Monday, August 30, 2010

New Raptor Round-Up is Up

In the mail over the weekend and now on our web site, check out the latest issue with even more photos than ever before. I still send a few hundred of these out the old-fashioned way, and webmaster Steve Palmer always says, "How twentieth." In this issue we have the trip to Chicago, new Raptors of the West book, iPod the new Pygmy-Owl, Painting Workshop, Osprey web cam, Bill much more!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Have You Ever Seen So Many Grasshoppers?

This year seems especially bad, or good depending on your perspective. Birds are loving this near plague of grasshoppers, zillions jumping in waves as we walk through the grass. Even Sibley the falcon has been chasing them on foot in her building. A bunch of Eastern Kingbirds have been using the sculptures in the lawn to launch attacks, this one off the Great Horned Owl. We had our first frost here last night and before you know it, the insect smorgasbord will be gone. And then...falconry season!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

What's the Ruckus?

First Chesty the Harris's Hawk started screaming, then she was joined by the falcons and finally barking dogs. So I grabbed my camera and got this photo just now of the front yard. That's One Horse Creek they're flying over, Prairie and Peregrine nests up there somewhere. It looks like that heron flying by wasn't at all alarmed.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Raptors of the West Completed

The new book is at Mountain Press Publishers, finished! Raptors of the West took a year longer than planned, but in that time our photographers got unbelievable images that wouldn't have made it had we been on time. Plus we have some guests appearing including BT Lubinski, Gerald Romanchuk, and Miguel Lasa. So the breakdown - 224 pages, 7 chapters, 43 species, and 430 photographs! That's how many captions I wrote, and just since the shoulder surgery last month. Rob Palmer has about 244 of those, Nick Dunlop nearly 100, including his image here of a Spotted Owl that will grace the back cover. I have 66, give or take. So editing now, and we are hoping that we can have it back from the printers in time for the holidays, but that might be pushing our luck. I'll let you know. Now, the Raptor Round-Up Newsletter as promised.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Japanese Visit

We hosted students from Japan, a return engagement for the English Language Institute at the University of Montana with Samantha on the left. We got to release some pigeons, had a tour of the ranch, a flight by Chesty the Harris's Hawk, and this photo by the Osprey sculpture, a species that also lives in Japan. We realized that half of the students were exactly the same age as Max the Golden Eagle (21) and the other half were born the year I started this program (1988.) We finished with a chant of "Go Griz!" just to get them ready for football season.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Another Rainy Night

For last night's trip to the beach behind the house, I got this snapshot when a Bald Eagle landed right across the river. I had just said one minute earlier, "Would't that tree look great with a bird perched in the limbs?" And voila, enter eagle. More rain storms and even a winter weather advisory!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What a Sky

A quick snapshot out the office window, hummingbirds, storm clouds, and even a rainbow over the eagle enclosure. The latest outbreak of thunderstorms have put our fire season on hold, and the countryside is still green in August.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mike Untiedt Painting

This looks like Max to me, and here is a final painting from our Plein Air Painting Workshop a few weeks ago. Mike Untiedt from Denver, CO was featured in our Blog (July 17) and a Missoulian newspaper story, setting up his easel and oil paints right in front of the Golden Eagles. He writes, "To say this experience was a magical one is to understate the obvious. I tried to paint the eagle with as much accuracy as possible, but still keep the work loose and painterly. This is not an easy thing to do, as one must combat the tendency to start rendering things out." I love this painting, and we hope to have Mike back for a private workshop at the Raptor Ranch next summer. I'll get the word out to our painter friends in plenty of time!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hummingbird Frenzy

All of the hummingbird nests seem to have fledged babies in the last few days, Black-chinned like this one, and Calliope's- the tiniest of tiny. I've been working on the new book non-stop, but simply have to run outside now and then to try to capture the air show in the yard. Plus we had 50 kids from the Missoula middle school Flagship program here today. Quite the day and another biggie tomorrow if you can join us at Blacksmith Brewing in Stevensville. Stop in for a pint and 50 cents of every beer goes to Raptors of the Rockies. It's their "Community Give Back" night. We'll be there with Alisa the Red-tail and two owls and would love to visit. 5:00-7:00 pm, and I'll have some t-shirts and books as well.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Phillips Family Reunion

A happy occasion and the first time all the kids have been together with Mom in about three years. On the left is sister Betsy Needles, owner of Heartland Caregivers, helping folks across the land with estate staffing, and brother Jonathan Phillips in the film industry. After many years with Dreamworks, he has just started his own business dubbing in languages (37 in all to be exact) to animated features for release overseas. Latest was the Shrek series and "How to Train Your Dragon " in Cantonese and 5 versions of Russian, for example. And Sally the Mom, who started this project 50 years ago. Love to all.