Bird #479 — Green-tailed Towhee

pipilo chlorurus

Thursday, May 11, 2017

New Santa Fe Trail — Palmer Lake, Colorado

The New Santa Fe Trail between Monument and Palmer Lake is my new go-to spot when I want to walk somewhere close but don’t want to walk through a residential neighborhood. I usually bring my binoculars, although it hasn’t proven to be a great place to see a lot of species. I had just gotten to this spot on the trail.

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There was a sparrow on the trail — it turned out to be a Vesper Sparrow — and I stopped to look at it. I heard another bird calling softly down between the trail and the railroad track.

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When I saw the rusty crown, I tried to make it a Swamp Sparrow. Then I noticed the color of the tail.

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It perched there looking around for about five minutes, making occasional calls. 

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I took these photos by holding my cell phone up to my binoculars. I used the phone to play its songs, and it flew up to a bush next to the trail about six feet away from me.

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My phone froze, but the bird posed cooperatively long enough for me to power it down and restart it. After I took these photos, it flew off into a ponderosa pine about 30 feet away. I knew I’d see one without a lot of effort, and now I have. 

Also along the trail tonight I saw a coyote taking a nap in a field …

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and several herds of Mule Deer.

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