Author Archives: naturallyjax

June 24, 2020

On a lunch walk in the Bear Creek Greenbelt, I stopped by a House Wren nest above the pedestrian bridge:

Juvenile House Wren

Dragonflies are now in and around Bear Creek:

Twelve-spotted skimmer

Here’s one of the juveniles at the Red-tailed Hawk nest on Yale:

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk

And here it is flying:

Red-tailed Hawk fledgling

Here’s the other juvenile Red-tailed Hawk:

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk

And here it is flying:

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk fledgling

Mama Red-tailed Hawk was not far from her fledglings:

Adult Red-tailed Hawk female

On the walk home, I saw a Song Sparrow singing in its usual place above the marsh:

Song Sparrow

Also in the marsh young Red-winged Blackbirds were begging for food:

Red-winged Blackbirds

Finally, a Double-crested Cormorant, a regular fixture on the south side of the creek near the pedestrian bridge:

Double-crested Cormorant

 

June 23, 2020

On our early morning walk with the dog in the Bear Creek Greenbelt, my better half and I saw a Yellow Warbler across Bear Creek and a beaver in the pond north of Bear Creek.  It’s a good time to see wildlife, but not so good for taking pictures.

On my walk at lunch, with the sun overhead, I saw a female Common Merganser in Bear Creek:

Common Merganser

Both Red-tailed Hawk juveniles have branched out from their nest on Yale.

Red-tailed Hawk juvenile

The other Red-tailed Hawk juvenile jumping from one branch to another

On my way back home, I saw a Bullock’s Oriole with an insect in its beak.  I also saw Mama Red-tailed Hawk (on the pictures I can see the leg band) being harassed by a Common Grackle.

June 22, 2020

Just after I started walking down into the Bear Creek Greenbelt while on a lunch break, I saw a Red-tailed Hawk flying off with a snake, still twisting.  By the time I got to the Red-tailed Hawk nest, near Yale, one of the nestlings was just finishing off the snake.

Red-tailed Hawk nestling with the last of the snake

Then the nestling spread out its wings, as though it were mantling to hide whatever remained from its sibling, who has branched out.

Red-tailed Hawk nestlings

Neither Red-tailed Hawk parent made its presence known while I was watching the nestlings.  However, as I was walking back toward Bear Creek, mama Red-tailed Hawk appeared in the sky above me and circled a couple of times, silently.

A Virginia Rail (or maybe more than one) has been very vocal for the past few days.  It has–or they have-moved a little east of the reedy marsh where I first saw one weeks ago.  The reeds have grown so thick and tall that it’s impossible to catch a glimpse.  Today I stood probably within just a few feet of the Virginia Rail.  Its call was so loud that it felt like my bones were shaking.

But the only birds I saw at the marsh were dozens of Red-winged Blackbirds and this Song Sparrow:

Song Sparrow

Back at Bear Creek, just east of the pedestrian bridge, I saw a Black-crowned Night Heron:

Black-crowned Night Heron

On my walk I saw three different types of butterflies:  Variegated Fritillaries, Western Tiger Swallowtails, and Cabbage Whites.

Greater Fritillary

 

Western Tiger Swallowtail

 

Cabbage White

Our back yard has a steady stream of avian customers to our feeders and bird bath.  House Finches arrive by the half dozen or dozen.  The loudest bird is the House Wren.  Northern Flickers and Downy Woodpeckers are steady customers.  Less often seen these days are White-breasted Nuthatches and Black-capped Chickadees.  This past weekend a Bullock’s Oriole and a Red-breasted Nuthatch made appearances.  So did a flock of Bushtits.  And European Starlings, Black-billed Magpies, and Blue Jays make splashy appearances, driving off the other songbirds.

June 20, 2020

Early this morning with the temperature around 47 degrees I set off on a mission to find the Hooded Merganser and her five ducklings in the Bear Creek Greenbelt.  Immediately  I was sidetracked by a Black-crowned Night Heron perched above Bear Creek, and then by a Great Blue Heron, flying west along the creek.  At the underpass at Estes, I paused to watch the dozens of swallows flying in and out of their nests:

Barn Swallow at nest

To find the Hoodies, first I checked the small pond east of the pond next to Stone House.  I didn’t see them there, but I did see my first Cedar Waxwing here in Colorado:

Cedar Waxwing

The Hoodies were in the pond by Stone House.  I followed them around the pond for about an hour and a half, through two complete cycles of eating, cleaning, and resting.

