various birds August 1-8, Delta/Gunnison County
- 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
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!