Date: 3/11/17 2:03 pm From: DAVID A LEATHERMAN <daleatherman...> Subject: [cobirds] Grandview Cemetery, Fort Collins (Larimer) on 3/10/17
It's a good time of the year (bird turnover and meaningful college basketball games galore) and getting better by the day. We made it thru another February. Lots of spring activity underway.
Yesterday at Grandview, were many highlights, none of them RBA-worthy, but immensely amusing if you are easily amused.
An estimated 45 Cedar Waxwings displayed an assortment of feeding activities. They consumed the flowers of American Elm.
They occasionally engaged in "flycatching" while feeding on flowers. As best I can guess, the target objects of these sallies were brown lacewings.
They consumed European Fruit Lecanium scale insects (both adult females (rusty brown) and nymphs (either white or gray with white margin)) pried from the same small branches where they were getting flowers. I am guessing the lacewings mentioned above were preying on scales, as not too many other insects are available at this time of year except default prey like scales that don't move much and, thus, are continuously vulnerable.
The recent winds, seemingly endless, finally ended and the result was a plethora of juniper berries being shaken to the ground under particularly fruitful female trees. Waxwings, along with dozens of robins, were mostly on the ground feeding on these winter-processed (i.e. softened) berries, but a few were up in the trees getting still-attached fruit.
The female Great Horned Owl is on the nest in the traditional American Elm site at the west side of Section H. I first noticed her on the nest March 3rd, which if not THE day she started, it is within a day or two. The sticks placed many years ago in the nest crotch by a well-meaning "friend" of the owls are now sufficiently decayed that she can sit in there without being conspicuous. In fact, she is barely visible. When I have checked, her head is only visible when viewing the tree from nw of the nearby intersection looking back se to the tree. As a visual reference, from this vantage, an owl feather currently dangles from a sucker sprout about a foot above the top of her head. The male has been taking up his relaxed watch (think TSA prior to private-parts invasive searches) in the second spruce west of the nest elm.
Other interesting birds were Bushtit (small flock), a few Brown Creepers, one singing Pine Siskin (notably entirely absent this winter prior to today), a few Red-breasted Nuthatches and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet (one of two that has overwintered at Grandview subsisting primarily on overwintering adult hackberry gall-making psyllids extracted from under spruce bark flakes).
The Dark-eyed Juncos are singing, as are House Finches, Eurasian Collared-Doves and Northern Flickers.
The Eastern Screech-Owl present in January hasn't been seen for over a month. I have not seen a crossbill of either type at Grandview for over a year except for one heard-only, possibly imagined, flyover last autumn.