May 16, 2022

We started the day around dawn in the Bear Creek Greenbelt.  It’s a good time to spot raccoons, or be spotted by them.

Raccoon

Both westside (west of Estes) owlets had branched out to a tree west of the nest tree:

Great Horned Owlets

Mama was keeping watch nearby:

Great Horned Owl

At the end of our walk we saw another mammal:

Muskrat

Then we drove over to the Grand Junction area.  At Rabbit Valley we saw a Rock Wren:

Rock Wren

Wildflowers and cactus were blooming:

Flora

At Colorado National Monument we spotted a Say’s Phoebe along the Alcove Trail:

Say’s Phoebe

May 15, 2022

I finally saw my first ducklings of the year in the Bear Creek Greenbelt. Twenty at once, in fact!

Mallard with ducklings

Manky Mallard is still a fixture, still paired up.

Mallard drake and Manky

One of the westside (West of Estes) owlets has branched out to a different tree:

Grand Horned Owlet

A seldom-seen bird in the greenbelt:

Brown-headed Cowbird

May 14, 2022

Today I joined a Denver Field Ornithologists trip to Chico Basin, led by Karen Strong and Burke Angstman.  A highlight was seeing a Wood Thrush:

Wood Thrush

There was a wide selections of things to see:

Gray Flycatcher

Plumbeous Vireo

MacGillivray’s Warbler

Porcupine

Yellow-rumped Warbler (hybrid)

White-faced Ibis

Killdeer (Spotted Sandpiper in background)

We stopped by Fountain Creek Regional Park on the way back, where we saw a White Ibis . . . and turkies!

Turkey

May 13, 2022

On dawn patrol this morning in the Bear Creek Greenbelt:

Eastside Great Horned Owlets

Mama was keeping watch nearby:

Great Horned Owl

A little later I ventured out again.  

Turtle with hook in its mouth

Red-winged Blackbird (female)

May 12, 2022

Blue-winged Teal are still present in the Bear Creek Greenbelt.

Blue-winged Teal

Blue-winged Teal (male)

Blue-winged Teal (female)

A couple of other conspicuous birds:

Red-winged Blackbird (male)

Double-crested Cormorant

Here are the nestless westside owlets:

Gret Horned Owlets

May 11, 2022

Late this afternoon I went into the Bear Creek Greenbelt to look at the westside (West of Estes) Great Horned Owl nest.  The nest is gone!  Perhaps it broke apart as the owlets got larger.  It had been a Cooper’s Hawk nest last year, so it wasn’t as large as, say, a Red-tailed Hawk nest.  The two owlets are clinging to branches.  Here’s Mama Great Horned Owl with the two owlets:

Great Horned Owls

Another view:

Great Horned Owls

It was very hot (high 80s) and sunny.   At one point, Mama Great Horned Owl flew to a more shaded branch on a nearby tree.  To cool down, she dropped her wings and employed gular fluttering (where she opens her mouth and vibrates her throat tissues to rapidly pump air back and forth in her system, a form of evaporative cooling).

Great Horned Owl

However, an American Crow showed up and harassed her.

Great Horned Owl

Meanwhile, back at the former nest, one of the two owlets found shade the best it could and the other worked on its climbing skills.

Great Horned Owlets

Mama Great Horned Owl eventually flew back to the former nest and perched above the owlets, perhaps to shade them and shield them from the crows.

Great Horned Owls

 

 

May 8, 2022

Today I joined a Denver Field Ornithologists trip to Parker Regional Park, led by John Breitsch.  I saw 45 species of birds, including this White-crowned Sparrow (which is a Mountain subspecies, not a Gambel’s):

White-crowned Sparrow (Mountain)

May 7, 2022

A couple of early morning sights in the Bear Creek Greenbelt:

Owlets at a Great Horned Owl nest (the eastside nest)

Great Horned Owl (Papa)

Great Horned Owl (Mama)

Black-crowned Night Heron

A little later in the morning  . . .

Great Horned Owl (Papa from the westside nest)

Cooper’s Hawk (male)

Black-crowned Night Heron

Still trying to get a decent shot of a Yellow Warbler . . . they’re heard far easier than seen!

Yellow Warbler