Author Archives: naturallyjax

July 7, 2020

This morning my better half and I walked the dog in the Bear Creek Greenbelt, where a beaver was busy at work on the dam:

Beaver

 

Upstream we spotted a female Common Merganser:

Common Merganser

July 6, 2020

After work, when it was very hot and cloudy, I walked down to the Bear Creek Greenbelt.  Even though there weren’t many people out and things seemed quiet, there was wildlife to be seen.  Almost immediately I saw a Cooper’s Hawk fly off to the north.  Much higher, a pair of White Pelicans flew south.  The Double-crested Cormorant was sunning itself by the pedestrian bridge and two Mallard families clambered up the dam to the beaver pool.  Just north of Bear Creek I spotted a Lesser Goldfinch and I heard House Wrens, House Finches, Black-capped Chickadees, Red-winged Blackbirds, a Song Sparrow, juvenile Blue Jays, and a Northern Flicker.  Across the creek I spotted this Gray Catbird, singing beautifully:

Gray Catbird

On my walk home through a grassy field, I saw an American Kestrel perched on a power line.

In my neighborhood, there was a rabbit in nearly every yard.  Having just read about Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease virus type 2, a deadly and contagious disease that has appeared in pockets of the Western U.S., I snapped a couple of pictures.

Young rabbit

Invisibunny

 

July 5, 2020

This morning I walked over to the Red-tailed Hawk nest on Yale.  One of the juveniles was in the tree; its parents and siblings were nowhere to be seen.

Red-tailed Hawk juvenile

Nearby I saw four Killdeer, including this one:

Killdeer

At the pond by Stone House, juvenile Barn Swallows were begging for a meal:

Juvenile Barn Swallows

A Mallard in eclipse:

Male Mallard

Just as the other day, I saw four of the Hooded Merganser ducklings.  A fellow birder and I walked down Bear Creek to Wadsworth and back, but we didn’t see mama Hoodie or the fifth duckling.  Here’s one of the four ducklings sleeping in:

Hooded Merganser duckling

While the fellow birder and I were looking for the other Hooded Mergansers, we spotted this Swainson’s Hawk:

Swainson’s Hawk taking off

Sweet Pea in bloom along the trail

 

West of Estes, I got a better look at a Widow Skimmer beside Bear Creek:

Widow Skimmer

July 4, 2020

This morning I wandered down to the pond by Stone House.  On the way, I spotted this muskrat in Bear Creek west of Estes:

Muskrat

At the pond by Stone House I saw four of the Hooded Merganser ducklings.  Here are two:

Hooded Merganser ducklings

A Black-crowned Night Heron flying overhead:

Black-crowned Night Heron

I had hoped to photograph Barn Swallows feeding young ones.  There were dozens of Barn Swallows perched on a snag next to the pond–all of the adults on the south end of the snag, beautifully lighted, and the juveniles sitting on the north end, facing north.  I decided not to add to my collection of backlit feeding shots.

On my way back home, I spotted a Cooper’s Hawk near the site of a nest close to our house.  After promising activity this spring, the nest has been quiet for a few weeks.  The tell that a Cooper’s Hawk was in the area was not the usual squawking of a Northern Flicker, but the nonstop chatter coming from a Bullock’s Oriole, at the top of a tree:

Bullock’s Oriole

Cooper’s Hawk

A little later in the morning, my better half and I rode our mountain bikes out to Bear Creek Lake Park.  At the crossing by Turkey Creek we saw a mule deer doe, which reminded us we hadn’t seen mule deer for a few weeks.

And speaking of creatures we haven’t been seeing much of lately . . . the last coyote I saw was this past Monday, when I was out jogging early in the Bear Creek Greenbelt.  I saw it in the field between the pond by Stone House and the pond east of that one.  And the last Great Horned Owl I’ve noticed was this past Tuesday, when, again, I was out jogging early in the greenbelt, and I heard it just east of Estes, in the woods south of Bear Creek.

 

July 2, 2020

During an early lunch walk in the Bear Creek Greenbelt at the pond by the Stone House, I saw old favorites–such as three of the Hooded Merganser ducklings–and some new creatures.  First the familiar crew:

Hooded Merganser duckling with crawfish

Hooded Merganser duckling with crawfish

Hooded Merganser duckling

Juvenile Barn Swallows waiting to be fed

Juvenile Barn Swallows waiting to be fed

Double-crested Cormorant

Red-eared Slider

Mallard

Now for new creatures:

American Bullfrog

Two-tailed Swallowtail

Common Green Darners

Widow Skimmer

Blue-eyed Darner

Late this afternoon my better half and I walked the dog over near the Stone House.  We saw two of the Hooded Merganser ducklings, hunting for crawfish in different areas of the pond.  Here’s one:

Hooded Merganser duckling resting

Not far away there was a Black-crowned Night Heron:

Black-crowned Night Heron

We saw a couple of Double-crested Cormorants sunning themselves.  Here’s one:

Double-crested Cormorant

Fewer dragonflies were out, but we saw a couple of these:

Variegated Meadowhawk

July 1, 2020

This morning when my better half and I were walking the dog in the Bear Creek Greenbelt we saw a beaver busy at work packing mud on the dam.  Upstream, this beaver was enjoying a snack:

Beaver

Raccoon and kit in tree:

Raccoons

June 27, 2020

This morning I walked out to the pond by Stone House.  The juvenile Barn Swallows were hungry!

Barn Swallows

Barn Swallows

Just east of beaver dam next to the pedestrian bridge I saw a Black-crowned Night Heron and a beaver:

Black-crowned Night Heron

Beaver working its way upstream

June 26, 2020

During an early lunch walk in the Bear Creek Greenbelt, I saw Yellow Warblers, Gray Catbirds, Black-capped Chickadees, Red-tailed Hawks (mama and one of the juveniles), and this Western Painted Turtle (in the pond north of Bear Creek):

Western Painted Turtle

I saw a dragontail I’d never seen befoe:

Pale Snaketail

And more familiar flying things:

Cabbage Whites

Then I met up with a couple of fellow birders/photographers.  I pointed out this Cooper’s Hawk:

Cooper’s Hawk with prey

They led me to a Broad-tailed Hummingbird’s nest:

Broad-tailed Hummingbird nestlings

June 25, 2020

On our early morning walk with the dog in the Bear Creek Greenbelt, my better half and I watched this beaver enjoy a meal in Bear Creek:

Beaver

Another dragonfly I’d never seen before:

Variegated Meadowhawk

This afternoon after work there was a brief thunderstorm and then the sun came back out.  It looked so nice that my better half and I took another stroll in the Bear Green Greenbelt with the dog, this time to the east.  We found the Hooded Merganser family in the pond next to Stone House.

Mama Hooded Merganser (far right) with four of her five ducklings

The fifth Hooded Merganser duckling with part of a crawfish

Mama Hooded Merganser and duckling

Black-crowned Night Heron

Barn Swallow

Juvenile Barn Swallows