fab fall birding at the old hotchkiss sewage plant
- I had a parallel experience to coen and brenda's yesterday right here
where I live [hotchkiss, not the old sewage plant].
There were hundreds of butter butts in the area around the old sewage
plant...all plumages and stages of molt seen. I heard their squeeky
chips in all the cottonwoods that line the drive to the plant and I
pished up a storm of warblers as I walked around the russian olive,
willow and cat-tail lined settling pond.
If I had experienced my migrating flock earlier in the day than C & B
enjoyed theirs I would suspect they were the same flock heading south as
there were several surprises in common: House Wren, Chipping Sparrow,
Orange-Crowned Warbler, Lincoln's Sparrow and White-throated Sparrow.
I wish someone else could have seen that White-throated Sparrow.
Instead of having a brilliant yellow spot by the eye, this bird had a
brilliant yellow eyebrow lined with black feathers above and below it
and also encircling the brilliant white throat. Spectacular birdie.
I had a good look at a very bright first Fall female Nashville Warbler.
I saw one Myrtle BB and oh yes, I forgot until I checked my notes
today...there was that Prairie Warbler...
I have just returned from a fantastic Fall birding experience in the
Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas. In Key West where I stayed for two weeks
I saw gorgeous tropical trees full of gorgeous Prairie Warblers all day
every day everywhere. They love pishing and I was able to get snapshots
of a dozen of them.
I'm not trying to rub it in but just want to make the point that I have
become so familiar with their facial markings just in the past two weeks
that when a face popped up close to me I recognized it as a Prairie. It
was in a darkish thicket and I could see the bill was pink. I also rule
out Townsend's because of the jizz [sp?]of the face and the pattern. I
see Townsend's [and Blackburian] as having angular lines and Prairie as
having soft round lines in their facial patterns. I studied pictures
today and I do think I stared at a Prairie Warbler's face on Saturday.
I only saw the face from the side and no more of the bird.
I heard a Common Yellowthroat in the reeds but did not get a look.
In addition to that spectacular White-throated Sparrow I saw several
Song Sparrows, afore-mentioned Chipping Sparrow, many White-crowned
Sparrows and the afore-mentioned Lincoln's Sparrow.
When I first arrived there were swallows flying around but they were
gone before I could look at them. An hour later, circa 1:00pm I saw
approx a dozen White-throated Swifts hawking above me. There may have
been many more higher up.
I was interested to see that flickers will not be on the endangered list
in nucla. Assumedly because of the giant siberian elm die-off and gross
bug fest that's been going on here for five years I have been referring
to Hotchkiss as the flicker capital of colorado. I have looked out my
window and seen twenty of them out grazing in my lawn.
I am sooo happy to return to a corvid-filled landscape. We suffered a
dismal corvidless five years after West Nile first struck our valley.
This Fall magpies and Pinyon Jays have returned to my yard to pig out on
sunflower seeds. Happy day. Great to hear them all yakking.
A Western Meadowlark has moved in to the edge of the yard and sings a
lovely [but unknown to me] song each morning. A Says Pheobe [perhaps
one of the family that nests on the barn?] spent the afternoon hunting
about the yard today.