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A dozen+ singing Dickcissels in the Canon City area
Canon City is a marginal area for Dickcissels with usually no more than 6 or 8 singing males so I was pleasantly surprised to find a total of more than a dozen today. And I found them in several agricultural fields where they have not been reported before.
Additionally I found 2 singing male Dickcissels in the hay field where I found the first of this species for Fremont County,CO 15 or more years ago but where they have not been found for some years--while it is still a hay field it has been purchased by our local Recreation District for future sports fields and is part of Pathfinder Park.
The pic above is interesting with the crown feathers standing straight out making a head piece for this bird. SeEtta
This map shows locations of Dickcissels viewable from public roads.
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…