Not Quite a Hummingbird
Category: Birding at the Chico

Mimicry benefits insects as well as some species of birds.  A group of slow-flying moths, sphinx moths, look superficially like hummingibirds in flight and their long proboscis is inserted into flowers in a manner similar to the way in which hummingbird tongues are inserted into flowers. This widespread species, White-lined Sphinx moth, was flying around at North Twin Pond.

Fall migration is still slow. However, shorebird flocks were seen heading south yesterday.  Because there isn't much mud this year, the birds flew low looking for foraging habitat and then kept going.  Lark Buntings, the Colorado State Bird, were moving around in small flocks as well, with mostly young and female plumaged birds being seen.

I don't think Mountain Plovers bred on the Chico this year.  Although there were two birds around in early spring and early summer they apparently did not breed. 

Posted by Bill M. on 08/10/2009

Snakes and birds
Category: Birding at the Chico
Just because we mostly see snakes on the ground or under a flat board, it doesn't mean they can't climb trees.  I found this coachwhip (sometimes called red racer) pushing its body against the tree's rough bark in order to climb.  High above, I could hear the loud calls of baby birds.  Although my approach caused the snake to head back to the ground, its purpose was to climb up this large cottonwood to find bird eggs or very young nestling to eat.

Duke described a plant with tubular purple flowers with a very deep tap root.  It sounds like the description one of my favorite plants that blooms on the prairie during the summer months, bush morning glory.  They magically appear along the roadsides that collect the most precipitation, growing quickly and producing many large purplish blooms.

Posted by Bill M. on 08/08/2009

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