Stopover by Snowy Egret

I found this Snowy Egret at Florence River Park last week. This is the first of the year Snowy Egret I have seen. It didn't stay long so likely was just stopping over as it migrates. Birds of North American online provides a wonderful description: "Adults in breeding plumage develop long, delicate plumes forming wispy spray of feathers extending off breast, recurving off lower back (arising from lower scapulars), and forming short, shaggy crest off nape." Click on Read More for more pics SeEtta

Wood Ducks way high up in a tree

[Click on Read More below to see close up pic] While walking on the Canon City Riverwalk a few days ago I was very surprised to spot a Wood Duck perched on a large cottonwood tree at least 70-80 feet above the ground. While I have seen a number of Wood Ducks in trees I have never seen one this high up. As I watched through my binoculars he walked around this large branch then jumped/flew down to a slightly lower branch. After several minutes a second Wood Duck, this one a female, appeared from behind a branch maybe 10-15 feet below the first duck and within a few seconds she flew off followed quickly by the male. Since Wood Ducks do nest in large cavities in trees near water (this location is less than 50 feet from the Arkansas River, see nest site info below), I suspect this is a pair and that the female was house shopping. Maybe since this location is near the Sell's Lake Trailhead and is a very busy area below she decided to look far up above all the human related disturban…

Eastern Phoebe along Tunnel Drive Rd

I found 2 Eastern Phoebes along Tunnel Drive Rd on the far west side of Canon City last week. Eastern Phoebes breed in the Canon City area every year though they usually migrate out during the winter.
As is the norm with Eastern Phoebes during breeding season, the Tunnel Drive Rd is just quite near the Arkansas River and there is an irrigation ditch running through here. I have observed these 2 birds foraging near each other several days so feel comfortable calling them a pair. SeEtta
Last year I was able to follow a pair of Eastern Phoebes that nested on the other side of the Arkansas River. Here is the female on the nest.

Cool 'wave clouds'

{To see all photos in this post click on Read More below} I spotted these 'wave clouds' developing this week when I was leaving Pueblo. Having seen this unusual type of cloud formation before I drove around to get the best view to get these photos. These are also referred to as rotor clouds and they are due to a rare phenomena caused by "Kelvin-Helmholtz instability" that is related to wind shear likely from strong winds near mountains. The clouds I photographed here were between the southwest edge of the city of Pueblo and the Wet Mountains seen in the background. SeEtta

Evening Grosbeaks, the boys

Like most bird species the male Evening Grosbeak are much more colorful than the females. Their gold overall plumage and large size make them stand out.
Birds of North America online notes, "Irruptions often include other fringillids, such as Pine Siskin (Carduelis pinus)...."  And interestingly the other bird in the pic above is a Pine Siskin, one of a number that have come in at the same time as the Evening Grosbeaks.
They most often seen in flocks and so they can empty feeders quickly. An 'irruptive' species, they wander in search of food resources (for the whole flock, not just feeders in one yard) showing up irregularly.
In a couple of past years Evening Grosbeak stayed in my area until around May when they moved to breeding areas (they breed in conifers and spruce forests which are at higher elevation than Canon City). And they even returned a couple of years with their offspring and fed the kids in my feeders, funny looking as the offspring are the same si…

Evening Grosbeaks, just the girls

Almost 2 weeks ago while I was in the grip of a bad bout of acute bronchitis I heard some bird calls that are distinctive and belong to Evening Grosbeaks. I was really frustrated because this species hasn't visited my yard in over a year but I didn't feel well enough to put out bird food for them.
Fortunately my neighbor had put out a number of feeders and the birds were well fed so have stayed around. And a flock of these big birds, they are about the size of robins, can go through a lot of black oil sunflower seeds. And finally I started feeling well enough to put out seed so they are also frequenting my feeders.
While the Evening Grosbeak in the bottom pics were at my feeders those in the top 2 pics were loafing in one of my pine trees. While all these are pics of the girls, I will post pics of the boys next. SeEtta

A male Eastern Bluebird, uncommon to south cental Colorado

I found this handsome Eastern Bluebird over the week-end near the Pathfinder Park east of Canon City. While Western and Mountain Bluebirds are common here in south central Colorado we usually have a few Eastern Bluebirds visit in the winter and they have nested a few times too. I looked again yesterday hoping to see a female as well as this male but only he was visible. Hopefully a female will come along and they will nest. For clarification since Eastern and Western Bluebirds are fairly similar. The male Eastern Bluebirds have rusty throats while male Western Bluebirds have blue throats. Male Eastern Bluebirds have blue backs while on male Western Bluebirds the rusty orange on their breasts extends to their upper backs. Harder to discern the bellies of Western Bluebirds are grayish while the beliies of Eastern Bluebirds are bright white. SeEtta