This particular species of prairie dog is the black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus). Like the other species of prairie dog, the black-tail is a highly social little rodent. Below you can see two pups "kissing" each other, a type of interaction that members of the same family group will employ. I think this is just to help solidify familial bonds, but I'm not sure if anybody knows for certain.red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), definitely the raptor that I see most often when on the route.
American kestrels (Falco sparverius), the species of raptor that I see second most often. I don't usually see the kestrels so close together, however, so perhaps this was a mated pair. I did see one of them fly into a hollow in a tree, which might be where a nest is hidden away!
European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) flying into other hollows on the tree. Then I realized that the angle of one of the hollows was just right, and that I could actually see the adult starling feed its young! If you zoom in on the picture, you can see that the baby already looks pretty big, maybe even as big as the parent!
And here is the picture that I took on my iPhone at Boulder Creek of this tree. The thorns look pretty similar to those of the honey locust, and I think that the trunk of the tree looks pretty similar, too.
giraffes, tiny squirrels, cheetahs, and extinct North American elephants. For those of you who know me, it should come as no surprise that I spiraled so quickly off topic. But regardless, what I had written ended up having enough material for at least three or more posts, so I have moved the answer to a different post, which I will hopefully be publishing soon. Keep an eye out for that! In the meantime, back to the
swallow, I am thinking that it might be a violet-green swallow (Tachycineta thalassina).
At last, we have one of the most exciting birds that I saw on the route today, the blue grosbeak (Passerina caerulea), a bird that I don't remember ever seeing before!
Robbins, C. S., Bruun, B., & Zim, H. S. (1983). Birds of North America. New York: Golden Press.
Stokes, D. W., & Stokes, L. Q. (2010). The Stokes field guide to the birds of North America. New York: Little, Brown.