- Yesterday, October 14, while driving through Delta County, my dad and I
spotted a juvenile/female Rough-legged Hawk circling next to highway 50.
- yeehah!!! Today a pygmy owl snoozing in a cottonwood that I planted in
my front yard is a new yard bird for me!
Also, this has been a good Fall for blue-gray gnatcatchers in Delta
County...I have encountered them at all Delta County locations where I
have been birding recently. This morning I found one at the bottom of my
I have been searching for the sandhill crane flock [approx. 120 birds]
that has wintered over west of Delta for at least the past five winters
[probably longer than that]....so far to no avail.
Has anyone seen this flock?
How about the smaller flock that has wintered south of Montrose for the
past ten years....anyone seen them?
Missy and I took another spin around Delta County this morning and these were our best: Northern shrike at Sweitzer, 300+ Sandhill cranes at Harts, 9 DC cormorants had joined the single Western grebe at Confluence, and several Rock wrens were singing along Escalante Rd down to the Gunnison River. No Black phoebe was evident at the bridge yet, or it was hiding from the wind. Scanning various places for Chukar and Burrowing owls yielded none. Migrants wanted! There are many vacancies for shorebird positions around here, please apply soon while mud lasts! Larry
- lovely day...the bank sign read 63º F in Delta this afternoon.
I stopped to walk with the dog along Dominguez Canyon Rd on the way home
from Juniata Reservoir. I watched Golden Eagle #3 and 4 of the day
soaring through lapis sky above the red walls. sweet.
I stopped by Confluence Park in the later afternoon when geese were
flying in for the night. I saw all seven of Bill Harris' Snow Geese.
Only three had been hanging around mid-morning. I saw TWO Common Loons
there this afternoon.
Roger's Mesa is the agricultural mesa just west of Hotchkiss. As I
drove across Roger's Mesa a Peregrine Falcon whipped in front of me,
heading straight for the Gunnison River. Half a mile further along the
road and a big Cooper's Hawk made the same beeline. Then one more
time..this time the first Prairie Falcon I have seen around here in a
very long time. [ I think this might be because of the success of
peregrine recovery. IMHO they are now one of the most common raptors
that live in the N. Fork valley. I don't know whether they've been
eating or competing with Prairie Falcons but they seem to have largely
replaced them here.]
A Sharp-Shinned Hawk winged through my yard just when I returned, my
sixth raptor species for the day.
My day of birding ended spectacularly at home where the Wild Turkeys
where beginning their nightly roosting ordeal which lasts from 4:30 to
5:00pm each evening. If someone wanted to video this with a good
low-light camera I bet it would be a You Tube hit...
Approx 20 turkeys roost in a very large but dying and decrepit Siberian
Elm tree hanging over the driveway. They choose to roost at the end of
the branches [haven't figured this one out yet]...which are mostly dead.
This is what I get to watch every evening:
Around 4:00pm they start to gather on and around two large dirt mounds
that are near their tree. They're pretty silent at this point. Around
4:30 there begins much piteous-sounding chirping and the big birds start
jostling around on the mounds. One big hen starts flapping her wings
and crying in clear distress. Everybody else chimes in and it sure
sounds to me like they are sympathizing and in particular encouraging
her. When the noise reaches a crescendo she leaps off the top of the
mound flapping and crying like crazy lurching up to to the top of the
elm which for the last three nights in a row she smashed into on her
first try resulting in her crashing down. At this point they have all
lined up for take-off from the mound tops and one at a time they try to
haul their huge bodies straight up, crying and flapping and almost
always smashing into the trunk or branches on their first tries. When
they do manage to land, the dead branches often break, dumping them
anyway. For the whole 30 minutes it takes them to get settled there is
an absolute cacophony going on.
The show is very entertaining...I laugh out loud the whole time. Anybody
who would like to see this is welcome.
Actually the day started with a very interesting turkey major event that
I am so far clueless to interpret. This morning from inside I heard
much loud gobbling right outside and found many turkeys standing on the
edge of the deciduous woods n3ext to the house staring with their necks
craned all at the same thing. They were all loudly gobbling..a sound I
haven't been hearing them make. Suddenly other turkeys gobbling loudly
were rushing out of the woods from behind the staring turkeys...some of
them were crashing into each other...looked like belly butting. The
gobbles were coordinated...everybody gobbled loudly at the same time
then stopped and started again...all together. No odd gobbles. Then
they all started jumping straight up and down like cranes do with lots
of flapping, running and belly-butting.
I didn't see any tom feather displaying but hope I will.
- Wonderful to come back home to springtime after a long time away from Co..I drove from hotchkiss to cedaredge and back Friday and enjoyed seeing some cool birds.A large gull flew over me close to Eckert. Perhaps we were both heading to Fruitgrowers were I saw the cranes before they began staging, Dennis Garrison and fos Western Grebe.Up on delta's Redlands Mesa 6 colorful birds on a wire proved to be three Western Bluebirds and three Lewis' Woodpeckers. Small flocks of Mtn Bluebirds were working the fields below them.Yesterday I photographed three American White Pelicans at Sweitzer State Park... a breeding pair and what appeared to be a young juvenile for this time of year.Other interesting birds:1 adult Bald Eagle2 pairs Hooded Merganser6 prs ShovelersA few each:WigeonCinnamon TealGreen Wing TealGadwallMallardBrilliant Western Meadowlarks were throwing back their heads and belting out their songs.At my place the American Goldfinch are showing splotches of day glo yellow and the Lesser Goldfinch appear to be fully decked out.There's more than 40 "wild" turkeys hanging around my house. Im awakened each morning by pounding on the glass door. Its a tom fighting his reflection. Toms are strutting all day long. Anyone who would like to come see them anytime is welcome. Email me for directions.Happy MigrationAndrea Robinsong