Date: 9/27/18 7:24 am From: DAVID A LEATHERMAN <daleatherman...> Subject: [cobirds] Grandview Cemetery, Fort Collins, on Wednesday, 26Sept2018 (Larimer)
Amid the rather chaotic proceedings at Grandview Cemetery yesterday afternoon (a funeral attended by many people, the squadron of mowers, heavy equipment, at least three school track teams, and dog walkers) a few interesting birds went about their business of daily living. Notable was species #100 for the location year list: male Spotted Towhee under the cotoneasters bearing fruit along the ditch in the southeastern corner.
A big flock of Bushtits extracted hackberry blistergall psyllids from leaves in a different manner than the Black-capped Chickadees I posted about the other day. Instead of whaling (note this is the correct word, not "wailing" as some astute former editor pointed out) all the way thru blisters on leaves the chickadees had removed from branches and were standing on, the Bushtits simply pecked off the tops of the blisters and removed the nymphs from intact leaves. In fact they may have been involved in the photo I showed the other day labeled as "delicate" removal. I think chickadees utilize both methods, with leave removal following by whaling being their first choice.
Other birds not normal or simply interesting for this site:
Western Tanager (1m) suspiciously near the European Buckthorn with fruits (or was it after the Cotoneaster fruits? or yellowjackets in elm?).
White-crowned Sparrow (1 adult, 3 immatures including one with black patch on upper breast (dare I wonder about the h-word?)).
Barn Swallows still zooming around. One Western Wood-Pewee still operates under the illusion it can kill all the terrorist yellowjackets, put on his little bomber jacket and proclaim "mission accomplished". First "Oregon" junco of the autumn showed up. One Townsend's Warbler gave itself away high in a spruce with its snappy call note. Big flock of Chipping Sparrows still present, still complicating matters by spending a fair amount of time high in spruce where a Golden-crowned Kinglet or Cape May Warbler is supposed to be.
A note about hackberry psyllids. I believe their emergence in my area from both blistergalls and nipplegalls (two different species) is imminent. At the latitude of Fort Collins this will probably be next week. Further south, say Denver or Colorado Springs or Pueblo), it is probably already underway. Hackberries are worth checking for migrants. Eastern warblers have always been precious to Colorado birders and that seems even more the case of late. Yes, hitting migrant traps like Crow Valley Campground, Brett Gray Ranch, Chico Basin Ranch can be a good strategy but those places are gallons of gas away. Fine-tuning local birding by checking the right trees during the right week is easier on the environment and, I would argue, just as satisfying qualitatively if not quantitatively.