Sunday, February 13, 2011

One Lifer and One New Yardbird

Today, I hosted a couple groups of folks to my home and to my neighbor's Polly Wren and Paul's home, and a ride up Hwy 12 for Lewis's Woodpeckers. I'll write more later, but just had to post these beautiful shots from one of my guests: Jeannie Mitchell. She graciously sent me these stunning shots as soon as she got home from what must have been a very long day: two hours down, eight ours in the field and two hours back! But what a day we had...

Northern Pygmy Owl; a lifer for me

I think that tiny owl looks like a sweet, little plush toy. We found it on Hwy 12, not far outside of La Veta (Huerfano Co), in an area past the Devil's Stair-steps popular with Lewis's Woodpeckers.

American Dipper

The Dipper can almost be guaranteed on Hwy 12 not far outside of of La Veta..under the only bridge outside of town with year-round running water.

A beautiful Song Sparrow.
He had been singing his heart out earlier when Mark Peterson noted how rufus this little guy was; Jeannie's shot captured the reddish-coloring in this shot.

Spotted Towhee! I've tried for over a year to entice this bird to my yard! It took Mark visit earlier in the day to spot him near the Blue Spruce. Jeannie got these beautiful shots, including the one where he shows off his lovely white spots & streaks.

While Jeannie got several shots of the Rosy-Finches, I particularly liked this Black...posed up off the seed-strewn snow. She also got a shot that perfectly shows off the Hepburn's sub-species of Rosy-Finch; showing just how much gray is in this Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch. In that it has been days since the last snow, only a few of the 600+ Rosies that usually come in bad weather and most were gone by nine o'clock. Especially after the Sharp-shinned Hawk zoomed in and quickly took a Junco. Crows have been thick and would have stolen his prize, given a chance!

Above seven photos by Jeannie Mitchell

More stunning pics, this time by Leslie Holzmann, another friend who's been down a time or two...and a blogger to boot. Check her out here: Mountain Plover Not only does Leslie take beautiful photos; she's a Master Gardner; her blog is awesome.

Here are a couple of pink-butts she got in my yard Saturday: a Brown-capped Rosy-Finch...the only one with no grey on da head. Colorado is one of the very few places to see this finch; they're endemic here and breed above tree-line, like all the Rosy-Finches do.

The other is a stunning shot of one getting ready to land on the phone wire. Those lovely wings are pure silver underneath...contributing to the 'school of fishes' look when flying in perfect synchronization overhead.

Leslie got another shot of the pretty little Song Sparrow that's been visiting my yard. He sang his heart out all morning...

...and one of the dozen or so Cassin's Finches that have exploded into my yard. Those bright red top-knots look like the glowing embers of a hard-drawn cigarette...hopping all over the snow. Even the females have that feisty, spiky, top-knot...but without that incredible red color. Once you 'have' them, you'll see their patterned faces, with the white cresent shapes curling against their cheeks, are easy to tell from a House Finch.

There were probably 50-60 Evening Grosbeaks adorning the yard; I like to leave my windows cracked just to hear their cheery peeps mixed in with the constant calls of the Dark-eyed Juncos. Sweet sounds...

Pinyon Jay

Over at Paul and Polly Wren Neldner's place...we were treated to 60 or more of these beautiful (blue) jays. One can stand on their porch and hear even more, calling loudly in their maniacal laugh... making themselves known to all around: Da Pin-yon are he-ah!

White-winged Dove

Okay, so this was NOT taken in my back-yard...but this IS a photo by Leslie Holzmann and it's the most stunning photo of a dove I've ever seen. Yes, that blue around the eye is real; it is an un-feathered patch of skin showing...such a beautiful little dove. Thanks Leslie; for showing why I feel lucky to have this bird in my yard. Besides, this dove offers a real coo-ing call as opposed to the coughing-cat noise the EUDOs make.

Seven photos just above are by Leslie Holzmann


Beverly said...

I'm posting Jeannie's note so that folks in my community will understand what a treasure (in birds) that we have in our area...and of course that GREAT bakery: the Ryus Street Bakery!

Beverly: Just a THANK YOU for a great day! Fantastic birds, people, weather, scenery and food! It doesn't get much better than today... Pictured below are a few of "your" birds and "our" lifer, the NORTHERN PYGMY OWL. You're a wonderful ambassador for you community and for the birds' community. Thanks for all you do!
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PS: What was the name of the bakery we went to today? GREAT food!

Jeannie Mitchell

eileeninmd said...

Great birds and photos! What a wonderful birding day. THe owl is awesome.

Beverly said...

This from Lynne, another lovely birder from our jaunt this day.

Hi Beverly,

Thank you for your kindness to us yesterday, not only for sharing your wonderful yard birds but also for showing us the beautiful area in which you live. It was a pleasure to see the birds so close while being warm and comfortable in your home. I was really thrilled to see your Black Rosy-Finches, a new lifer. Special thanks for the tour of the countryside with views of the dikes, along with your good running commentary. How can we forget the roosting turkeys and the Northern Pygmy-Owl? It was a lovely day in Huerfano County! Many thanks!

Lynne Miller

Beverly said...

In answer to what Lynne said:

Yes, we saw a dozen or more Wild Turkeys roosting (NOT roasting) in a tree off Hwy 12. These folks were amazed as I was when first I saw them fly, that turkeys roost in trees. We had such fun...just before that we caught sight of an adult Bald Eagle and later a Golden Eagle, too. It was another Magical Day in Huerfano County!

Beverly said...

This in from Scott Rashid (author of 'Small Mountain Owls'):

Hi Beverly, I am so happy for you, these little guys are so special to all that see them. Often the first thing that strikes people is just how small they really are.

Nice photo,


[GREAT job, Jeannie!]

troutbirder said...

I've got to get serious about birding out there as my son and family live in Greeley. Great pics!

cindyzlogic said...

Outstanding captures!!! I would love to see a Pygmy Owl!!

PalmerLakeGuy said...

Great Blog and great photos! You've captured a lot of species I'd like to see for myself someday! Keep up the great work!