Monthly Archives: February 2020

February 29, 2020

This Leap Day we got our first look at a Great Horned Owl who has, it is said, taken over a Red-tailed Hawk’s nest at Bear Creek Lake Park:

Great Horned Owl

Speaking of Red-tailed Hawks, we got a great look at one just after we left the park:

Red-tailed Hawk

February 24, 2020

This afternoon we took the dog for a walk in the Bear Creek Greenbelt.  It was brilliantly sunny.  The temperature was a bit above freezing, but the breeze was quite cold.  We saw the Bufflehead pair again.


Male Bufflehead (male Mallard in background)

February 23, 2020

We took the dog for a walk in the Bear Creek Greenbelt both in the morning and in the late afternoon.  Tiny pellets of snow were falling in the morning and the light was flat.  An inch or so of snow fell, and by the afternoon it had melted and the sun came back out.

A pair of Buffleheads (Mallard in the background)

While I was trying to get a shot of the Buffleheads (and waiting for them to come closer), a muskrat swam by me, just a few feet away.


Belted Kingfisher on its favorite branch over the pond north of Bear Creek

Black-capped Chickadee

February 22, 2020

This morning was very mild, and much of the ice was gone from Bear Creek.  Other than Hooded Mergansers, no migratory birds were present.

Belted Kingfisher

Female Mallard on the snowy bank of Bear Creek

February 20, 2020

We received about an inch of snow overnight.  The temperature was 8 degrees this morning and it shaped up to be a brilliantly sunny day with the highs getting close to freezing.

As usual, Bear Creek is teeming with Mallards.  We also saw a few Common Goldeneyes, Hooded Mergansers, and muskrats.

Common Goldeneye (female)

Hooded Merganser pair

Hooded Merganser (male)

At one point, a Hooded Merganser pair were heading downstream, the male ahead, and another male Hooded Merganser was heading upstream.  The lone male raised its hood and extended its neck.  The other male lowered its hood and seemed to flatten itself as much as it could:

Two male Hooded Mergansers

February 17, 2020

This morning I walked about eleven miles at Waterton Canyon.  Although it’s famous for its bighorn sheep, the only non-human mammal I saw was a mule deer, which didn’t exactly pose for me:

Mule deer (female)

Luckily, the birds were much more obliging.  I saw several Black-capped Chickadees, several Common Goldeneyes, a pair of Hooded Mergansers, one Common Merganser, one Red-tailed Hawk soaring overhead, a few Dark-eyed Juncos, Magpies, and Robins, one Belted Kingfisher (female), and a couple of Townsend’s Solitaires (I heard several more).

Common Merganser (male)

Common Goldeneye (male)

Common Goldeneye (female)

Female Common Goldeneye getting airborne


Several fly fishermen were out on the river.  Just after I passed one, I saw something brown moving energetically in the water.  Fish?  Some kind of aquatic rodent?  It hauled itself up onto a rock:  an American Dipper, the first one I’ve spotted!

American Dipper

Just a few minutes later, a Townsend’s Solitaire flew down from a treetop and alighted on a large rock on at the river’s edge.  It stayed a couple of minutes, looking all around, then flew down into a protected pool to drink water.

Townsend’s Solitaire

February 16, 2020

On the walk down to the south side of Bear Creek this morning, we passed this iced-up stream:

There’s a watery alcove to the north of Bear Creek where American Wigeons have been hanging out lately:

American Wigeons

February 15, 2020

This morning we walked in the snow along the south side of Bear Creek.  It was 23 degrees at the outset, with bright sun.  We saw the usual dozens of Mallards, a number of Canada Geese,  several Ring-necked ducks, several Hooded Mergansers, a Bufflehead pair, and a female Common Goldeneye.

Ring-necked Ducks catching some ZZZs

Mallards with a male Ring-necked Duck in their slipstream

Manky Mallard

Red-winged Blackbird

February 13, 2020

In the Bear Creek Greenbelt on this sunny but cold (just under freezing) afternoon, we saw some of our visiting waterfowl, including Hooded Mergansers, Ring-necked Decks, American Wigeons, and a Common Goldeneye.  And we saw some regulars, including Canada Geese, Mallards (plus a Manky Mallard, brown with a white bib), Gadwalls, muskrats, a Belted Kingfisher, and a Great Blue Heron.


Ring-necked Duck (male)

Ring-necked Duck (female) with two males in the background

American Wigeon (male)

A Gadwall pair

Great Blue Heron