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Showing posts from 2017

Roseate Spoonbill

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I found this Roseate Spoonbill walking along a canal at the Mission Nature Park. "Like many other bird species with beautiful plumage, roseate spoonbills were nearly hunted to extinction during the 1800s. Their striking pink feathers were popular on women's hats, and hunters from all over the United States competed for spoonbill plumes. In the early 1900s, roseate spoonbills began to recolonize areas along the Gulf Coast and slowly increase in number. Today, threats to roseate spoonbill populations come as a result of habitat loss." (from Texas Parks and Wildlife website) SeEtta

Rare for the LRGV, a Hammond' Flycather

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This Hammond's Flycatcher was identified yesterday at Estero Llano Grande State Park in Weslaco, TX by Mary Gustafson with some notes that this bird has been around for a month (I guess the bird matches some photos taken last month but identified as another species).
There are very small differences between Hammond's and Dusky Flycatcher and similar to other empids. This bird wagged it's tail upwards which rules out Gray Flycatcher that wags it's tail downward. Sibley notes that Dusky has a rounded head and this bird shows a flatter head.  Sibley also differentiates Dusky and Hammond's by primary projection with Dusky having a short projection and Hammond's a long projection. Not visible in pics but I looked at the bird 's back and had the impression of a long primary projection. Sibley also states that Hammond's have a "distinct 'vest'" and all 3 of these shows a vested appearance. But I am glad there have been no other flyc…

Is this Peregrine Falcon is giving me the finger!

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While I photographed this Peregrine Falcon it lifted it's foot and pointed it's middle toe directly up in the air and it's looking down towards me! Well, maybe not it's 'middle toe' (they have two toes facing forward and 2 back behind so they don't really have a middle toe). In the pic above it's 2 forward, 2 back toes are evident. And actually those are called talon. Check out those long,sharp nails! SeEtta

Black-throated Green Warbler at Quinta Mazatlan Birding Center

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I spotted this Black-throated Green Warbler at Quinta Mazatlan Birding Center. It shows the bright yellow face with olive auriculars but little of the black colored throat found on males of this species. Instead the small amount of black on the throat is indicative of a female or immature bird. Photos show the white belly with blackish streaks on the side that are also field marks of this species. SeEtta

Handsome Gray Hawk

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I spotted this Gray Hawk on a utility line next to Military Highway south of Pharr,TX. It spent it's time watching mostly on the ground below it for something presumably to eat.

Gray Hawk is a tropical species found only in a few southwestern states bordering Mexico and mostly right along the border. They are one of the specialities in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

As it is noted that this species mainly eats small birds and lizards I suspect it was watching for lizards in this location next to the very busy Military Highway.
It seemed odd to me to see this tropical hawk amongst all this urban utility wire clutter.  SeEtta

And good pics of the female Summer Tanager

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This female Summer Tanager is almost brown. Birds of North America online says females plumage varies from yellow to mustard yellow.  I looked up mustard yellow and as can be seen from the bottom pic that does pretty much describe this female's plumage.  SeEtta

Better pics of the Yellow-throated Warbler

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I went back to Roselawn Cemetery this morning to try to get better photos of this and other birds than I got yesterday.  While still not sharp these pics are certainly better than the one I got yesterday.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Yellow-throated Warbler

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I also found this male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and the poor pic of the Yellow-throated Warbler also at Roselawn Cemetery today.  They were part of a mixed species flock foraging around the many trees in this cemetery.  SeEtta

Brightly colored Summer Tanager

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I found this bright male Summer Tanager today at the Roselawn Cemetery in McAllen, TX.   I also found a female Summer Tanager, also brightly colored, but didn't any pics of her.  SeEtta


Leucistic Red-tailed Hawk

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I found this most leucistic Red-tailed Hawk today  in south Texas.  It was striking but the backlighting does not do it justice in these pics.
 I was surprised that it wasn't as shy as many of this species and let me stop along the highway to take pics (I did stay in my car both as my habit to reduce disturbance on the bird plus the danger of parking along a two lane highway).  SeEtta

Willamson's Sapsucker in bright, fresh plumager

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Late posting as I found this male Williamson's Sapsucker on Oct 10. He was south of Canon City in a dry gulch that runs through an area with pinyon and some ponderosa pines. I have found Williamson's Sapsuckers in this dry gulch in fall in previous years as well as many sapwells to indicate these birds must be migrating down through dry gulches.  Interestingly in these dry gulches I have found them most of the time on Siberian elm trees like the one pictured here.  However, when they go into Canon City they spend a lot of time also on non native trees but mostly on conifers like Scots and Austrian Pine.  
These male Williamson's Sapsuckers are most handsome in fresh plumage.  SeEtta

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, a late fall/early winter visitor to Eastern Colorado

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I found this sapsucker last week in Canon City, the first Yellow-bellied Sapsucker this year. Most years one or a couple of these sapsuckers spend the late fall and early winter in our town as well as in a few other cities in eastern Colorado. This sapsucker is in immature or Basic I plumage with some retained juvenal feathers. SeEtta

Lewis's Woodpecker in fresh bright plumage

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I was happy to find this Lewis's Woodpecker in such fresh plumage especially since the last one photographed, just a few weeks ago, was very rugged looking in it's molt. While backshots are not often posted I think it is helpful for some birders to learn how birds look from behind since sometimes that is the only view one gets. On this species the wide silver-gray collar is distinctive. The sun hit the face of this bird and it's bright raspberry face really popped out. The greenish back that so often looks black in photos looks more greenish with the sunlight.   SeEtta

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

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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

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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

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

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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

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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

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

Just a cute Mountain Chickadee

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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