First thing this morning a coyote showed up in the field behind our house. This picture is shot from our back deck:
This field is being developed for housing. Over the past week I’ve seen a lot of wildlife in this field: this coyote, white-tailed deer, prairie dogs, rabbits, fox squirrels, Say’s Phoebes, an adult Red-tailed Hawk perched on a utility pole at the field’s edge. The other day, a neighbor saw a bobcat crouched over a prairie dog hole. But over the past week I’ve also seen heavy equipment in the field: a front loader/backhoe and a Ditch Witch, presumably for laying pipes.
On our walk with the dog in the Bear Creek Greenbelt we saw a Western Kingbird and this Say’s Phoebe:
I wandered out alone to a small pond in the greenbelt at the southwest corner of Estes and Yale. On the way, I saw several American Goldfinches at the edge of Bear Creek, including one taking a bath. I walked across a prairie dog field (you can see part of it and some prairie dogs in the picture below). Barn Swallows were patrolling the field for on-the-wing meals.
Bear Creek Greenbelt
Yesterday afternoon it rained, clearing out some of the smoke that has been lingering from the wildfires. Today at dawn the temperature was in the mid 50s.
At this pond, I saw a female adult Belted Kingfisher, briefly, before she flew off. The pond contained lots of frogs, who gave an “eeep” and dived into the water when I approached. Here’s a frog holding steady:
Frog (probably American Bullfrog)
Before too long, two adult male Belted Kingfishers showed up with a great deal of rattling calls and alighted in a tree. I was in cover under a tree at the other side of the pond, so I waited for one of them to nab a frog.
For over an hour I waited. The two chattered nearly non-stop to each other, but neither took a single dive into the pond. They moved from a tree to a snag over the water and back to the tree. Here they are in the snag:
Belted Kingfishers refusing to dive into a pond to nab a frog
Here’s one perched in the tree, not long after it coughed up a pellet:
While I waited, a few hummingbirds and a Vesper Sparrow showed up. Here’s the Vesper:
A small flock (five or six individuals) of Clay-colored Sparrows also showed up. Here’s one:
I also watched a pair of Mallards in the pond:
Eventually, I gave up on the Belted Kingfishers and walked back toward our house. I spotted the small flock of Clay-colored Sparrows again. Here’s one:
Here’s a cabbage white in wildflowers:
Back at the house, I saw four Broad-tailed Hummingbirds still buzzing around in our back yard, as they have been doing in the past week, including an adult male.
Late in the afternoon I retraced my steps. Hundreds of Barn Swallows were now patrolling the prairie dog field, and they were joined by several Say’s Phoebes, who were hunting from whatever perches they could find.
Say’s Phoebe taking off from perch
On my walk back home, I spotted a pair of Wilson’s Warblers foraging in a reedy marsh. The thicket and the fading light made photographing them useless except for diagnostic purposes: the male had a solid black cap and the female, all yellow, had a light patch above her eye.