yesterday I drove east down the Arkansas River Valley in Colorado and spotted this Harlan's Hawk in eastern Pueblo County. The white on it's face is somewhat visible in the bottom pic as is a speckling of white on it's underparts.  This is the first one I have seen this fall as they return to winter in this valley. SeEtta