This morning was very mild, and much of the ice was gone from Bear Creek. Other than Hooded Mergansers, no migratory birds were present.
We received about an inch of snow overnight. The temperature was 8 degrees this morning and it shaped up to be a brilliantly sunny day with the highs getting close to freezing.
As usual, Bear Creek is teeming with Mallards. We also saw a few Common Goldeneyes, Hooded Mergansers, and muskrats.
At one point, a Hooded Merganser pair were heading downstream, the male ahead, and another male Hooded Merganser was heading upstream. The lone male raised its hood and extended its neck. The other male lowered its hood and seemed to flatten itself as much as it could:
This morning I walked about eleven miles at Waterton Canyon. Although it’s famous for its bighorn sheep, the only non-human mammal I saw was a mule deer, which didn’t exactly pose for me:
Luckily, the birds were much more obliging. I saw several Black-capped Chickadees, several Common Goldeneyes, a pair of Hooded Mergansers, one Common Merganser, one Red-tailed Hawk soaring overhead, a few Dark-eyed Juncos, Magpies, and Robins, one Belted Kingfisher (female), and a couple of Townsend’s Solitaires (I heard several more).
Several fly fishermen were out on the river. Just after I passed one, I saw something brown moving energetically in the water. Fish? Some kind of aquatic rodent? It hauled itself up onto a rock: an American Dipper, the first one I’ve spotted!
Just a few minutes later, a Townsend’s Solitaire flew down from a treetop and alighted on a large rock on at the river’s edge. It stayed a couple of minutes, looking all around, then flew down into a protected pool to drink water.
This morning we walked in the snow along the south side of Bear Creek. It was 23 degrees at the outset, with bright sun. We saw the usual dozens of Mallards, a number of Canada Geese, several Ring-necked ducks, several Hooded Mergansers, a Bufflehead pair, and a female Common Goldeneye.
A couple of couples in the Bear Creek Greenbelt this afternoon:
In the Bear Creek Greenbelt on this sunny but cold (just under freezing) afternoon, we saw some of our visiting waterfowl, including Hooded Mergansers, Ring-necked Decks, American Wigeons, and a Common Goldeneye. And we saw some regulars, including Canada Geese, Mallards (plus a Manky Mallard, brown with a white bib), Gadwalls, muskrats, a Belted Kingfisher, and a Great Blue Heron.
Since Sunday we’ve seen American Wigeons and Ring-necked Ducks in Bear Creek, mixing with the Canada Geese, Mallards, Gadwalls, Hooded Mergansers, Bufflehead pair, and lone female Common Goldeneye. Last night it snowed again (3-4 inches) but the sun was out brilliantly today:
This morning my better half and I went snowshoeing for a couple of hours in the Bear Creek Greenbelt. The temperature was 16 degrees at the start, 30 degrees at the finish, with plentiful sun.
In the afternoon I went back out into the greenbelt alone. The temperature had climbed into the 40s, and it was brilliantly sunny. The snow had disappeared from the trees.
Gadwall courtship behavior:
It snowed overnight, and we woke up to the world blanketed in several inches of snow. Then it snowed all day. There was a steady stream of avian customers at the feeders and bird bath today. At one point, a Cooper’s Hawk showed up and scared everything away. I saw all of the regulars: Dark-eyed Juncos, Black-capped Chickadees, White-breasted Nuthatches, House Finches, Downy Woodpeckers, Northern Flickers, Magpies, Blue Jays, European Starlings, Red-winged Blackbirds.