Monday, March 31, 2014

Dipper = Water Ouzel

Cold night on the beach and a Dipper was catching sub-surface invertebrates = dipping.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Eagles All Over

It's been a tradition to go look for new Peregrine nests on Jay Sumner's birthday which was today, and great fun up the Blackfoot. No new falcons but found a maybe-new Bald Eagle nest at Greenough. We will alert the authorities. Plus, the nest on the Clark Fork starring the birds in my book that came out last year - they appear to be incubuating. And the one nest in the back yard too. Brace yourselves for Bald Eagle photos ad nauseum. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Pileated On the Pole

This woodpecker was just on the phone pole in the driveway, right where the Harris's Hawk always perches and pigeons line up on the wire. Female Pileated Woodpeckers have less red on the head, and she was hammering on the pole, not for insects but to proclaim, "This is my yard!" When I was a kid we had these things on every house called TV antennas, and woodpeckers learned that they were perfect resonators. It was a common sound back then, that metallic tapping to mark nesting territories. Just like sonic booms and Passenger Pigeons.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Raptor Round-Up 45

It's Up! The whole 8 pages on line, and in living color. I sent out 200 copies in the mail yesterday, and all good news: Our new kestrels and book, Peregrine Watch, snowy winter, upcoming programs, Bald Eagle nest, over 30 photos...WOW! Read it here. Also check out some past issues, and we've come a way since Raptor Round Up #1 in 1998, cutting and pasting with scissors and tape.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


A fish delivery to the nest and then off in the wild blue (or white) yonder.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Shout Out

To eagle fans, and those that love Killdeer. A dozen on the beach, Killdeer that is, and yes, these two are mating. Several were here all winter, and wonder how they coped with the blizzards. Now even more are racing around, and such a welcome sight and sound.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Happy Spring

Sonora the Aplomado Falcon and I celebrated the first day of spring today by finishing Raptor Round-Up Newsletter Number 45, off to Pyramid Printers tomorrow.  What the heck is she standing on, you ask. A plastic wombat in her left foot, pangolin in her right, and she'll stand there for hours looking out the window in the office. Other toys scattered about are gifts from our pal, Keith Fialcowitz who can't resist an authentic-looking miniature marsupial. Or reptile and amphibian for that matter. Miss you Keith and happy spring!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Fellow Photographers

Rule of thumb: the minute you pack up your camera and tripod to leave is when something will happen. Tonight I was on the beach for over an hour, pacing and looking up and down river, and then decided enough is enough, time to head home. Nikon back in the backpack, in comes the eagle and exactly then, a big cloud bank ruined the light. Still got this but if only...
Writing the Raptor Round-Up Newsletter, 4 of 8 pages so far, so check your mail next week. And on the web site in living color.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Kingfisher Today

At Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge down the road. Deborah Gosland reported a Peregrine Falcon flying there earlier this week, so she wins for the first reported in the state. Come on over Deb to collect your prize!

Friday, March 14, 2014

March Madness

Some photos from last night. The news is I heard a Saw-whet Owl calling across the slough at dark, so now another distraction - got to find him in the crosshairs of the 500 mm lens. Bigger news is that the new book is done, sent off to my friend John Smallwood for science edits. He's the leading expert and author of the Birds of North America species account for American Kestrels, and a killer rock guitarist and aficionado. So science edits, then Mountain Press Publishing works their magic, and then off to print. Out this year! WHEW!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Sibley's Season

Falcon flying season is drawing to a close, seven months starting September first when upland game bird hunting opens for falconers. By this time of year, the pheasants are wise and tough, and Sibley the Peregrine has pretty much lost interest. Plus, we have a bit of spring weather, amazing after the recent blizzards and snow. That inspires some territorial defense behavior and the occasional aggressive hawk or eagle. So sorry, Sib, and here she is flying Saturday. Maybe one last hunt, then time to molt (and she'll probably lay a bunch of eggs again.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


I hosted friends from Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and the Department of Transportation yesterday on the beach behind the house. Kristi Dubois discovered this Bald Eagle nest in 2011, flying the river to monitor nests for FWP and the Bald Eagle Working Group. That year the pair was  unsuccessful, but they fledged young the next two years. We were joined by Linda Dworak from the DOT, also interested in the nest and from the standpoint of the new bridge construction just upstream 500 yards. Thankfully, the commotion doesn't seem to be too disturbing to the eagles, and looks like incubation just began. DOT will wait until the young fledge in mid- July for the major noise. Thankfully.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Belted Kingfisher

An honorary raptor, like the Northern Shrike. Tonight:

Sunday, March 9, 2014

One Week Ago

This photo was taken last Sunday, pigeons on the line and just before we got plowed out. All this snow is gone now. We had a lake in the driveway and even installed a duck decoy which the dogs and one cat stalked. The next morning the ground had thawed, all the water gone, and decoy high and dry. This will be an amazing spring and water water everywhere. I've seen a Western Meadowlark, male Northern Harrier in full courtship flight, and a bunch of robins today. What a change of seasons in one week.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Peregrine Fund Calendar

We get the month of March, thanks to The Peregrine Fund! And on another note, Chesty the Harris's Hawk spent her first night out in 7 years, thankfully sleeping on the roof of the back porch under an overhang. I hadn't let her out in about a week with the horrific weather, and she was NOT going back in her building yesterday. I got her back this morning at dawn, as she was screaming at the neighbor's dogs. She was absolutely perplexed - our dogs cringe and lay down when she mobs them, and that's why Mookie and Peanut are never outside when she's flying. But, all Golden Retrievers look alike to her, it's just these aren't afraid of a big, bad hawk!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Snowing All Day Long

Thanks to our pal Pat, we are now plowed out. Here are the pigeons flying in the snow, and they stuck it out for over an hour, perched on the telephone line in the driveway then finally went back home. Mookie the Lab is watching the pigeons leave their loft this morning. They fly right by her and she is simply birdwatching. Amazing for a bird hunting dog, good girl and what self control! Pigeons too, and they know the routine.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Hockey Anyone?

A big day here, and all of the text done for the new kestrel book, layout complete, and should be another fine product from Mountain Press Publishing Company. Now the captions (I call them sub-titles) for the 100 photos from Rob Palmer and me.  We are more or less trapped here with snow blown in the driveway and couldn't be more delighted. Getting this book done,  plus birds back in the house overnight with sub-zero temps. Tom is now explaining the rules of the game of hockey to me, big game on TV, and not a favorite sport in Cincinnati where I was raised. Looks like fun to skate around in a big rivalry.