Showing posts from February 18, 2018

Great Kiskadee tongue and more

{note: to see the rest of photos and discussion please click on 'Read More') I rarely get a photo that shows a bird's tongue clearly so I was delighted to find this one provided a nice view of the tongue of a Great Kiskadee, a neotropical species found in the U.S. only in South Texas. I photographed this bird in a water feature at Quinta Mazatlan in McAllen, Tx at the beginning of the month.
The second pic just above also shows the tongue but in a relaxed position.  Also notice the 'wiskers' on it's bill--they help guide flying insects into it's mouth.
I added this third pic as it more clearly shows the hook on the end of it's beak (actually on the upper mandible). 
While hooks are often used for tearing meat this species usually eats arthropods, mollusks and "...small vertebrates (especially small fish but also tadpoles, lizards, small snakes, and mice)." (Birds of North America online) I guess the hook would help it tear flesh from …

A third local Bald Eagle this week, this one in Canon City

I spotted this immature Bald Eagle about a quarter mile from the Arkansas River on the far east side of Canon City, perched several hundred yards from the road over an agricultural field where a flock of Canada Geese were feeding. I found a somewhat closer road to photograph this bird from but it was about 300 feet away so I had to crop the pic severely to show the plumage. I believe this is a second year eagle in Basic/Sub Adult I plumage for showing these field marks from Birds of North America online: "Crown tan contrasting sharply with blackish-brown ear coverts;" "median and greater upperwing coverts brownish olive and variably mottled white";"most individuals with inverted triangular patch of white mottling on the mantle;". SeEtta

Brush Hollow Bald Eagles

I spotted the above adult Bald Eagle at Brush Hollow Reservoir over the week-end. As I almost always do I stayed in my car and kept my camera in it's silent mode to avoid flushing this raptor. I am pleased to report that it not appear disturbed by my presence and remained perched just like this when I drove off a few minutes later.

I actually spotted this immature Bald Eagle the day before I saw the adult eagle. Unfortunately it was more distant and backlit. I believe it is a 4 year old eagle in Basic III plumage which Birds of North America online (subscrition) describes in part: "Head white, with distinct brown flecking on forehead and crown, with dark flecking around eye or extending posterior to eye in some individuals...Rectrices mostly white with brown flecking proximally and heavy brown mottling on distal margins of feathers." Also note that the eye has changed to yellow and the base of it's bill is yellow now. SeEtta