Motionless Colorado Squirrel

October might go down as the first month since October 2012 that I don’t put a checklist in eBird. Which means I haven’t done any birding. Someone quit at work which lead to a cascade of organizational changes so I’ve been covering 2-3 different positions which means long hours and weekends. At least until everyone is up and running marginally. The good news is it should be wrapped up by November 1 and I’ll be in a new position. Well really it is my old position which I liked but means no travel. So I should have more rest and be ready to go out on weekends. And blogging regularly. But I thought I’d take a few minutes to show a motionless Colorado Squirrel.

On the last day of my June Western Colorado trip I was walking up Devil’s Canyon when I noticed a squirrel on top of a tree. And I mean the very top. And it stayed there for the 10 minutes or so I watched.

I have no idea what it was doing. It never moved or made a sound. And there wasn’t anywhere around that was higher ground. So was it trying to get away from something?

As you can see the squirrel was on the highest branch. Maybe it was waiting for a dragonfly to come by for breakfast?
There it is in the center of the photo on the top of the tree. Why?

Couple of Western Colorado Wrens

One of the main species I wanted to see on my Western Colorado trip in June was a Canyon Wren. Most field guides state the wren is more often heard than seen and this had been the caseĀ on my previous trips. I had heard Canyon Wrens numerous times but one never presented itself in the open. So when one popped out of the rocks the first day of the trip I took the opportunity to observe it. Along with a Rock Wren I present a Couple of Western Colorado Wrens.

Canyon Wren

On the way to the Uncompahgre Plateau Colorado State Route 141 winds through the canyons cut out by East Creek. There are several pull-offs which give the opportunity to see different species. And a Canyon Wren was calling at my first stop.

“What’s going on out here?” The Canyon Wren must have heard me pishing for vireos in the trees along the creek.

 

“OK, it looks safe. I’ll come out for a few minutes.”

 

I’m not sure what its eating but anytime a wren shows its colorful tail it makes the day.
And one last look before it jumped down into the crevices.

Another one of those encounters when I didn’t know to watch or take photos. Luckily the Canyon Wren stayed out long enough because even though I heard several more I didn’t see one again on the trip.

Rock Wren

Now Rock Wrens are more inviting and I haven’t had a problem viewing them. But I’m amazed at where they turn up. On the Douglas Pass BBS run one turned up at the top of the pass, right on the edge of the rocks. Was it gawking at the scenery with the rest of us?

And when I hiked up Devil’s Canyon there was another one out on a ledge.

Here’s a view of the canyon. I’ll end up on the left side.
Up into the canyon. I’m going to end up about halfway on the right ridge where the trail ends. No access to the very top.
A view away from the top looking back on the Grand Valley.
A closer view of one of the unbelievable rock formations.
I finally saw the Rock Wren after hearing it sing for a few minutes. It was located on the rock cropping in the center of the square. I didn’t bother to crop my head shadow out!
There he is sitting on the edge of the rock.
He was sitting and singing like he had no problems.
Western Colorado Wrens
A final photo to show the zoom capabilities of the Nikon P900. And like the Canyon Wren check out the tail.

With the temperatures already well into the 90’s by mid-morning it was time to head back down the trail.

Butterflies September 17

The unusually hot Indiana weather in September – high’s in low 90’s with no clouds – had people complaining about not being able to do their afternoon activates. But for a guy who goes to the semi-arid world on vacation it didn’t bother me. In fact, it felt good. So I was out on the weekend afternoons and can now present Butterflies September 17. And a few photos from August also.

Since I’m still learning butterflies I didn’t stray far from home. Mainly the pond area out back and the local parks. But those areas provided plenty of learning opportunities.

Butterflies September 17
Common Checkered-Skippers made their appearance the weekend of the 23rd. I learned they are migratory and disperse north from Southern States in the fall.
A Common Buckeye kept throwing me since I hadn’t learned its fall pattern.
This was what I was expecting Common Buckeyes to look like this. It was the most numerous butterfly seen mid-month.
If you haven’t heard Painted Lady are having an outbreak this year. It was numerous from mid-month through the end.
By looking through the forewing I could ID this Question Mark from an Eastern Comma. The fourth spot is missing.
A Northern Pearly-eye was a surprise find at Eagle Creek Park.
A Hackberry Emperor also from Eagle Creek Park.
Fiery Skipper is a migrant and I started noticing them arriving from the south early in the month.
I’m sure Sachem had arrived from the south over the summer but I didn’t notice until September.
Peck’s Skipper

For the year I’ve logged around thirty species of Butterflies in Indiana. And I still have a few more photos to ID. Plus ID photos from Colorado. Hopefully things will settle down by the end of October and I’ll start getting caught up. But I’m not counting on it.