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Very large flock of migrating Common Nighthawks
If you enlarge the pic above (just click on it) there are more than 60 Common Nighthawks in that one photo. All in all this flock of migrating Common Nighthawks totaled at least 75 and more likely 100 birds--absolutely the most nighthawks I have ever seen at one time.
Click on this second pic also to see identifiable nighthawks. When I first spotted this flock they looked like a river of birds in the sky and I thought it must be a flock of gulls as I have seen similar flocks flying kind of in a line that were gulls-and I couldn't imagine it was a flock of nighthawks, a species that has been in decline and that I have seen in smaller numbers here year after year.
Though they generally headed down the Arkansas River corridor, smaller groups of them would fly around the area as they foraged. I think the most I have seen before migrating through here was around 12 in 2014 (they flew lower so got better pics). This was just an amazing spectacle. SeEtta
I had arranged to meet Bob Rasa, who leads tours around the famous Neal's Lodges on the Frio River in Concan, TX. Bob graciously offered to work me in to his schedule and I spent the day benefiting from his experience with the birds in this area. We birded around Neal's Lodges in the morning which is where I photographed this Black-throated Sparrow. I also saw this Long-billed Thrasher at the Neal's. This species has a fairly limited range, mostly in Mexico but coming into south and central Texas. SeEtta
I was very pleased to get the above photo of a Belted Kingfisher as it dove towards a pond to get a fish. Fortunately the light was good so I was able to take this as a very high speed pic, a setting I was already using since the kingfisher was a good 75 feet away. I hid in my car behind some foliage, some of which got in the view but is out of focus, in order to avoid flushing the bird. SeEtta
I found a bunch of this native Horsetail Milkweed (Asclepias subverticillata) in the far west part of Canon City. While Horsetail Milkweed is listed as native in Colorado the 'Floristic Synthesis of North America' lists it as a 'Native Species, but adventive in state.' Had to look that up--'adventive species' refers to "a species that has arrived in a new locality" which may have been with help of people or it may not (ie, range expansion). As a native milkweed it is an important plant for Monarch Butterflies as well as other insects.
These Tarantula Hawk Wasps (Pepsis sp., Pompilidae) are some of the largest insects in the U.S. "When a female is ready to lay her eggs, she seeks out a tarantula and injects it with paralyzing venom. She drags the tarantula to a burrow and stuffs it down the hole, then lays her eggs on top of the paralyzed spider. Several days later the eggs hatch and the larvae feed on the still living tarantula." (http…