Monthly Archives: March 2020

March 30, 2020

Near the Stone House in the Bear Creek Greenbelt, here’s a House Finch with its beak full of nesting material:

House Finch

The Western Bluebirds have all disappeared for the foothills and beyond.  There’s still a Hooded Merganser pair in the pond by the Stone House, and a Bufflehead pair in Bear Creek east of Estes and west of Kipling.

In the late afternoon, I went back into the greenbelt to try to find a Great Horned Owl’s nest I’d heard about at the boundary near Wadsworth.  Look close:

Great Horned Owl

As the light was fading, a Great Blue Heron flew in:

Great Blue Heron

 

March 29, 2020

This afternoon as my better half and I were walking the dog in the Bear Creek Greenbelt, we saw a Red-tailed Hawk flying with nesting material:

Red-tailed Hawk with nesting material

We saw that mama Red-tailed Hawk is still on her nest along the northwestern boundary of the greenbelt:

Red-tailed Hawk on nest

My better half and the dog headed home; I walked over to the pond by the Stone House.  I saw Mallards, Canada Geese, Gadwalls, a pair of Hooded Mergansers, a female Common Goldeneye, and two Double-crested Cormorants.  Notably, I neither saw nor heard a Belted Kingfisher.

Double-crested Cormorant

Double-crested Cormorant swimming

Common Goldeneye (female)

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention all the American Robins.  They’re often on the ground, solitary, still, allowing close approach, like this one:

American Robin

March 28, 2020

It snowed last night, and this morning the ground was blanketed with about three inches of snow.  Here’s the wildlife at Rocky Mountain Arsenal this morning just after dawn:

Bison

Bison

Bison cutting up

A view west from Rocky Mountain Arsenal

Another view west

Western Meadowlark

Western Meadowlark

Mule deer

By the afternoon, nearly all of the snow had melted.  When we walked the dog in the Bear Creek Greenbelt, we saw four Double-crested Cormorants in the pond by the Stone House.  Here’s one:

Double-crested Cormorant

March 25, 2020

At lunch today I saw the Double-crested Cormorant again:

Double-crested Cormorant

Double-crested Cormorant

Later in the afternoon, when my better half and I were walking the dog, we saw the Bufflehead pair again, and several muskrats.

Muskrat

 

March 24, 2020

For the past three days I’ve seen a Bufflehead pair in Bear Creek, but photographing the pair has proved challenging.  They are some of the most wary birds I’ve come across.  Here’s the best shot:

Buffleheads (female is stretching her wings)

Virginia Rails, however, take the prize for being the most wary birds.  I heard one in the reedy marsh in the greenbelt today.  I stood probably within twelve feet of it, but never caught a glimpse.

Western Bluebirds are far more conspicuous.  Here’s one that has just nabbed a grasshopper:

Western Bluebird

My better half and I have been watching a pair of Red-tailed Hawks who seemed to be nesting along the Yale Avenue edge of the Bear Creek Greenbelt.  Today I caught one on the nest:

Red-tailed Hawk

Here’s the pair on a limb of the tree that holds the nest (notice the one on the right is banded):

Red-tailed Hawks

Practicing social distancing?

Red-tailed Hawks

March 22, 2020

This morning as my better half and I were walking the dog in the Bear Creek Greenbelt, we saw a pair of Wood Ducks.  They were standing on a tree limb a few feet above Bear Creek.  Then they flew down, and climbed up on the bank, where they mixed with a few Mallards.  Here’s the male:

Wood Duck

Pair of Wood Ducks

Here’s another duck out of water:

Mallard

In the afternoon I went back into the greenbelt alone and watched this Double-crested Cormorant come up with a fish:

Double-crested Cormorant

March 21, 2020

The day dawned sunny and brisk, with the temperature below 20 degrees.  A couple of hours later, with the temperature nudging freezing, we took the dog for a walk in the greenbelt.  It was spectacularly beautiful, with deep blue skies and snow still clinging to the trees.  Yet we saw only a handful of people on our hour’s walk.  We saw far more bird life, including Canada Geese, Mallards, a pair of American Wigeons, Northern Flickers, Black-capped Chickadees, Dark-eyed Juncos, Magpies, European Starlings, Red-winged Blackbirds, a Belted Kingfisher, and a Red-tailed Hawk (see below).  My better half heard the Virginia Rail for the first time.  At one point, it was directly in front of us, hidden in snow-covered reeds, and we still couldn’t see it.

Red-tailed Hawk

The same Red-tailed Hawk in flight a few moments later

In the afternoon, we took the dog for another walk in the greenbelt.  The temperature had climbed into the high 40s.  We saw Western Bluebirds.  Spring is officially here!

Western Bluebird

Western Bluebird

We watched them taking worms from a field, where an American Robin was already patrolling the ground.  And then we saw an American Kestrel alight nearby:

American Kestrel

Meanwhile, in waterfowl, we saw Mallards, Canada Geese, Gadwalls, and a pair of American Wigeons.  Here’s the male:

American Wigeon

March 20, 2020

Yesterday we got a few inches of snow.  Today was cold, with flurries in the afternoon.  Just after I shot the picture below, I watched the Belted Kingfisher get run off by a Red-winged Blackbird:

Belted Kingfisher