Sunday, May 31, 2015

Last Night's Rainbow

I always try to get pigeon pictures when we have a rainbow.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Always Look Up

Hey! A Black-crowned Night Heron! Just kidding and a photo from years ago with Rob and Nick in Santa Rosa, California. Got rained out tonight and fled the beach in a hurry.

Friday, May 29, 2015

A Little Sun

While on the banks of the Bitterroot each evening I am constantly looking over my shoulder for three reasons:  to see if a eagle is flying in,  to check out the Pileated Woodpecker nest, and most importantly - watching the darned clouds that constantly change the lighting conditions. All of my settings are manual so ISO is swapped 20 times when we have intermittent bright light then darkness. Last night the male flew so close I cut off a wing tip, then feeding time in the nest, practically nighttime. No shots lots of evenings, oh well, and missed an Osprey swooping in as I departed.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Cloudy Days

Last night, and now racing down to the beach singing, "Here Comes the Sun." It's all right.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Monday, May 25, 2015

Fish Feeding

Literally an hour before something happened last night on the beach, then fast and furious fish deliveries. The female caught one by the nest and all three chicks were fed little slivers of sushi. Then the male brought in a trout. I think we may already have seen the high water levels. Is that possible?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Juan Pablo Montoya Wins

What a race today, the Indy 500 and our favorite driver won. Coming back from absolute last at 30th after an early hit, a thrilling last few laps.  I am a huge motorsports fan (Formula 1) and even hosted Robbie Buhl here at the Raptor Ranch back in a 2004, pole sitter for the 500. The caption for this photo was "Who is faster?" Sibley the Peregrine ties with Robbie, top speed of 230 miles per hour. Falcons on their own, without a car.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Something Completely Different

Two nights in a row without a single photo on the beach. Terrible light with dark clouds and lethargic eagles...and picture-taker. So just have to share this Pileated Woodpecker female that landed near-by a few weeks ago. By the pupil size (almost totally black) you can tell the it was dark, nearly sunset, but fun background of the river downstream. She was poking her head out of the nest on the river this evening, nothing but fun coming up as the season progresses. This is exciting.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Little Slide Show

I thought this would be fun to see the progression of photos in my PowerPoint for HawkWatch last week. It was on kestrels, so the happy couple at the top, each image a "slide" on the big screen.
She splits in a hurry then something startles the male...The audience just saw the tip of a dark wing then WOW! Incoming eagle. That was a fun response.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Pearl Jam Friend

Eddy Vedder performed "Daughter" on the almost final David Letterman show last night, Cool! And some photos with Pearl Jam bass player extaordinaire here in Missoula at the skate park at his house, Jeff Ament. Shots below are Randy Katen and Kimbo, impressive moves.


I could see all three chicks, but only got clear photos of two. She was feeding them some nice viscera, then landed in the snag near-by. My guess is the oldest is 43 days old now, and sometimes they stay in the nest until they are 90. The free-meal-thing.

May 18th

Monday, May 18, 2015

Beginner's Luck

Unbelievable. A male Black-chinned Hummingbird showed up in 2010 and must be this same bird. He's in the yard all the time and I started photographing him with my Nikon D700 and 300 mm lens, standing on a ladder with a sand bag on the top step. Now it's the D800 with the 500 mm, kind of slow with just 6 frames per second with the motordrive. So yesterday I hauled out the ladder, slapped the sand on the top, hit the trigger and got this photo in the first second! I have literally hundreds and hundreds of portraits of this guy, and this may be the best. I'm still heading out there, taking a break from my 990 taxes. By the way, longevity record for this species from the Bird Banding Lab - 11 years, 2 months, a banded bird recaptured an released in Texas!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Antelope Island Field Trip

Shawn Hawks of HawkWatch and I conducted a field trip to check on kestrel nest boxes Friday, Antelope Island State Park in the Great Salt Lake, Utah. The rain hampered kestrel sighting a bit, but check this out - the circles are owl nests in a hay shelter. Left is a Barn Owl and right, a Great Horned, both with chicks! The arrow is the adult Great Horned and below, the female and "branching" nestlings standing on the nest box. Question: What do Great Horned Owls eat? Answer: Everything and one would think, Barn Owls but here they all are "living in harmony" for now at least. I would never believe it had I not seen it myself.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Back From Salt Lake City

