USA   -   COLORADO   -   APRIL/MAY 2011   -   PART I

Non-passerines, 23 photos.


Ross's Goose - Chen rossii
Ross's Goose
Chen rossii
Walden, Jackson County, Colorado, USA.
This species, which breeds in the Canadian arctic, is mainly just a passage migrant in Colorado. (S6)


Greater Sage-Grouse - Centrocercus urophasianus
Greater Sage-Grouse
Centrocercus urophasianus
Jackson County, Colorado, USA.
Male. The stange breeding displays of males at a lek are absolutely stunning! Seeing them at close range ranks as as one of the most amazing ornithological experiences I've had anywhere in the world. This bird was caught in the middle of his display with esophageal air sacs fully inflated and exposed; from a mammalian perspective, this does not make him look very masculine! I uploaded a short video clip here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6kJrQrbVY0.
(S6)


Greater Sage-Grouse - Centrocercus urophasianus
Greater Sage-Grouse
Centrocercus urophasianus
Jackson County, Colorado, USA.
Males often confront each other and display face-to-face on the lek.
(S6)


Greater Sage-Grouse - Centrocercus urophasianus
Greater Sage-Grouse
Centrocercus urophasianus
Jackson County, Colorado, USA.
Sometimes these face-offs turn violent as the males jump at each other. These outbursts typically only last a second or two, after which the birds wander away from each other and carry on displaying.
(S6)


Greater Sage-Grouse - Centrocercus urophasianus
Greater Sage-Grouse
Centrocercus urophasianus
Jackson County, Colorado, USA.
Female. They are much more cryptic than the males, which is typical for a lekking species.
(S6)


White-tailed Ptarmigan
Lagopus leucura altipetens
Loveland Pass, Clear Creek/Summit County, Colorado, USA.
At 12000 ft./3660 m., it takes a long time for the snow to melt. This photo was taken on May 1st, but it still looked like the middle of winter, and this ptarmigan had barely begun to molt into it's mostly brown summer plumage. It was virtually tame, allowing us to approach within a few feet.
(S6)


Sharp-tailed Grouse - Tympanuchus phasianellus
Sharp-tailed Grouse
Tympanuchus phasianellus columbianus
Craig, Moffat County, Colorado, USA.
Male. While not as grotesque, the lekking display of the Sharp-tailed Grouse is just as incredible as that of the Greater Sage-Grouse. I actually enjoyed it more, probably because we were in a blind instead of a car and the birds were all around us. The main part of their display involves stamping their feet and spinning around in a circle with wings outstretched and tail erect. Check out a video clip here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mgTkaK4ezk. (S6)


Sharp-tailed Grouse - Tympanuchus phasianellus
Sharp-tailed Grouse
Tympanuchus phasianellus columbianus
Craig, Moffat County, Colorado, USA.
Male. (S6)


Greater Prairie-Chicken - Tympanuchus cupido
Greater Prairie-Chicken
Tympanuchus cupido pinnatus
Bledsoe Cattle Ranch, Wray, Yuma County, Colorado.
Male. The prairie-chickens are in the same genus as the Sharp-tailed Grouse; they also display on leks, but their displays are quite different. They inflate air sacs on the sides of their neck and raise feather tufts called pinnae. Greater Prairie-Chickens have orange air sacs and make a low whistling sound reminiscent to that produced by blowing into an empty bottle. They also make a variety of clucks. Here's another video clip: http://ibc.lynxeds.com/video/greater-prairie-chicken-tympanuchus-cupido/two-males-displaying-lek. (S6)


Greater Prairie-Chicken - Tympanuchus cupido
Greater Prairie-Chicken
Tympanuchus cupido pinnatus
Bledsoe Cattle Ranch, Wray, Yuma County, Colorado.
Here are two males in mid-display about to face off in front of each other. (S6)


Lesser Prairie-Chicken - Tympanuchus pallidicinctus
Lesser Prairie-Chicken
Tympanuchus pallidicinctus
Prowers County, Colorado, USA.
Male. The Lesser Prairie-Chicken is simlar in appearance to the Greater, but is smaller and has red air sacs. It's display is also similar, but the sound is very different. I can't describe it very well, but it's easy to hear in this video clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvsDhW9GUAo. (S6)


Western Grebe - Aechmophorus occidentalis
Western Grebe
Aechmophorus occidentalis occidentalis
Bent County, Colorado, USA.
(S6)


American White Pelican - Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
American White Pelican
Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
Walden, Jackson County, Colorado, USA.
(S6)


White-faced Ibis - Plegadis chihi
White-faced Ibis
Plegadis chihi
Bent County, Colorado, USA.
This flock is in full breeding plumage. It has an odd distribution, occuring disjunctly in North America and South America. (S6)


Swainson's Hawk - Buteo swainsoni
Swainson's Hawk
Buteo swainsoni
Walden, Jackson County, Colorado, USA.
Light morph adult. This hawk migrates farther than any other New World raptor; it breeds in temperate North America and winters in Argentina. (S6)


Swainson's Hawk - Buteo swainsoni
Swainson's Hawk
Buteo swainsoni
Neenoshe Resevoir, Kiowa County, Colorado, USA.
Immature. (S6)


Ferruginous Hawk - Buteo regalis
Ferruginous Hawk
Buteo regalis
Craig, Moffat County, Colorado, USA.
A characteristic hawk of open country in the western US. It does reach SW Canada, and they winter as far south as central Mexico. (S6)


Sandhill Crane - Antigone canadensis
Sandhill Crane
Antigone canadensis tabida
Jackson County, Colorado, USA.
This scene brought back memories of by trip to China in 2006. A small population of Sandhill Cranes breeds in NW Colorado, and since this pair was alone, I suspect they were breeders, not migrants. (S6)


Mountain Plover - Charadrius montanus
Mountain Plover
Charadrius montanus
Prowers County, Colorado, USA.
Not a well-named species, as it breeds mainly in the high plains just east of the Rocky Mountains. It winters in the southwestern US and northern Mexico. (S6)


American Avocet - Recurvirostra americana
American Avocet
Recurvirostra americana
Neenoshe Resevoir, Kiowa County, Colorado, USA.
Female. The strongly upcurved bill indicated that this is a female. She was probing the foam on the shore of the resevoir. (S6)


American Avocet - Recurvirostra americana
American Avocet
Recurvirostra americana
Neenoshe Resevoir, Kiowa County, Colorado, USA.
This shot shows the beak curvature better. (S6)


Hairy Woodpecker - Picoides villosus
Hairy Woodpecker
Picoides villosus septentrionalis
Silverthorne, Summit County, Colorado, USA.
Female. (S6)


American Three-toed Woodpecker - Picoides dorsalis
American Three-toed Woodpecker
Picoides dorsalis dorsalis
Rabbit Ears Pass, Jackson County, Colorado, USA.
Male. Three-toed Woodpeckers in Europe and Asia are now considered a separate species based on vocal and genetic differences. (S6)




















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