Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thanks, Pals!

Not really knowing how this Facebook stuff works, I was happily surprised to find about 40 messages yesterday for my birthday wishing me a great time, which it was. Thanks, pals! Any day at SnowBowl is better than one in Reserve Street traffic and thanks to all of you! I actually convinced a kid that I was just turning 35, but I think he just went along with me to be kind. Last day of the year and this photo of a Rough-legged Hawk while flying Sibley in the Bitterroot with Mookie the Black Lab, who has turned out to be a genius. Or at least smart... And for Raptors of the Rockies programs in 2011 - 72 total for 5466 children and adults, beating numbers for the last eight years! Thanks again for the support and faith in our little education outfit.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Shot of the day...

..and maybe the year. This Golden Eagle was perched on a rural road here in Florence, and I learned the hard way that I should always have my camera and 500 mm lens perched on the seat next to me. I had just gotten some killer shots of Sibley flying around with the snowy mountains on the background and was on my way home when I noticed this bird at a distance. I sometimes feel like a paparazzi, "shooting" the glamorous and fashionable residents of the Bitterroot Valley, and this guy cooperated; a classy character, for sure.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for the New Year from all of us at Raptors of the Rockies!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Annual Christmas Show on the Radio

We will be guests on Montana Public Radio this afternoon, children's programming with Pea Green Boat and host Annie Garde at 4 pm. That's Mountain Standard Time but anyone in the world can listen on the KUFM web site LIVE! Today Sibley the Peregrine will join us, bells and all, and this photo from yesterday flying in the snow. Another bird will join us, to be decided and whoever volunteers. But the big (or small, really) guest will be the debut program for the new Northern Saw-whet Owl, Maya. She is named for a young friend, and Maya the girl will also be on the air. Check it out!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Captions Galore

Bald Eagles on the brain, and writing the 120-plus captions for the new book now. It starts with an introduction, "Bald Eagles get a bad rap. For many, they are icons and symbols, the American Eagle with all of mythology attached. But as Arthur Bent points out in his 1937 Life Histories volume, they may be attractive birds but are hardly worthy of their lofty place as the national emblem. He points out their cowardly and lazy habits, diet of carrion, and theft of fish from Ospreys, traits that “certainly do not exemplify the best in American behavior.” But undeserved as we find out.
In the meantime, this pair of birds across the river at the MPG Ranch have designs of their own, already thinking about the next breeding season in a photo from yesterday.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What? Another Bald Eagle?

Yes, another Bald Eagle, and this one near Twin Bridges on Tuesday observed while on a falconry trip with Jay and our pal Steve Gilbert. Eagles from interior Canada and Alaska migrate south and this is as far as many of them make it, while "our" birds tend to stay put. That's why we see so many Bald Eagles here in the winter. Jay and I had a big circuit with the Peregrines, hitting new sloughs and all unfamiliar ground for me. Man, this is a big state!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Bitterroot Red-tail

Just back from a book signing for Raptors of the West in Hamilton at Chapter One Books and what fun, thanks to Shawn and the throngs of bird-lovers. Alisa the Red-tail was an angel, and when home, she enjoyed a bunch of mice nicely heated by the wood stove. On the way back I got this shot of a wild Red-tail, Bitterroot Mountains in the background at Metcalf Refuge. If you are by your radio tomorrow, check out the re-broadcast of our interview with Edward O'Brien about the new book and award, 11 am. Thanks to Montana Public Radio for the coverage. Oh, and Nikon and Subaru and Napoleon Stoves and Mountain Press Publishing - enough product endorsement? HA!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Today's Photo

Gotta love a Red-tail! this must have looked nuts, a big lens pointed out the window driving on this rural dirt road and waiting for the action. Like my pals Rob Palmer and Nick Dunlop tell me, "Always have your camera, and good lens." And perhaps be careful shooting photographs near houses as the inhabitants might mistake you for a private investigator.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What a Day

Our interview on Montana Public Radio was a hoot, and listen here. Edward O'Brien did a fantastic job of editing my long-winded description of the new Raptors of the West book that just won the National Outdoor Book Award. Plus, I got this photo in the back yard while waiting for the broadcast.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Grouse Escape Route

After a big book signing downtown on Friday night, I packed the Subaru with falconry gear, met Jay Sumner and headed to Choteau for two days of bird hunting. Guests of Skip Tubbs, we joined a great group of gun hunters similarly chasing the pheasants in the frigid cold on Skip's ranch. On Saturday, Jay's bird nearly caught this Sharp-tailed Grouse, and what a flight. These birds apparently barrel roll as an escape tactic, and it worked here. On another note, catch the interview about the new book with Edward O'Brien on Montana Public Radio tonight, the 5:30 news. After I went on and on, 25 minutes later for a 10 minute spot, Ed commented that he was a bit surprised I could be brief for 430 book captions. HA! Hope I didn't say anything too stupid, but we will all see.

Friday, December 2, 2011

In Living Color

Read the new Raptor Round-Up Newsletter, in color on the web site, and thanks Steve Palmer! Round-Up #39.