Just before the dawn I began a walk in the Bear Creek Greenbelt. The female Common Goldeneye is still hanging out, by herself, in Bear Creek.
I heard both immature and adult White-crowned Sparrows sing. Here’s the latter:
White-crowned Sparrow singing
Then I joined a Denver Field Ornithologists trip, led by Karen Drozda, to Bluff Lake Nature Center. It was a pretty place, a compact place. More White-crowned Sparrows.
Bluff Lake featured two Great Blue Herons perched along the south edge. Here’s one:
Great Blue Heron
Just after the dawn I took a walk in the Bear Creek Greenbelt. I saw my first Common Goldeneye of the season in the greenbelt:
I heard American Crows taking great exception to something. I follow their cries, splashed across the creek, and found the reason for their distress:
Great Horned Owl
At the pond that never freezes I found two female Hooded Mergansers. Here’s one:
Then I joined a Denver Field Ornithologists trip, led by Karen Drozda, to Fairmount Cemetery. It was cool, in the mid 30s, and a tiny bit of snow fell. The cemetery was large and lovely, with gorgeous trees. We saw several Townsend’s Solitaires, but the light did not permit good shots. In fact, the only semi-good shot I got was of an immature White-crowned Sparrow:
In the hour before sunset (at 4:40 p.m., mind you), I took another walk in the Bear Creek Greenbelt. I did not see a single other person the entire time.I did, however, spot the resident, banded Red-tailed Hawk:
She flew to her favorite perch:
At the tiny pond at the corner of Estes and Yale, which was still mostly frozen over, I was surprised to see a beaver. I’ve never seen one there before . . . and it’s such a small pond.
From the back deck after work I spotted the Bear Creek Greenbelt’s resident, banded Red-tailed Hawk:
Red-tailed Hawk (female)
Then I joined a friend for a walk in the greenbelt east of Estes. The pond by Stone House, still frozen, sported a few dozen Canada Geese and Cackling Geese.
We saw the usual raptors: American Kestrel, Red-tailed Hawk, and Cooper’s Hawk. Here are shots of the first two:
Song Sparrows were feeding on the trail that runs by Yale Avenue. Here’s a leucistic individual:
Just like yesterday, today I saw White-crowned Sparrows during a walk in the Bear Creek Greenbelt. Here’s an adult individual:
But I also saw Manky Mallard:
Manky Mallard on left, drake on right
Plus I caught sight of a Ruby-crowned Kinglet:
And for the first time, I saw an American Pipit in the greenbelt:
On a walk in the Bear Creek Greenbelt this morning I saw White-crowned Sparrows, both immatures and adults.
White-crowned Sparrow (immature)
White-crowned Sparrow (adult)
At lunch time, I walked around the pond, now almost completely frozen over, at Stone House in the Bear Creek Greenbelt. Twenty or so Northern Shovelers bobbed in the bit of open water. To the east, along the trail near Yale Avenue Song Sparrows were scrounging for a meal in patches of dirt not covered by snow.
After work I took another walk in the greenbelt, catching the last of the sun before it set. Our resident, banded female Red-tailed Hawk was perched, as usual, on the speaker.
The snow over the past couple of days has cleared the pond that never freezes of the scum that had coated the surface for weeks. A few dozen Mallards were actively feeding, as was this pair of American Wigeons (first time I’ve seen them this season in the greenbelt).
American Wigeon (female)
American Wigeon (male)
This afternoon after work I showed a friend the Stone House area in the Bear Creek Greenbelt. Unlike the past few days, there were relatively few birds on the pond, just a handful of Hooded Mergansers, a dozen or so Canada Geese and Cackling Geese, maybe a couple of dozen Northern Shovelers, and just one pair of Mallards.
We walked along the north trail near Yale and saw a few Houses Finches, a couple of Black-capped Chickadees, a Song Sparrow, and an American Tree Sparrow.
Nearby this accipiter was keeping an eye on things:
Cooper’s Hawk (immature)
This morning I joined a Denver Field Ornithologists field trip, led by David Suddjian, to Cherry Creek State Park. Besides a Sedge Wren calling, three highlights were Bonaparte’s Gulls, a couple of Commons Loons, and a Harris’s Sparrow.
Three Bonaparte’s Gulls in front of a line of Ring-billed Gulls
Young Harris’s Sparrow
In the afternoon I went to Bear Creek Lake Park, where I saw a couple more Harris’s Sparrows.
I saw six Western Grebes at the reservoir, and another three at the Big Soda Lakes, where there were also a number of Common Goldeneyes, plus a Pie-billed Grebe, Hooded Mergansers, Northern Shovelers, and Mallards. There was a smattering of raptors, including a Northern Harrier, a Red-tailed Hawk, and an American Kestrel.
Seen late this afternoon at Bear Creek Lake Park:
Great Horned Owl
This morning I ambled around the Bear Creek Greenbelt–west of Estes–for a couple of hours. I searched Bear Creek for American Dippers but found none. Some sights:
Northern Flicker looking for a meal
I spotted a Hairy Woodpecker again–now the third time I’ve seen one in the greenbelt (the second time was a week ago). All three times I’ve seen one it’s been high in the canopy, higher than Downy Woodpeckers. So that makes me wonder whether they’ve been in the greenbelt all along (and I’ve just missed seeing them), or whether, maybe, this year they’re establishing territory in the greenbelt.
Hairy Woodpecker (compare its bill to that of a Downy Woodpecker)