All Photos posted on this blog unless otherwise noted were taken by me with my Canon Rebel XTI using a 300 mm zoom lens

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Egrets, Herons and more in Greeley Colorado

I took a trip with my parents to Colorado to visit my brother and his family, they took me to a park in Greeley that felt more like I was in Florida somewhere. There was a pond in the park with an island in the middle that had a large Egret and Heron Rookery. here are some pictures of the rookery and a few others from my visit.

Cattle Egrets, a Snowy Egret and nesting Black-crowned Night Herons
My first viewing of snowy egrets in a tree
Snowy and Cattle Egrets

Black-crowned Night heron on its nest
Black-crowned Night Heron
Here are a few more pictures of the trip

A family of Prairie Dogs, there was a whole colony of them just a block from by brothers house.
Eurasian Collared Dove, their neighborhood was teaming with Mourning Doves, Collared Doves, and Common Grackles. I was not able to get a picture of the Grackles with my camera because my battery ran out and I forgot my charger. I did get some with my dads camera but I haven't seen them yet.
Ground Squirrel 
Sphinx Moths

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Being in the right place at the right time

Cattle Egret
There are a several birds that I see quite often but just never seem to be in the right place at the right time to photograph them, the Cattle Egret is one of them. Usually when I see them they are so far out in a pasture behind a fence I can't get a good shot of them.

For the past week on my way home from work I have seen one in a pasture just off the 5th South Exit of the Legacy Highway, but haven't had my camera with me and got to busy to come back down after getting home. I had to go in to work this morning for a few hours and sure enough on my way home there it was so I hurried home, got my camera and went back down to the Legacy Parkway.

Not only was it still there but several others had joined it along with a couple of Snowy Egrets and a White-face Ibis.

Snowy Egret
White-faced Ibis and Cattle Egret
Snowy Egret and Cattle Egret
Getting a 1st photo of a bird is almost as exciting as seeing a new life bird.

In addition to the Egrets and Ibis there were Western Kingbirds displaying in the air over the pasture but unfortunately I wasn't able to get any pictures.

Friday, May 4, 2012

May 2012 Bird of the Month Western Meadowlark

The buoyant, flutelike melody of the Western Meadowlark ringing out across a field can brighten anyone’s day. Meadowlarks are often more easily heard than seen, unless you spot a male singing from a fence post.  Look and listen for these stout ground feeders in grasslands, meadows, pastures, and along marsh edges throughout the West and Midwest, 

One of the very first birds I remember from my childhood is the Western Meadowlark. I remember walking out our back door and hearing the Meadowlarks singing in the vacant lots surrounding our home on the Centerville Bench. I learned how to whistle their song and would carry on conversations with them, I would whistle and they would answer and still do.

I remember as a young scout going out to Antelope Island for scout camps and amazed at the numbers of Meadowlarks singing in the grass and sagebrush. They are still abundant on Antelope Island and at Farmington Bay, but because of the growth and development on the Centerville Bench where I grew up they are hard to find now.

One of my favorite birds, I love pointing them out to people during tours at Farmington Bay. Everyone has heard them but I am surprised at the number of people who don't know what they look like. Perhaps it is because they look so different when you see them from different angles. From the front they are bright yellow with yellow eyebrows, a black collar around their neck and breast. From the back they are streaked drab brown and gray. They also spend a lot of time on the ground making them difficult to see in the grass and shrubbery. 

Like other members of the blackbird family, meadowlarks use a feeding behavior called “gaping,” which relies on the unusually strong muscles that open their bill. They insert their bill into the soil, bark or other substrate, then force it open to create a hole. This gives meadowlarks access to insects and other food items that most birds can’t reach.

The Western Meadowlark is the state bird of six states: Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, and Wyoming. Only the Northern Cardinal is a more popular civic symbol, edging out the meadowlark by one state.