One of the first things I wanted to do was get the Black-billed Magpie with my camera. This is a very common bird in Colorado Springs. I have a post on them from long ago but I was just learning how to use my camera. One of the places we went to bird was Sondermann Park. It had several birds on my target list which included an Eastern Kingbird. This is a beautiful trail along a stream full of birds! While I dipped on the Eastern Kingbird reported there, I picked up a life bird I wasn't expecting.
The Olive-sided Flycatcher!!! Yes! It just sat on the branch and said to us, "Here I am. Take as many pics as you want!" And I did. If this had been the only life bird I found for the day, I would have been happy. But as luck would have it, more birds would pop up along this trail.
But since it's a life bird and a first for the blog, here are some close-ups of the flycatcher. They are found in Arizona. Some of them are in trickier spots to find around the state. Some of them are too far to chase. And they do pop in Tucson during migration, but I kept dipping on this bird. When we found this handsome bird, everyone moved on to find more. Pat understands the word, "life bird" and is constantly trying to aide in my quest to find them. So when I said "life bird", Pat stood with me longer to observe the bird while the others moved further down the trail. But what we didn't realize was that there was going to be a cluster of activity along the stream's edge.
It was hard to take my eyes off of this bird, but when someone said, "Blue Jay!", I was forced to move.
But not without spotting the first of the year Downy Woodpecker! Hairy Woodpeckers are common in Arizona. The Downy is much harder to find, but in Colorado Springs, they dominate the landscape. In fact, we saw many Downy Woodpeckers, Williamson's Sapsuckers, and Northern Flickers. I think Colorado Springs is the headquarters for Northern Flickers:)
Finally! As a child growing up in Wisconsin, I had seen many birds but I couldn't trace the dates when I saw them so decades later, I discovered my first common Blue Jay that most people see. And it was awesome. Technically, another lifebird in molt:)
Another fun place to bird is Garden of the Gods. It's popular among the tourists and overall, just a nice place to hike.
|Garden of the Gods|
This area is a hotspot for Western Scrub-Jays and Magpies. There are lots of beautiful Aspen trees and red rock formations.
|Western Scrub Jay|
One last note. I have learned to balance the birding bit by birding in local areas around the neighborhoods of family and friends. Another spot that was not really birded well was Quail Lake which was 5 minutes from our place. So I jumped in the car and did a quick walk around the lake and discovered.......
|Quail Lake in Colorado Springs|
Several juvenile Common Grackles. Another life bird! I heard the "grackle" sound and watched them for quite a bit of time to make sure I was actually seeing a Common Grackle and not a Red-winged Blackbird or Great-tailed Grackle or Brewer's Blackbird:) These birds were mixed in with Red-winged Blackbirds. It was really gray and cloudy making the black on the bird tricky. But to ID Common Grackles, I looked for the yellow eyes(check), their vocalizations(check) and a variation in color from the bluish head and darker body(check). In the pics, it's hard to see that bluish sheen on the head because of the lighting.
We had a nice trip and visit. I have more photos from several other places coming up. And hopefully I will have added more data to Ebird that will be useful. Recently, four of my lists that I marked as a Hotspot for Ebird in Colorado Springs were accepted. That never would have happened in Arizona. Hopefully other Ebirders will visit and bird these beautiful parks and trails.
Keep your eyes open for the hummingbird moth below during summer and early fall:) Rumor has it that snow has fallen over there!
|White-lined Sphinx Moth|
Dear blogger friends, I will be visiting soon. I'm on vacation right now and will be back next week. There is a lot more to report, but for now I hope all of you are enjoying fall....or spring wherever you may be. All my best. More soon.....
I'm linking up with Wild Bird Wednesday. So many amazing birds out there!