July 23, 2020

Early this morning as my better half and I were just entering the Bear Creek Greenbelt with the dog, we saw four mule deer bucks.  Yesterday on an afternoon bike ride we’d seen three mule deer bucks beside Bear Creek just east of Old Kipling.

This morning after my better half and dog turned to return home, I continued walking for another couple of hours.  I walked down to the pond by Stone House.  There were lots of swallows, a few Mallards, a few Canada Geese, and a couple of hummingbirds buzzing around, but no Hooded Mergansers.  I watched a Belted Kingfisher do some acrobatics above the pond.  I walked down Bear Creek all the way to Wadsworth, but didn’t see any Hoodies.  I did catch a quick glimpse of another Belted Kingfisher:

Belted Kingfisher

When I crossed the pedestrian bridge just west of Wadsworth, I saw a small muskrat swimming in the creek.  At the prairie dog field I spotted a male American Kestrel.

I walked back west along the Bear Creek Trail.  Along the edge of Bear Creek, I saw several American rubyspot damselflies, including this one:

American rubyspot damselfly

I also saw an adult female Mallard with three half-grown ducklings working their way upstream.  Duckling season is almost over . . . or so I thought.

I arrived at the nesting area of the Cooper’s Hawks in time to see an adult bring in prey for four juveniles, all of them in the dead bramble.

Adult Cooper’s Hawk with prey surrounded by juveniles

Here’s one of the juveniles moving in on the prey:

Juvenile Cooper’s Hawk very interested in the prey that the adult brought in

The adult flew off, and the prey dropped down into the bramble.  The enterprising juvenile scrambled down to retrieve it:

Juvenile Cooper’s Hawk retrieving prey

It then flew off, with the prey, toward the stand of trees where the nest is.  Two of its siblings followed:

Two juvenile Cooper’s Hawks following their sibling with prey

One juvenile stayed behind and called for another meal delivery:

One hungry juvenile Cooper’s Hawk

One of the juveniles enjoying the meal in the shade of the stand of trees:

Juvenile Cooper’s Hawk with prey

As I was heading back home, crossing Bear Creek for the last time, I was surprised to see–this late in the season–a duck with seven ducklings.  The adult looks like a Mallard, but the ducklings put me in mind of Gadwalls rather than Mallards.

Adult duck with six of the ducklings

And, to my surprise once again, the seventh duckling was enjoying a crawfish meal:

Duckling with crawfish

The last look back at Bear Creek before returning home:

Double-crested Cormorant