The tree we saw yesterday has been felled:
This morning on our early morning walk in the Bear Creek Greenbelt with the dog, we saw a beaver busy at work on the dam by the pedestrian bridge. Across the Bear Creek Trail, we inspected other evidence of the beaver’s, or beavers’, recent handiwork:
Upstream a muskrat swam by with a snack:
In the pond north of Bear Creek we saw two American Bullfrogs, bellowing away. They are not native to Colorado, and in places like Boulder local authorities are trying to reduce their numbers, partly due to the threat they pose to threatened wildlife such as Preble’s meadow jumping mouse and northern leopard frog.
Above the pond we saw a Belted Kingfisher, being exasperating as usual by not allowing any approach. I walked down to the pond by Stone House and saw several other Belted Kingfishers. I did not see any of the Hooded Merganser ducklings, though swallows were numerous.
On the way back home, I spotted this American rubyspot damselfly along the creek:
Birds in our back yard this afternoon:
We got word that a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk was seen yesterday near the nest just east of Old Kipling in the Bear Creek Greenbelt. My better half and I headed that way this morning on the Bear Creek Trail, just in time to see a Cooper’s Hawk fly from the old nest area to the new nest area. And then stillness. So we headed to the dead bramble to see what birds might grace us with their presence. As we approached, a Lesser Goldfinch took off from a top branch. And then stillness again.
We walked east. High in a tree a bird was singing sweetly, while doing its best to look invisible among the green leaves:
And from the pond we heard the deep calls of an American Bullfrog. Here it is:
This morning I walked by the pond next to Stone House in the Bear Creek Greenbelt. I saw two of the Hooded Merganser ducklings:
This morning my better half and I hiked up to Sky Pond at Rocky Mountain National Park. The Glacier Gorge parking lot was full, so we parked at Bear Lake, adding another mile to the nine-mile route. At Sky Pond we saw four different types of mammals (from largest to smallest):
The views were gorgeous.
Just after we carefully picked our way down TImberline Falls, we spotted two Brown-capped Rosy Finches feeding at the edge of a snow field. Here’s one:
Other birds we saw include a Hairy Woodpecker, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, a White-crowned Sparrow, American Robins, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Black-billed Magpies, and Dark-eyed Juncos. I also heard a Red-breasted Nuthatch, chickadees, and hummingbirds.
Golden-mantled ground squirrels were plentiful:
This morning on a pre-dawn jog through the Bear Creek Greenbelt, I saw several bats flying above the paved Bear Creek Trail on a stretch lined with trees between Estes and Wadsworth. And near the midpoint between those two roads, on the bare branches of a fallen tree by a lone standing tree on the south side of the trail I saw three Great Horned Owls perched. They were likely some combination of the adults and juveniles I used to see near the Wadsworth nest this past spring.
At the south end of the pond by Stone House I spotted three of the Hooded Merganser ducklings, as well as a few dozen Canada Geese.
Finally, at the prominent snag in Bear Creek some distance west of Estes, I saw a Black-crowned Night Heron perched.
Everywhere I heard the songs of House Wrens and, less frequently, Song Sparrows. I also saw rabbits and American Robins throughout the greenbelt.
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:
Upstream we spotted a female Common Merganser:
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:
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.
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.
Nearby I saw four Killdeer, including this one:
At the pond by Stone House, juvenile Barn Swallows were begging for a meal:
A Mallard in eclipse:
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:
While the fellow birder and I were looking for the other Hooded Mergansers, we spotted this Swainson’s Hawk:
West of Estes, I got a better look at a Widow Skimmer beside Bear Creek:
This morning I wandered down to the pond by Stone House. On the way, I spotted this muskrat in Bear Creek west of Estes:
At the pond by Stone House I saw four of the Hooded Merganser ducklings. Here are two:
A Black-crowned Night Heron flying overhead:
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:
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.