Friday, June 5, 2020

June Eagle

So now you show up! This was taken from the driveway, the famous nest across the river right where it says Kate. Canada Geese the last two years. Maybe next March the eagles will come to their senses and not hand over their fine abode.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Montana Public Radio

It's a delayed fund-drive at our public radio station and Raptors of the Rockies donates a premium of greeting cards. I made collections of six different cards plus envelopes, looking for a bag for delivery to the station. I found a great old Rockin Rudy's bag with a totally faded receipt inside. It was dated 1/29/04 and totaled $140.88. Twelve jazz CD's! That inspired me to dig them all out and give them a listen.
And give MTPR a listen and donation, all this week, at - An Essential Service!

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Wow Wonderful Wisconsin!

We had our program/tour for the 100 3rd graders in Wisconsin, and way better than I even imagined, thanks to Dave Oberbillig's nice comments, and “filming” by son Ian. We met all the birds, had a chat with an irate-for-some-reason Sibley, checked out the sculptures in the yard, then hooted up some owls, little faces filling the computer screen. Sign us up for these! Teacher Julia Massino texted Dave just after we ended: 
AMAZING! Everything we wanted and anticipated!! Bravo!! We appreciate it so much!!!
Here is Ian over here about 18 years ago, and today. What a smile, thanks Oberbilligs.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Virtual Program/Tour

Tomorrow morning we will be in the homes of 100 3rd graders in Wausau, Wisconsin in a virtual program and tour, via iPhone! My pal Dave Oberbillig and I met in the early '90's when he was teaching high school science. Our tour will start in the eagle building and finish in the office with Sibley the Peregrine. Of all places - I was accepted in the ultimate art show in 1993 for a monoprint etching of an Osprey- "Birds in Art" at the Leigh Yawkey Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin. We 100 artists in attendance were wined and dined that week, absolutely unreal. Love Wisconsin, especially Elkhart Lake Race Track, where we kids were raised watching Grand Prix auto racing. See you kids and teachers tomorrow!Plus that zinc plate etching, "Flipper."

Monday, June 1, 2020

Poor Kestrels

Wild wind and trees down all over the place. On Saturday the female kestrel flew into the nest and sadly Sunday, the snag had blown down and she was dead along with two hatchlings. A few tears. I took this picture and then left the bodies in the nest cavity. I was very excited to photograph that family, the highlight of the day is the hike at One Horse Creek and visit to the kestrel nest.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

More Balsamroot

Probably the last forays into Arrowleaf Balsamroot Land, as they have just about peaked out here. See you next year!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Bees Be Gone

A shapeshifting ball 'o bees all day, constant checks, then at 4:20, they were all gone. Advice on FaceBook ranged from "get a beekeeper" (free-roaming bees, our choice) to "the queen will split when she gets advice from the workers." What an entomology experience. I remember a dear friend from out-of-state asked me why all these filing cabinets were out in the roadside fields in Montana? Bee hives! Bye bees, and good luck! 
And some flickers today.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020


Tom heard the dogs barking yesterday afternoon and went outside to find thousands of honey bees swarming in the yard. They finally settled on this pine tree, four feet up and a mass measuring 20" x 12", bees flying into the mass at dark. This is the same tree that fledged five magpies last weekend. We'll see what happens with these thousands of bees, pollinate like crazy.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Arrowleaf Balsamroot Haven

We have a gorgeous view for several weeks a year, Arrowleaf Balsamroot as far as you can see. I have a different bunch of photography settings for this landscape instead of birds in flight - slow shutter and high f-stop to get that depth of field.  Our other Secret Spot was revealed when a "photographer" posted on FaceBook the exact location a few weeks ago. No more, and sure bummed us out. The ceaseless search for a Secret Spot...

Friday, May 22, 2020

Phone Service and Flood Waters

First, when I was doing the "phoney" with Annie on the radio yesterday, all of our phone service died. Smart phone, dumb phone and landline. What are the chances?
And the Bitterroot River came up a few feet and we installed the sump pumps in the crawl space, lots and lots of crawling. Then good ole Mike DeNeve came over with the skid steerer and we rescued the floating bridge that usually lives over the slough. Whew, much better. And wait and see how high the water will get. One year we had sandbags up where that green gate opens. HIGH water.

Thursday, May 21, 2020


Annie Garde has invited me on the Montana Public Radio show Pea Green Boat today. We've been on the Boat about 100 times with live birds, but this time from the safety and comfort of this very chair at home in the office. A Phoney Visit (on there phone...Just made that up). At 4 pm today, KUFM in Missoula 89.1 FM dial, left of the dial across the rest of the region.
And a Canada Goose nest across the road.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Magpie Sanctuary

The first nest fledged six young on Sunday, then today the one by the office fledged five. The domed stick nests are in pine trees we planted when we moved in, about forty yards apart. I don't know how they all fit in there, a mystery, but must be great when the lock-down is over. And deafening, 11 begging babies!
And thanks for all the condolences regarding Simon and Adrian Caddy on Facebook. They are so missed.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Absolute Tragedy

I am finally posting news of the tragic loss of dear friend Adrian Caddy, killed in a motorcycle accident near his home in the UK two months ago. I met Adrian about 20 years ago, a delegate at the International Wildlife Film Festival where we shared a panel. He later brought his sons Simon and Alex every couple of years as they were growing up, staying here at the Raptor Ranch, and they loved swimming at the river with the dogs. Adrian was due back here this weekend to spread the ashes of Simon on that beach. Simon was killed in a motorcycle accident three years ago, absolutely devastating. This has taken so long to sink in, that they are both gone in an instant. The times we shared are cherished, and big plans for the future are shattered. Rest In Peace, Mate. You are so missed, love you all so much, Caddys.
Alex, Adrian, Simon and me, circa 2004
Alex and Adrian at the river, 2017
Adrian with his carving gift and Simon our owl named for his son.