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various birds August 1-8, Delta/Gunnison County

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  • Bill / Cheryl Day
    Sorry to be late writing this. Bill and I spent the last two weeks just having fun birding, looking at the last of the purple martin babies in the nests, and
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 11, 2005
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      Sorry to be late writing this. Bill and I spent the last two weeks just
      having fun birding, looking at the last of the purple martin babies in the
      nests, and the recently fledged "branchers" being fed by their parents.
      Early in August, we drove up to the east end of Grand Mesa twice. Kestrels
      were all over, we saw 15 just in Hubbard park; it's a good year for them.
      At the north end of the Stevens Gulch road, we saw at least 250 vesper
      sparrows, all over the road and in the bushes on the side of the road.

      Birds were still all over the side of the road, especially babies,
      especially bluebird babies. We went to a cliff swallow colony right off the
      road, and the cliff swallows were still feeding young. They were landing on
      the road right in front of us, so we thought we would finally see what all
      the birds were eating off the road. Well, they were picking up pieces of
      dried grass, straw. Were they trying to repair the nests before they left?
      Doesn't seem right since there were still young in the nest. A mystery to
      us. They would come to the road for a bit, then fly around catching bugs for
      a bit, back and forth.

      I saw one lark sparrow, felt he had gone the wrong way, north instead of
      south.

      And one of the more interesting migrants I saw in the meadows below the
      aspens was a gray flycatcher. I was walking along, and there he was, perched
      in a snowberry bush about ten feet away. He would make his little noise and
      flip his tail up. What was interesting was that he had his tail spread out,
      and you could see the white edges along the outer tail feathers. I talked
      softly to him, and he kept making his noise and flipping his tail up, but
      didn't seem bothered. We stayed that way for about four minutes, and I
      finally left him alone. Never what I expected to see in the aspens.

      We drove up Kebler pass one day, to a road just before Erickson Springs
      campground. The first quarter mile was just littered with baby birds, mostly
      robins but some flickers and pine siskins. We got to watch a baby flicker
      playing on the road, just staying in our car and watching. He would lay flat
      down in the road, with his long beak stretched out. Then he would peck at
      the ground a little with his beak. Then he pulled his wing over his head,
      covering himself up. Really, it was just like watching a baby at play. Every
      once in a while he would look up and shriek for his parents. I really
      enjoyed watching him.

      I had always thought August was not that great for birds, but going to
      mid-elevation and seeing all the action with the young and seeing the birds
      gather up has been a lot of fun. As for yard birds, yesterday we had a
      loggerhead shrike on the fence in the yard, and early in the morning canyon
      wren has been singing in the front yard. I believe it is a youngster,
      because the song is not quite right. But what a treat!

      Cheryl Day
      Hotchkiss, Co
      semi-desert (dobe's)
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