July 4, 2020

This morning I wandered down to the pond by Stone House.  On the way, I spotted this muskrat in Bear Creek west of Estes:


At the pond by Stone House I saw four of the Hooded Merganser ducklings.  Here are two:

Hooded Merganser ducklings

A Black-crowned Night Heron flying overhead:

Black-crowned Night Heron

I had hoped to photograph Barn Swallows feeding young ones.  There were dozens of Barn Swallows perched on a snag next to the pond–all of the adults on the south end of the snag, beautifully lighted, and the juveniles sitting on the north end, facing north.  I decided not to add to my collection of backlit feeding shots.

On my way back home, I spotted a Cooper’s Hawk near the site of a nest close to our house.  After promising activity this spring, the nest has been quiet for a few weeks.  The tell that a Cooper’s Hawk was in the area was not the usual squawking of a Northern Flicker, but the nonstop chatter coming from a Bullock’s Oriole, at the top of a tree:

Bullock’s Oriole

Cooper’s Hawk

A little later in the morning, my better half and I rode our mountain bikes out to Bear Creek Lake Park.  At the crossing by Turkey Creek we saw a mule deer doe, which reminded us we hadn’t seen mule deer for a few weeks.

And speaking of creatures we haven’t been seeing much of lately . . . the last coyote I saw was this past Monday, when I was out jogging early in the Bear Creek Greenbelt.  I saw it in the field between the pond by Stone House and the pond east of that one.  And the last Great Horned Owl I’ve noticed was this past Tuesday, when, again, I was out jogging early in the greenbelt, and I heard it just east of Estes, in the woods south of Bear Creek.