This morning I went on a bird walk led by Joey Kellner at Chatfield State Park. It was raining lightly when the group set out, but the rain soon ceased. We began by setting out to look for shorebirds. On the way, we saw a juvenile Lark Bunting:
Lark Bunting (juvenile)
A few people brought scopes, which we needed to see the shorebirds clearly. There were Great Blue Herons, Snowy Egrets, an Osprey, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpipers, a Wilson’s Phalarope, a Clark’s Grebe, a Western Grebe, three Wilson’s Snipes, and two American Avocets, including the one below:
At a forested area we saw adult Western Wood-Pewees feeding young at a nest:
The dawn arrives later each day, and though we see the juvenile Cooper’s Hawks every morning on our walk in the Bear Creek Greenbelt, the light–filtered by the haze of distant wildfires–doesn’t permit decent hand-held photographic shots.
Later this morning, during my lunch break, when the sun was higher and the day was warm, I looked for the small flock of Lark Sparrows that has been frequenting the greenbelt. I startled a white-tailed deer, which had been resting in shade behind the back yard of one of my neighbors. It bounded away from me and turned back to look:
I finally spotted two Lark Sparrows, but a third bird caught my eye:
Dragonflies patrolled the field.
After work I returned to the same field. The only bird I saw was an adult Cooper’s Hawk. We started out in the field together, then moved to Bear Creek, and then returned to the field.
The lack of birds made me focus on smaller things:
Next to Bear Creek I found a few kinds of dragonflies:
Squirrels are nearly always present, but often overlooked.
If you took a quick look at the picture above, it would seem unremarkable . . . a pebbly dirt path flanked by grass. If you are into birds, you might register one, maybe two, Lark Sparrows.
But if you looked closer, you’d see four Lark Sparrows, a very occasional visitor to the Bear Creek Greenbelt.
This morning as we were walking uphill out of the Bear Creek Greenbelt we saw a Lark Sparrow in a scrubby tree.
This afternoon I saw two Lark Sparrows in the same tree (check out the pattern on the face!):
I also saw our resident, banded female Red-tailed Hawk, looking a little worse for wear:
And in the world of smaller flying things . . .
This morning on our early morning walk with the dog in the Bear Creek Greenbelt we saw all three juvenile Cooper’s Hawks in the magic tree. They soon relocated to another small tree to the southeast.
In the afternoon–after work, in the heat of the day–we took another walk with the dog in the greenbelt. We spotted two of the juvenile Cooper’s Hawks staying low on tree branches in the shade just south of the paved Bear Creek Trail. Here’s one that ventured into the sun momentarily:
And–for the first time in weeks and weeks–we saw a small flock of Bushtits. They were working their way west on the south side of Bear Creek east of the footbridge.
This morning all three juvenile Cooper’s Hawks were out in the Bear Creek Greenbelt, but only one had prey:
That one garnered attention, not only from three of us photographers, but also its siblings:
Here’s a Black-crowned Night Heron along the south bank of Bear Creek:
Black-crowned Night Heron
Later in the morning we rode our bikes to Bear Creek Lake Park. As we turned into the entrance at the Fox Hollow golf course, we saw an adult Swainson’s Hawk and a juvenile perched on a utility pole, calling.
On our way back we spotted a mama Mallard and a fresh batch of eight ducklings in Hodgson Ditch.
This morning a couple of friends and I headed up to Stony Pass (Wigwam Creek Area). The first birds we saw were these Western Tanagers:
Western Tanager (female)
Western Tanager (male)
There were lots of Pine Siskins. There was also lots of thistle!
We saw a family of Mountain Bluebirds. Here’s one of the juveniles:
Mountain Bluebird (juvenile)
Toward the end of our time there, we finally saw our two target birds. Both were feeding young in net cavities.
This morning all three juvenile Cooper’s Hawks were in the magic tree in the Bear Creek Greenbelt:
At one point, a Black-chinned Hummingbird showed up and buzzed around their heads. It’s a favorite perch of the Black-chinned Hummingbird, but I guess it didn’t feel like picking a fight.
In the Bear Creek Greenbelt this morning, all three juvenile Cooper’s Hawks were in the same small tree, jumping from branch to branch and calling for breakfast. Here are two:
As my better half and I were walking home with the dog, we saw two white-tailed deer cross Bear Creek just west of the footbridge (between Estes and Kipling St.). Here they are along the south bank:
This morning on our early morning walk with the dog in the Bear Creek Greenbelt all three Cooper’s Hawk juveniles were out, chasing each other, and calling for breakfast. We didn’t see either parent.
The one below was maybe twelve feet from the paved Bear Creek Trail, at eye level. As a jogger approached–a pregnant woman with a dark ponytail whom we often see on our early morning walk and whom we greet but have never spoken to–I silently pointed it out. She stopped. “Wow,” she said. “It’s so close!”
My better half picked out two raccoons in a tree in the woods between Bear Creek and the pond that never freezes:
And at the pond that never freezes we heard a couple of American bullfrogs. Here’s a Mallard duckling coming up behind two:
American bullfrogs with Mallard duckling