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:
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:
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.
When the ducklings caught a crawfish, they tended to speed away from their siblings so they could wrestle with their catch in peace.
Portraits of mama Hooded Merganser:
While I was observing the Hoodies, a few different birds dropped by the trees at the edge of the pond.
As this Red-eared Slider found out, birds leave their feathers lying around.
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:
When I got back home, it was 63 degrees–and then it proceeded to shoot up another 20 degrees.