Sunday, April 29, 2012


We have dodged the flood from the Bitterroot River in the back yard so far, with water dropping and the pumps in the crawl space slowing down, whew. Unfortunately, I can't access the Bald Eagle nest there, and looks like babies hatched just as predicted, on April 19th! We are watching them through the scope in the house, non-stop. In the meantime, I have a bee-in-my-bonnet about photographing kestrels in the Bitterroot, and found a great nest yesterday. We love these little falcons and this female chased a huge Red-tailed Hawk off her snag, then was joined by her mate (the one on top after a little mating activity.) Off to the Big Hole Valley tomorrow bright and early, and will listen to a David Sedaris CD for the 5 hour drive there and back. Four birds including Sibley the Peregrine will join me for a program in Wisdom for three new schools, what fun.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Squirrels As Friends...and Food

In two days of photographing the Bald Eagle nest on the Clark Fork, I see a pattern developing. Squirrels! First, the adult Eastern Fox Squirrel that raised young in the nest last year was back, the female eagle alert that some mammal was climbing about below. Then I got this shot days later of the raptor babies, fox squirrel tail in the nest, and I doubt it was sleeping, just a meal. Everyone wonders how prey could live right with it's predator species, but it happens all the time. Those eagles would have a hard time catching squirrels in the nest right next to them, but somehow they are able to grab them across the valley. These eagles are expert predators and scavengers, and lots more photos on the way.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Coyote Choir Rocks Our World

What a DAY-starting with Lewis and Clark Elementary and Amy Martin (Rock Star) with the Coyote Choir (Rock Stars) for our first tour of the year. Then Clark Fork School and finishing in the afternoon with Paxson Elementary. Woo- hooo kids and almost 1000 attendees at these schools today and they "Dig Your Feathers!"

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Nest 2012

I was back at the Bald Eagle nest on the Clark Fork yesterday, and saw lots of action in an hour, but just a brief glimpse of the nestlings. The adults paid no attention to me, perhaps remembering our 200 hours plus together last year! Sue across the road has verified that they have three young, and who knows, maybe another clutch of four if we are lucky. That last baby to hatch would still be tiny. I first started photographing these guys on April 30th in 2011, so a bit early this year. And by my calculations, the nest in the back yard should have some hatching action starting tomorrow! I'm heading down there when the light gets a little better, or at Eagle Happy Hour.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Yellowstone Eagle

On the way back from the award ceremony in Big Sky, Mom and I opted for the slow route back to Missoula by Ennis, and got this photo on the way. The Bald Eagle was perched off the road near Yellowstone National Park and after a mile of driving, on and off the brakes, I decided to turn around. Still perched, we got this shot as she launched into the sky, full frame with the Nikon. This is now hanging on the wall in our home, and will be featured in the upcoming show at The Artists Shop downtown Missoula starting first week of May, along with 15 other new photos including Snowy Owls and Peregrines on the coast of Washington.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Big Sky Awards!

Mom and I put some miles on the Subaru starting Thursday, and drove to Big Sky to accept the Montana Book Award for Raptors of the West at the Huntley Lodge. What a surprise, as the award was a framed poster from a favorite movie of mine, Rancho Deluxe, signed by its author Tom McGuane. He wrote, "With admiration for all you do for our hawks," and a brilliant gift! Barbara Theroux pondered what art to give an artist and our friend Anne Iverson suggested anything Rancho Deluxe. It hangs proudly in my living room, to treasure forever, and thanks to the awards committee and Mountain Press Publishing!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Number Forty!

Catch the newsletter here first before it gets mailed out! All color and more photos than ever before. In This Issue: More awards for "Raptors of the West", a trip to the Washington coast, the Coastal Raptors program, yet another book at the publishers, the Bayern celebration, and Raptor Round-Up April 2012.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

One Horse Creek

I took a break from the computer yesterday and hiked up One Horse Creek in search of Peregrines. Lots of other raptors, and the dogs Peanut and Mookie had a fine time, so we'll be back later in the week. Peregrines have been seen way up the drainage in the past, Prairie Falcons lower by the creek, and we'll see... In the meantime, I just posted this new little film on YouTube: Raptors of the Rockies Programs Part1. It's a slideshow of facilities, birds, and programs with my favorite song, so check it out. Part 2 on the way: The BOOKS!
ps: Update- YES! Both falcons spotted right away on Tuesday, so occupied! Just about the quickest survey I have ever had the pleasure of conducting.