January 7, 2022

On an early lunch walk in the Bear Creek Greenbelt, I ran into a photographer friend, and we walked to the pond that never freezes to see what was happening.  It was full of Mallards, but it also held five Hooded Mergansers, three males and two females.

The males began putting on courtship displays, throwing their heads back:

Hooded Mergansers

But most remarkably, they were also making deep, rolling, frog-like croaks.  We were standing on the northern edge of the pond, looking into the sun, so photographing them was challenging.  Utterly entranced, we watched and listened for several minutes.

After work, my better half and I ventured in the greenbelt with the dog.  Right away, my better half picked out a Red-tailed Hawk.  It was a Harlan’s–probably the same individual I’d seen the other day.

Red-tailed Hawk (Harlan’s)

At the new beaver dam by the park bench (on the south bank of Bear Creek between Estes and the first footbridge to the west–so from here on out I’m going to call it the park bench beaver dam), two beavers were out.



At the pond that never freezes, the five Hooded Mergansers were relaxing:

My better half turned back home with the dog, while I walked back to the park bench beaver dam to join a friend who had shown up.  Though the light was fading, we eventually picked out three beavers.