We had our first sub-freezing morning in over a week. On our walk with the dog in the Bear Creek Greenbelt we saw the usuals, including these singletons: one Double-crested Cormorant, one American Robin, one Belted Kingfisher, one Great Blue Heron, one American Crow. The Red-tailed Hawk is sitting on her nest near Yale, and the male is never far away. There are still a few Gadwalls in the pond that never freezes. A pair of Hooded Mergansers were swimming just east of the footbridge. Several Song Sparrows were singing loudly, and a couple more were foraging at the edge of Bear Creek. We saw two Dark-eyed Juncos, the Gray-headed subspecies, which, according to Ted Floyd’s Field Guide to Birds of Colorado, is the only subspecies (of the six that occur here in winter) that breeds here in summer.
Red-winged Blackbirds are both ubiquitous and loud.
After lunch we rode our mountain bikes to Bear Creek Lake Park. The areas that burned are now green with grass. On the way back home, my better half spotted a pair of Blue-winged Teals in the beaver pond by the footbridge. When we took the dog for a walk later this afternoon, we found the teals again:
This morning my better half and I took the dog for a walk east of Estes in the Bear Creek Greenbelt to see if we could find the Great Horned Owl. We did:
Great Horned Owl
Downy Woodpeckers having words:
American Goldfinches nibbling on buds:
In the mid-afternoon, I saw an immature Red-tailed Hawk perched in a tree in our back yard. A Black-billed Magpie was harassing it.
On a walk around the lunch hour in the Bear Creek Greenbelt I saw eight Hooded Mergansers–two females in the beaver dam by the footbridge west of Estes, a pair just west of Estes, a pair a bit east of Estes, and two females near the old beaver dam area east of Estes.
Here’s one of the females near the footbridge west of Estes:
Here’s the female of the pair just west of Estes about to have a crawfish dinner:
Here she is again, with her “duck with the hairdo” look:
I also saw three Cinnamon Teals (two males and one female), a pair of Mallards, and a pair of Wood Ducks with the pair of Hooded Mergansers just west of Estes.
Here’s the pair of Wood Ducks:
A closer look at the female:
Wood Duck (female)
One of the male Cinnamon Teals:
The female Cinnamon Teal:
Early this morning in the Bear Creek Greenbelt I saw an immature Cooper’s Hawk being harassed by several Black-billed Magpies:
Cooper’s Hawk (immature) flanked by Black-billed Magpies
Not far from the new nest, a birding friend and I witnessed a cloacal kiss exchanged by a pair of Cooper’s Hawks. Here they are immediately afterward:
Cooper’s Hawks (female on left, male on right)
As I was heading back home, I saw a lone male Cinnamon Teal in the beaver pond. A little while later, my better half saw a Double-crested Cormorant drying its wings on a log above the beaver pond.
In the afternoon I went out for another walk. The Cinnamon Teal was still in the beaver pond:
A storm brewed up and, along with a drenched mountain biker (visiting from Minnesota), I ended up at the picnic shelter near Stone House. My better half kindly picked us up in the van. We drove the mountain biker and his bike back to his friend’s house a few miles away.
After work my better half and I walked the dog in the Bear Creek Greenbelt. I thought maybe we’d see one of the adult Cooper’s Hawks, but instead we saw an immature Coop’s not far from the new nest:
Near the footbridge there were three female Hooded Mergansers and a lone Wood Duck.
The manky mallard (dark brown female with white bib) is still present in Bear Creek, and from afar we watched the male Red-tailed Hawk alight on the nest at Yale where the female has been sitting.
This morning my better half and I walked in the Bear Creek Greenbelt east of Estes, where we found the Great Horned Owl snoozing high in a tree:
Great Horned Owl
My better half also spotted a pair of Wood Ducks high in the trees:
Wood Duck (female)
Wood Duck (male)
A little later in the morning I took another walk in the greenbelt, in my usual patch between Estes and Old Kipling, with a friend of mine who lives in Morrison. I spotted the female Cooper’s Hawk at the new nest:
My friend spotted the male nearby:
Just east of the footbridge we saw a pair of Hooded Mergansers. West of the footbridge we saw a pair of Wood Ducks and a lone female Hooded Merganser. We also saw five Turkey Vultures soaring overhead together, and a couple of Red-tailed Hawks soaring in the distance.Back at home in the afternoon my better half and I saw a Dark-eyed Junco, along with the usual Bushtits, House Finches, Downy Woodpeckers, Northern Flickers, and Black-capped Chickadees. It won’t be long before the juncos are all gone until the fall.
On our morning walk in the Bear Creek Greenbelt we saw the three Cinnamon Teals in Bear Creek just west of Old Kipling:
Several Song Sparrows were singing, including this one:
A Cooper’s Hawk near the new nest:
A Red-tailed Hawk was sitting on the nest near Yale and the male was nearby.
Late this afternoon I saw the first-of-year (FOY) Common Grackle in our back yard.
On a lunchtime walk in the Bear Creek Greenbelt, I saw a Cooper’s Hawk working on the new nest. Then it flew across the creek and began calling incessantly–the sound a squeeze toy might make with a croaky voice.
I also saw a Belted Kingfisher, whose mocking laugh I’ve missed for the past couple of weeks:
And for the first time this year, I saw a Double-crested Cormorant return to my patch in the greenbelt:
Double-crested Cormorant right after splashdown
After work my better half and I took a walk in the greenbelt. We spotted this male Cooper’s Hawk at the same time:
We also spotted a Cooper’s Hawk (female) near the new nest:
Finally, as I was getting ready to photograph three Cinnamon Teals just west of the footbridge, my better half urgently motioned me over to the south bank of Bear Creek. It was a wandering garter snake!
Wandering garter snake
On a lunchtime walk in the Bear Creek Greenbelt I spotted an immature Red-tailed Hawk:
I also watched the Common Goldeneye x Hooded Merganser hybrid eat a crawfish:
Common Goldeneye x Hooded Merganser hybrid with crawfish
The hybrid was in the company of a pair of Hooded Mergansers. After work I saw the hybrid again and watched it eat another crawfish. This time it was in the company of three Cinnamon Teals.
Tight on time, I zipped in and out of the Bear Creek Greenbelt after work. I saw one male Cinnamon Teal. And since love is in the air (or, actually, the water), I saw a pair of Hooded Mergansers exchange a cloacal kiss. Here’s the male afterward: