Monthly Archives: January 2020

January 22, 2020

This afternoon while we were walking the dog in the Bear Creek Greenbelt, my better half spotted a female Common Goldeneye and a Manky Mallard.  There were several dozen Mallards, as well.

Manky Mallard

January 20, 2020

This morning on my way out of the neighborhood to Deer Creek Canyon Park, I spotted two Red-tailed Hawks at the top of the tree with the most commanding view.   At Deer Creek Canyon Park, it was 18 degrees at the start of my hike–and in the mid 40s six hours later when I finished.  I headed up Plymouth Creek Trail, then turned left onto Plymouth Mountain, and hiked a few miles down Black Bear.   Starting on February 1, Black Bear will be closed for six months in order to protect nesting Golden Eagles.

Not far from the trailhead, I saw several mule deer, including this young male:

Mule deer

On my way out, I heard eight to ten Townsend’s Solitaires, but did not glimpse a one.  I also heard a couple of Red-breasted Nuthatches.  I saw dozens of Mountain Chickadees, as well as White-breasted Nuthatches, Pygmy Nuthatches, and the omnipresent Magpie.

On the way back, I saw three different perched Townsend’s Solitaires.  The first two were silent.  The third was calling, and I was able to pinpoint its location.

Townsend’s Solitaire

As I was passing though what my better half calls a “bird town”–a small area with lots of small, active birds, in this case Mountain Chickadees–I got a glimpse of a small brown bird.  It stayed low to the ground and kept close to rocks.  The sun was right in front of me, which made identification difficult.  I moved back down the trail to put the sun behind me, and then I waited for the bird to make itself visible.  Eventually, it flew up to a large rock.  A Canyon Wren, my first.

Canyon Wren



January 19, 2020

Early this cold morning (low 20s) I went for a jog in the Bear Creek Greenbelt.  I was hoping to hear, or maybe even see, owls or coyotes.  No luck.  But back in my neighborhood, I heard two Great Horned Owls calling.  I tracked them down to the top of a tree which had the most commanding view of the neighborhood.

A little later in the morning my better half and I walked in the Bear Creek Greenbelt to find our winter visitors again.  Success!

Common Goldeneye (male)

Common Goldeneye (female)

Our usual birds were also out:

Belted Kingfisher

Mallard with its beak tucked beneath its feathers

Manky Mallard

January 18, 2020

This morning we took the dog for a long walk in the Bear Creek Greenbelt.  We saw a number of avian winter visitors.

Hooded Mergansers

Hooded Merganser (male)

Hooded Merganser (female)

Hooded Mergansers getting airborne

Common Goldeneyes (male and female)

Common Goldeneye (first-winter male)

Common Goldeneye (first-winter male) getting airborne

Northern Shovelers (three male and one female)

Northern Shoveler (male)

And we saw more familiar birds:

American Crow

Belted Kingfisher (male)

January 17, 2020

Yesterday we saw two male Common Goldeneyes in Bear Creek.  But I didn’t have my camera.  This afternoon at Bear Creek, on a very windy day, we saw dozens of Mallards, three Hooded Merganser pairs, and this male Common Goldeneye:

Common Goldeneye

Here’s one of the female Hooded Mergansers:

Hooded Merganser

We also heard the laugh of a Belted Kingfisher.  It allowed no close approach:

Belted Kingfisher (female)

We continue to see Red-tailed Hawks at the Bear Creek Greenbelt.  We saw a pair soaring high, pushing south, and a single individual, very pale, heading north.

January 11, 2020

We watched the full moon dip below the horizon as we were walking the dog in the Bear Creek Greenbelt this morning:

View from Bear Creek Greenbelt

Later in the morning we went hiking at Mount Falcon.  We parked at the Morrison trailhead, which was nearly full.  On our way up Castle Trail we saw Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jays and Townsend’s Solitaires.

Townsend’s Solitaire

The view from the end of Two Dog Trail:

View from Mount Falcon (Two Dog Trail)

On the way back down Castle Trail, we caught sight of a buck and a few does:

Mule Deer

And near the end of Turkey Trot trail, we spotted two American Kestrels:

American Kestrels (male)

January 7, 2020

After work this afternoon when we were walking the dog in the Bear Creek Greenbelt, we noticed that the water level of the creek was down several inches.  We saw smooth river rocks we’d never seen before in the creek.  There were far fewer Mallards and no Hooded Mergansers.  But this Manky Mallard was back:

Manky Mallard

January 6, 2020

Mallards fill Bear Creek in the afternoons.  Here are two dozen or so:


The Mallards are now pairing off.  It’s common to see pairs sit in secluded spots.  Yesterday I also spotted two pairs of Hooded Mergansers.  Here’s a male:

Hooded Merganser (male)

January 5, 2020

Today my better half and I went back to Mt. Falcon Park and parked at the West Trailhead.  We hiked Parmalee Trail, where we found a pine tree brimming with Pygmy Nuthatches.  Here’s one:

Pygmy Nuthatch

After Parmalee, we hiked Old Hute, and Devil’s Elbow, then Meadow and Castle Trail. The day was cold but clear.  It was 21 degrees when we started and 29 degrees when we finished.  

View from Mt. Falcon Park