Mama Hooded Merganser with crawfish

When the ducklings caught a crawfish, they tended to speed away from their siblings so they could wrestle with their catch in peace.

Hooded Merganser duckling with crawfish

Hooded Merganser duckling with crawfish

Hooded Merganser duckling with crawfish

Nap time for Hooded Merganser ducklings

Mama Hooded Merganser was never far from her ducklings

Portraits of mama Hooded Merganser:

Mama Hooded Merganser

Mama Hooded Merganser

While I was observing the Hoodies, a few different birds dropped by the trees at the edge of the pond.

Black-crowned Night Heron

Barn Swallow

Violet-green Swallow

As this Red-eared Slider found out, birds leave their feathers lying around.

Red-eared Slider

Other birds that I saw near Stone House include a Swainson’s Hawk and dozens of Canada Geese.  The paved trails are littered with their droppings.  Red-winged Blackbirds, European Starlings, and American Robins were out in numbers, but I heard not a single Belted Kingfisher.

On my walk home, I saw a few more birds in and above Bear Creek, including a Mallard and five ducklings working their way upstream, and these birds:

Black-crowned Night Heron above Bear Creek

Gadwalls

When I got back home, it was 63 degrees–and then it proceeded to shoot up another 20 degrees.

June 19, 2020

Early this morning when my better half and I were walking the dog in the Bear Creek Greenbelt, we saw three beavers in the pond north of Bear Creek.  After we got home, we spotted three young coyotes playing in the field behind our back yard.  Here is one:

Coyote

June 18, 2020

This afternoon when my better half and I were walking the dog in the Bear Creek Greenbelt, we spotted these Mallard ducklings dozing on a log:

Mallard ducklings

Here’s a Song Sparrow with nesting material:

Song Sparrow

June 15, 2020

This morning while walking the dog in the Bear Creek Greenbelt we saw a raccoon in a favorite spot:

Raccoon

The water level of Bear Creek was very low.  We saw no ducklings or mammals, just a wary Great Blue Heron.  We walked to the pond north of the creek and found several Mallards, several Mallard ducklings, a beaver, and this Black-crowned Night Heron:

Black-crowned Night Heron

June 14, 2020

This morning as my better half and I were walking the dog in the Bear Creek Greenbelt, we saw a Black-crowned Night Heron that had just caught a trout:

Black-crowned Heron with trout

A struggle ensued:

Black-crowned Night Heron with rainbow trout

It took a few minutes, but the trout went down its throat.

Black-crowned Night Heron with rainbow trout

 

Digesting

A little later in the morning we went mountain biking at Bear Creek Lake Park.  We got a good look at an American Kestrel near the equestrian area–I think it was a young one calling for food.  At the northern boundary of the park, we saw a Swainson’s Hawk soaring overhead, and then we saw two very pale light-morph Red-tailed Hawks.

June 13, 2020

On an early morning jog I spotted the Hooded Merganser and her five ducklings at the second pond east of Estes in the Bear Creek Greenbelt.  The ducklings have grown markedly in the week or so since I’ve seen them!

While walking the dog in the greenbelt, we saw the twelve remaining ducklings from the year’s first brood taking a nap in Bear Creek:

Twelve Mallard ducklings

A beaver crossed the Bear Creek Trail in front of us:

Beaver

June 12, 2020

This morning when we were walking the dog in the Bear Creek Greenbelt, we saw mama Mallard with twelve of her ducklings (part of the original thirteen, the first brood of Mallards on Bear Creek in our little stretch this year).  Here she is with ten of them:

Mallard with ten half-grown ducklings

Later in the morning, a Lazuli Bunting stopped by our back yard again:

Lazuli Bunting

So did a number of House Finches, American Goldfinches, and Lesser Goldfinches.  Here’s one of the Lesser Goldfinches:

Lesser Goldfinch