Many thanks to our friends at HawkWatch International for my trip to the Great Salt Lake Bird Festival. A blast!  A program on kestrels Thursday evening with an acoustic blues band, scrumptious food and local beer, and PowerPoints by me and here, Dave Oleyar and my favorite slide in the background: "Darth Kestrel: My Life Battling Voles for the Empire." Then Shawn Hawks on our field trip yesterday to Antelope Island (and even saw an antelope) standing at a silo that had fledged Barn Owls. And everyone's favorite bird expert/artist guru David Sibley at our book signing. His line stretched forever, fans hauling in stacks of field guides for an autograph, tattered copies and brand-new-addition versions to be treasured forever. Thanks Joseph Dane of HawkWatch. We love you guys and gals!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Last Night

I am pretty sure this was the female bringing in the grass. Off to the airport, and see you in Salt Lake!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

HawkWatch International Program Tomorrow

"Join us for a a fun klee klee kle-evening with the HWI staff and friend Kate Davis as we celebrate the release of her new book American Kesrtrel: Pint-sized Predator." A PowerPoint on the big screen, lots of stories, and some all-new photos from this spring as promised.  6-9 pm at Publik Coffee, 975 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Fingers Crossed

My camera and lens seem to be working now, some adjustments to the connections and sensors by Michael at The Dark Room. The autofocus was out of whack after I fell, tripped by the dogs in their excitement to go to the river. So the experiment worked with these shots in an overcast evening, threatening to rain.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Last Evening's Chick

One of the three, growing like weeds and starting to flap and jump around the nest. One of them was way off to the side and could just barely see him/her. The night before both dogs slammed into the back of my legs and I wiped out in the driveway, falling on the camera. Some trouble with focusing now (major major bummer) so might have to send the 500 mm lens into Nikon Pro Services. What terrible timing, but hopefully the turnaround time will be quick. (ps: it might be the D800 camera body. Experiments in the yard photographing the pigeons. We'll see.)

Friday, May 8, 2015

Spring Cleaning

Power-washing the buildings, raking and adding new sand from the beach and fresh pine needles to all the floors, replacing astroturf on perches, shade cloth for the eagles and finally - their Mr. Turtle swimming pool for summer bathing and enjoyment!

Thursday, May 7, 2015


Okay, not film. (ps: Hey Bloggers - hit that donate button so I can buy more film! from Tuesday) Digital, but we could still use sponsorship of Raptors of the Rockies! We generate money through program fees and merchandise sales, but half of funding comes from good ole donations by Raptor Backers. We are seeing big gays of Blog views, so I thought I'd let everyone kno. And here's an Osprey last week at a nest way up on the hill over the Bitterroot River near Sleeping Child Creek- one of four Ospreys present.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

One More


I finally located a kestrel nest, one of those that was featured in the new book but vacant last year. It's easy - across the highway at a friend Gary's house, in an old broken-off cottonwood snag bordering a horse corral. Today was the first I've seen the birds, and a joy to behold. And just my luck, as I was packing the camera back in the car, a pair of Canada Geese flew in and one landed in the depression in the top of the snag which scared the female kestrel out of the cavity below. She immediately flew back and chased the giant sissy honker away! Missed it with the camera, but saw it with my eyes. Seems like I say that alot.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Kestrel Saga

So, down at the river last night and male kestrel lands in the snag across the river. A few minutes later he flies to a second tree, copulates with a female that showed up (bet he knows her) then this pose. She takes off and one of the eagles shows up. That was probably coincidence that the eagle wanted to perch there and not aggression toward the little falcon. Wow, as I am anxiously looking for kestrels to photograph for the program in Salt Lake City next Thursday. "All new shots from this spring," I promised.
ps: Hey Bloggers - hit that donate button so I can buy more film!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Bighorn Rams

Bighorns, Flathead Lake, Arrowleaf Balsamroot and the Mission Mountains, yesterday.

Friday, May 1, 2015


I got lots of flight shots but this was my favorite from last evening, just as the moon was rising in the east. I just had to move downstream a little bit and voila! All I need now is an American flag. Just kidding.