Palo Duro Canyon in February

I hadn’t been out of Hutchinson Co. much this year-a couple of trips to McBride Canyon in Potter Co. and one to Palo Duro Reservoir up in Hansford Co, and I was getting a bit bored seeing the same old places and birds, so I took a trip down to Randall County’s Palo Duro Canyon in between snow storms earlier this week.  I like going to the canyon in the winter when there are less tourists. It was a nice, sunny, calm day, and though I didn’t see anything unusual, I did get some nice photos of the winter residents.

White-crowned Sparrow. I see these birds everywhere in the winter.White-crowned Sparrow (107) (1024x698)

White-throated Sparrows are not as common.White-throated Sparrow (16) (1024x684) White-throated Sparrow (15) (1024x684) White-throated Sparrow (14) (1024x684)

Dark-eyed Junco. This is a slate-colored variety. Occasionally, I see the Oregon sub-species at my feeder at home.Dark-eyed Junco (28) (1024x684)

Spotted Towhee. Spotted Towhee (19) (1024x684) Spotted Towhee (17) (1024x684) Spotted Towhee (16) (1024x684)There are also Canyon Towhees at PDC, but I didn’t see any this trip.

Brown Thrasher  Brown Thrasher (16) (1024x684) Brown Thrasher (15) (1024x684) Brown Thrasher (13) (1024x685)I have a Curve-billed Thrasher that visits my feeders at home pretty regularly. I’ll try to get a picture of him to post.

Black-crested TitmouseBlack-crested Titmouse (1024x684)

Pine Siskin.  Pine Siskin (16) (1024x684)Also saw House Finches and American Goldfinches, but the photos didn’t turn out very good.

Northern Cardinal female.  Northern Cardinal and Golden-fronted Woodpecker (1024x696) Northern Cardinal (100) (1024x684) Northern Cardinal (99) (1024x684)There were several males as well, but the photos weren’t good.

Golden-fronted Woodpecker pair.  The male has the red cap.Golden-fronted Woodpecker (23) (1024x684) Golden-fronted Woodpecker (13) (1024x684) Golden-fronted Woodpecker (11) (1024x711) Golden-fronted Woodpecker (10) (1024x763)These woodies are much larger than the ladder-back, downy, hairy, and red-headed woodpeckers that are also common in the panhandle at different times of the year.  Note how similar the back patterns and colors are to the ladder-back, downy and hairy woodpeckers.

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