Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Birding Betasso Preserve

King of the mountain - Pine Siskin style.

Before I had any idea that my afternoon would forever be remembered for seeing my first wild American Black Bear, I did a pretty darn good bit of birding. As I arrived it was still unclear which way the clouds were moving, and I decided to hang around the picnic shelter for a bit. Not that it was much of a sacrifice, there were good birds everywhere. The siskins above were in a group of twenty-plus, and they were happy to do their things all around me giving lots of photo opportunities. There were Western Bluebirds and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds as well, and before I had even left I had a new species to add, a Rufous Hummingbird. Unfortunately the one picture I took was blurred and moving behind in-focus grass, but the colors were distinctive.

This Gray-Headed, Dark-Eyed Junco had a beakfull of goodies ready for dinner. He sat as the trail circled the tree he was perched in, I wonder if he needed a minute before returning to his demanding brood.

I also had a chance to watch a pair of Pygmy Nuthatches cycle food into their cavity nest. These were the first I have photographed, as my previous sighting was on the Boulder Christmas Bird Count at Betasso. Maybe we saw the same residents six months earlier under much different circumstances? I did notice that one of the pair carried away the avian version of a dirty diaper as it left the nest. I would never have known about the behavior or the importance if I had not seen this recent post by AstheMindWanders, check the comment from Nate that explains the behavior.

Western Bluebirds were a constant on my walk. I think he looks great even in the softer light.

Finally this Western Tanager's colors were really set off against the green of the trees across the beginnings of the valley. The best looks I have had so far at this colorful species.
All in all I had three lifer birds on Monday, the Rufous Hummingbird, a Dusky Flycatcher, and two Plumbeous Vireos sadly none were as photogenic as the bear, but there is always next time!
2009 Count: 158
Lifetime: 170

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