July 26, 2020

Perhaps because of yesterday’s rain, the water level was a little higher than usual in Bear Creek.  A Black-crowned Night Heron made an appearance:

Black-crowned Night Heron

All four of the juvenile Cooper’s Hawks were out this morning.  Here’s one:

Juvenile Cooper’s Hawks

An adult, perhaps male, stayed perched in this tree for quite a while.

Adult Cooper’s Hawk

Closer to Yale, a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk was calling loudly for breakfast.

Back at Bear Creek, I saw an adult duck with four ducklings.  In size and appearance they looked like the family I saw the other day with seven ducklings.  The adult looked like a Mallard, but the ducklings, much darker than the earlier broods this year, looked more like Gadwall ducklings to me.  And, oddly for what’s sure to be a dabbling duck, one of the ducklings dived repeatedly and came up with a crawfish.  Here it is:

Duckling with crawfish

The consensus seems to be that these are all in fact Mallards . . . even though Gadwalls are known to raise young later in the season, after Mallards, and even though at least one pair of Gadwalls has been present in this stretch of Bear Creek this year.

Later in the morning as my better half and I rode past Bear Creek we spotted seven dark ducklings.  Now I’m unsure how many broods are currently in Bear Creek, or I don’t know whether there are any Gadwalls, but I’ll keep an eye out and my camera handy.