One of two raccoons we saw at the “raccoon condos” during our mid-morning walk in the Bear Creek Greenbelt:
On an afternoon walk in the Bear Creek Greenbelt I spotted three adult Red-tailed Hawks in a single bare tree. Two of them, on the left-hand side of the tree, were very vocal–they appeared to be screaming at each other. The third, by itself on the right-hand side of the tree, was quiet.
After looking at the pictures, I saw that one of the two vocal ones was banded–the resident female. I did not recognize the second vocal one or the third one, both of which have lighter eyes, indicating they may be younger adults.
In Bear Creek this afternoon:
Today my better half and I visited the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado.
In addition to all the rescues, we also saw tons of Ring-billed Gulls, several Bald Eagles, several Blue Jays, numerous House Sparrows, a couple of Western Meadowlarks, and a wild red fox streaking through one of the bear habitats.
Another sign that fall has arrived–I saw my first-of-season Dark-eyed Junco in the Bear Creek Greenbelt:
A friend reported that she’d seen a pair of Hooded Mergansers in the horseshoe pond by Stone House–another sign that fall is here.
Here’s Manky Mallard:
This morning I joined a bird walk at Castlewood Canyon State Park put on by Denver Field Ornithologists and led by Gregg Goodrich. We were on the western side of the canyon, and it was gorgeous–trees in their fall colors, and birds aplenty. We were treated to nearly non-stop song by the Townsend’s Solitaires, and Blue Jays were busting out what seemed to be their entire repertoire.
In the mid afternoon I went to Bear Creek Lake Park to try to capture how beautiful the reeds are these days:
I noticed this bug in the grass:
The wind picked up in the late afternoon, and the leaves rained down from the trees. It felt like fall. I took a walk in the Bear Creek Greenbelt.
Here’s the American Wigeon just after taking off from the small pond at the corner of Estes and Yale:
A late-in-the-season Turkey Vulture who hasn’t yet departed for warmer climates:
Another bird that hasn’t yet left for warmer climates:
And, unusually, I saw an American Kestrel in the greenbelt west of Estes and another one in the greenbelt east of Estes. Here’s the latter:
This afternoon on my walk in the Bear Creek Greenbelt I ran across this small squirrel. I watched it climb down a tree, clamber over brush, and crawl onto the paved the trail. It stumbled a bit when it walked and paused to give small sounds. A jogger stopped with his dog on a leash, and the squirrel headed straight for the dog. The jogger moved his dog back. I tried to coax the squirrel off the paved path with my foot. The squirrel clung on to my shoe and started to climb up on my leg. I dislodged it. A couple, each walking a dog, came by. Again, the squirrel started moving toward the dogs. They moved back. I found a large stick, and held it out to the squirrel. It grabbed onto the stick and I deposited it (and the stick) back into the brush. I spoke with Lisa Clark at Lakewood Animal Control about it. She said that there is no known disease in squirrels in the greenbelt now. She said she suspects that someone has been feeding the squirrel, and as a result the squirrel has come to associate humans with food. She recommends if anyone sees a squirrel acting like this–seemingly docile and approaching humans–that person should scare the squirrel away by shouting at it or making loud noises (she suggested an air horn, but few folks, if any, carry one when walking the greenbelt). The idea is to reinstill fear of humans in wildlife so that they have the best chance of survival.
The American Wigeon is still making itself at home at the small pond at the intersection of Yale and Estes. A few dragonflies are still out:
Here’s a more robust squirrel eating a snack:
This morning my better half and I went mountain biking at Buffalo Creek, which is sporting some very colorful aspens now. I also caught sight of a pine squirrel, a chipmunk, three Mountain Bluebirds, and a few sparrows–but I didn’t get a good enough look to hazard a guess about what kind of sparrows they were.
Afterwards we drove along Stony Pass. A couple of views, the first one with aspens and the second without:
On an afternoon walk in the Bear Creek Greenbelt I spotted the American Wigeon again, hanging tight with three Mallards:
At the horseshoe pond by the Stone House I saw a few turtles:
A Mallard in Hodgson ditch, snapping after the dragonflies.
On an early lunch walk in the Bear Creek Greenbelt, I saw a couple of seasonal birds.
Clay-colored Sparrows migrate up and down the middle third of the United States in fall and spring, and sometimes we’re lucky enough to spot them on their way in the greenbelt.
White-crowned Sparrows return to the greenbelt for the colder months.
Both of these sspecies were mixing with a small flock of House Finches, which are present year-round.
Also present year-round are American Kestrels. They’re most often seen east of Estes, around the horseshoe pond by Stone House. But this one was in my neck of the woods, in the greenbelt west of Estes.
Mallard drakes are beginning to sport green heads again as they acquire breeding plumage. Here are two young Mallards that have developed a taste for insects and dragonflies: