November 29, 2020

This morning was cloudy, with temperatures in the 20s.  The highlight on our walk in the Bear Creek Greenbelt was catching sight of an American dipper–the first one we’ve seen in Bear Creek–and watching it plunge its head in the water in search of food, like this:

American dipper

American dipper

We watched it submerge its body, float downstream a few feet, hop up on to a rock, and bob up and down . . . repeatedly.

American dipper

In the afternoon, the temperature now in the 30s and sunny, we returned to the greenbelt.  The American dipper was still there:

American dipper

November 27, 2020

A dusting of snow fell last night.  Like yesterday, today dawned cold (in the 20s) and bright.  On our walk in the Bear Creek Greenbelt, we saw a couple of Cooper’s hawks, an adult and an immature individual, separately.  A red-tailed hawk was perched on the loudspeaker, as usual.  When we arrived at the pond north of Bear Creek, there were five gadwalls and four mallards (and one uncooperative belted kingfisher, who didn’t stay long).  Then another two dozen mallards flew in, followed by a few stragglers.  By far the birdiest place was an area by the creek east of the bridge.  I counted 18 American goldfinches, at least a couple of dozen of American robins, a couple of northern flickers, a few song sparrows, and a few dark-eyed juncos.

American goldfinches

Near the beaver lodge west of the bridge, we saw three muskrats, including this one:

Muskrat

November 26, 2020

On this Thanksgiving Day the morning was clear and cold, with the temperature in the 20s.  We took the dog for a long walk in the Bear Creek Greenbelt.  We saw dozens of American robins, several of a number of species, including northern flickers, European starlings, dark-eyed juncos, black-capped chickadees, song sparrows, and house finches.  We also saw a common raven, and black-billed magpies, picking at the remains of a raccoon.

At the pond by Stone House we saw dozens of Canada geese, and a good number of mallards and northern shovelers, afloat in parts of the pond that weren’t frozen over.

Above Bear Creek we spotted a belted kingfisher:

Belted kingfisher

We also saw several muskrats perched on logs in Bear Creek, including this one:

Muskrat (“My, what yellow teeth you have!”)

Just before the noon hour (the temperature now in the 30s) I spotted a hairy woodpecker in our back yard–the first one I’ve ever seen there.  We get downy woodpeckers and northern flickers on a daily basis, but not this species.

Hairy woodpecker

Just after the noon hour I spotted these two prairie dogs in the field behind our back yard:

Prairie dogs

When we walked off our Thanksgiving meal, birdlife was scarcely to be seen in the greenbelt, although we did see a hermit thrush, which is rare for these parts at this time of year:

Hermit thrush

Muskrats, however, are everywhere:

Muskrat

 

November 25, 2020

Mid-morning the temperature was in the 20s but it was brilliantly sunny.  I looked for the female Green-winged Teal (trailing a pair of Mallards) that we saw on a pre-dawn walk this morning in the Bear Creek Greenbelt, but couldn’t find it.

Muskrats

Red-tailed Hawk

American Robin

Gadwalls (Mallard in background)

Mallards walking across iced-over Bear Creek to join their brethern

November 24, 2020

Several inches of snow fell this morning.  It was sunny, just above freezing, by afternoon.  On our walk in the Bear Creek Greenbelt we saw two pairs of Gadwalls, several Mallards, our resident pair of Red-tailed Hawks, a Belted Kingfisher, and several Song Sparrows.  Here’s one of the Song Sparrows looking for something to eat in the reeds by the pond north of Bear Creek:

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow

November 21, 2020

This afternoon in the Bear Creek Greenbelt we saw this manky Mallard among the other Mallards:

Manky Mallard

An ever-present Song Sparrow:

Song Sparrow

We saw a few ground-feeding Dark-eyed Juncos, including this Gray-headed subspecies:

Dark-eyed Junco

November 18, 2020

My better half spotted this first-year Red-tailed Hawk in the Bear Creek Greenbelt today after work:

Red-tailed Hawk

Here’s a second Red-tailed Hawk we saw while walking through our neighborhood:

Red-tailed Hawk

November 17, 2020

Even though it was a dark early morning (the moon was full this past weekend), we weren’t able to see any of the Leonids.  There was light cloud cover, and only the brightest objects–Venus, Sirius, Procyon, Capella–were visible.

It was sunny and in the low 60s when we walked the dog after work in the Bear Creek Greenbelt.  We caught sight of the Green-winged Teal again in the reeds just west of the bridge.  We also heard her soft, plaintive quack.

Green-winged Teal