June 28, 2022

This morning on our early morning walk with the dog in the Bear Creek Greenbelt we caught a raccoon snoozing high in a tree.

Raccoon

The bigger news today is that later in the morning I watched four House Wrens fledge from the nest box in our back yard.

When I first sat down to watch, I hear both adults making chatter noise for about ten minutes in trees several feet from the nest box.  The nestlings were silent.  Just as I was beginning to wonder whether the adult House Wrens had had enough of delivering food to the nest box, they began plying the nestlings with food.  Every few minutes an adult either delivered food or did light housekeeping at the nest.

House Wren with prey

House Wren with prey

House Wren with prey

A pause to remove a fecal sac:

House Wren with fecal sac

House Wren bearing away fecal sac

House Wren feeding nestling

A quick dive inside to remove a fecal sac

House Wren with fecal sac

House Wren feeding prey to nestling

House Wren with prey

House Wren feeding nestling

House Wren with prey

At one point during the feeding frenzy, three Blue Jays alighted on a tree and began yelling their heads off.  I looked around the yard and spotted a Cooper’s Hawk on the fence.  It took off.  The Blue Jays flew off.  And then the feeding frenzy stopped.

The adults would alight on top of the box, without food, stay a few seconds, and then fly off.

Adult House Wren without food on top of the nest box

“What happened to the gravy train?”

Nestling considering making the leap

Landing!

The first one fluttered down the shrub below the box and quickly disappeared inside it.  Two American Crows showed up across the yard.  I have noticed that crows have been hanging around my yard for the last week or so–they’re not usual visitors.  In a couple of minutes, they flew off toward a neighbor’s yard.

An adult landed on the nest box, again without food.

House Wren adult, with nestling contemplating the situation

Two nestlings considering the options

One decides to get out of dodge

But it quickly reconsiders and clambers back inside the box

The braver one works up its nerve

Touchdown as the other one watches

A split second before fluttering down into the shrub

The third one swiftly follows

The fourth nestling flew straight out of the box into a pine tree a few feet away, and then flew-fluttered into the shrub.  It was so fast that I didn’t get a picture.

A short while later, an adult alighted on the pine tree with prey.  It delivered the caterpillar to the nestlings within the shrub.

House Wren with prey

All quiet at the nest box:

Nest box

 

June 26, 2022

This morning I went on a DFO field trip, led by Karen Drozda, to Genesee Park.  The weather forecast not looking favorable, half the participants bowed out.  That left six of us stalwarts, including Karen, to enjoy a cool, cloudy morning (though not rainy!) with lots of birds in a beautiful place with lots of ponderosa pines and Douglas firs.

One highlight was seeing dozens of Pine Siskins, many immature, feeding along a hillside and perching with feet of us.

Pine Siskin

Pine Siskin feeding on the buds of a mountain maple

Pine Siskin feeding on the buds of a mountain maple

Many birds were looking for (and finding) meals:

Chipping Sparrow

Green-tailed Towhee

Western Tanager

Lesser Goldfinch

Some birds were having food delivered to them:

Plumbeous Vireo just after feeding nestlings

Some birds were just sitting, looking pretty:

Western Bluebird

Here’s a young mule deer buck:

Mule deer

June 24, 2022

On an early morning walk in the Bear Creek Greenbelt with my better half and the dog, I heard an unfamiliar bird song.  Eventually, with the help of my better half, I tracked down the bird, a first for me in the greenbelt:

Blue Grosbeak

We also saw one of the adult Cooper’s Hawks:

Cooper’s Hawk

Back at home, the House Wrens are staying busy:

House Wren with prey

House Wren feeding a nestling

House Wren with prey

House Wren flying away with fecal sac

House Wren with prey

House Wren with prey

House Wren with prey

June 23, 2022

This morning on an early morning walk with my better half and the dog in the Bear Creek Greenbelt we saw a Cooper’s Hawk, presumably mama, feeding two nestlings at the nest.

Cooper’s Hawk with two nestlings

A little later I went to Bear Creek Lake Park to see if I could find the Dickcissels that have been reported there recently.  Affirmative!  I heard three and had good looks at two.

Dickcissel

Dickcissel

June 22, 2022

House Wrens are again nesting in a box in our back yard.  When I peeked in the other day, I saw at least three nestlings.  This morning I watched two adults go back and forth with prey for the young ones.

House Wren with prey

House Wren with prey

House Wren with prey

Singing break

House Wren with prey

House Wren with prey

June 20, 2022

This morning I joined a Denver Field Ornithologists field trip, led by David Suddjian, to Clear Creek County.  There, at the privately owned Singing Ranch, we saw a variety of birds:

American Dipper

Red-naped Sapsucker

Black-headed Grosbeak

Cordilleran Flycatcher

June 17, 2022

First photograph of this year’s Cooper’s Hawk family in the nest in the Bear Creek Greenbelt (between Estes and Kipling St.):

Cooper’s Hawk (two eyases, or chicks, are sitting in the shade of mama’s tail)

After work, my better half and I walked the dog in the greenbelt.  We looked in on the Cooper’s Hawks:

Cooper’s Hawk with chicks

Cooper’s Hawk with chick

A little later, my better half spotted a White-breasted Nuthatch:

White-breasted Nuthatch

June 16, 2022

These days in the Bear Creek Greenbelt there is new life everywhere.  There are coyote pups, prairie dog pups, and raccoon kits.  Baby birds abound:  Black-capped Chickadees, Common Grackles, Black-billed Magpies, House Finches, and many more.  Ducklings, from the very tiny to the half grown, are everywhere.

Mallard and ducklings

Up high, a Cooper’s Hawk has fanned her tail to give shade to her chicks:

Cooper’s Hawk on nest

There are singers in the high canopy, including Warbling Vireos, Common Yellowthroats, and Yellow Warblers:

Yellow Warbler

Much lower, a Black-crowned Night Heron perches above the creek.

Black-crowned Night Heron

June 14, 2022

On dawn patrol this morning in the Bear Creek Greenbelt to look for the “eastside” (East of Estes) Great Horned Owl family . . . but was denied.  I heard the usuals–American Robins, House Wrens, and Yellow Warblers–but no soft calls by the adult owls or more insistent cries by the owlets.  After about 20 minutes, an adult owl flew in, pursued by a Common Grackle, and landed where papa usually perches.

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl

The owl stayed a couple of minutes, then flew off west down the creek and then banked south.  I searched the trees on the south side of Bear Creek, but couldn’t find it again.