Saturday, October 31, 2015

Bill Harley's In Town!

Our singer/songwriter/storyteller hero Bill Harley will be performing at the Dennison Theater on the U of M campus tomorrow at 2 pm, and a few tickets are still available. Here is a photo of Bill holding Sibley the Peregrine, circa 2009! He has been performing for 35 years now and does he have some yarns that I can relate to. We are his biggest fans in Missoula thanks to Marcia then Annie playing lots of his recordings on MTPR Pea Green Boat and the Childrens' Corner.  AND his a Grammy winning CD/DVD was recorded in our very theater in 2007, "Yes to Running!"I always try to interject a little Bill Harley into my raptor programs. Always.

Friday, October 30, 2015

First Osprey of the Year

I got this photo south of Hamilton, a nest high up on the hills of the Sapphires, April 18th. The first flight shot of the year!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Last Osprey of the Year?

Here's a shot through the trees behind the house, two days ago: Youngster heading south.
Great photo, huh? HA!

Monday, October 26, 2015

More Dog and Falcon and Moose

Mookie and Sib yesterday, the moose in the yard this summer.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sunday in the Bitterroot

Sibley's duck of the day with Mookie guarding, then a moose family minutes later. Wow.

Friday, October 23, 2015


Flying Sibley at One Horse Creek and the nice Aspen grove I was talking about on Wednesday on Montana Public Radio Pea Green Boat. See? Red leaves! No one believed me.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Pretty Post

Okay, a pretty portrait on this foggy day. We can barely see our birds in the yard! So here's the male perched in the nest tree looking regal…but probably looking for an Osprey!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Four Eagles

The other night at the river I didn't take a single picture and when I got back to the house at dark I looked back to see four eagles in the nest tree! So I took this shot from the yard and check it out: the lower eagle on the left is a young of the year, maybe one from that nest. Then the second one over at the top is a year and a half, then a two and a half year old, different plumages. The one on the far right is three and a half with that darkish stripe through the eye. Pretty cool. And saw an Osprey flying over the river yesterday, a late record for us.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Aspens 2015

Internet out for four days, no kidding. Living in the sticks…jeez.
And WOW! Check this out:
Wildlife Hero in Montana  from our pal Thai from Vietnam!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Save Vietnam's Wildlife, Especially Pangolins

We just had a visit from Thai Van Nguyen - the Director of a rehabilitation center far away, SaveVietnam's Wildlife. He was accompanied by Aor from Laos, spreading the word in America about the plight of the pangolin. If you are unfamiliar with this fantastic scaled anteater, join the crowd but you should know more about them. Most species are critically endangered now due to the huge black market in their scales and meat. I have known about these mammals since a kid at the Cincinnati Zoo and actually ate them while in the Peace Corps in Cameroon, West Africa, a fact I admitted to Thai right away. We met the birds at the Raptor Ranch then came inside and he was delighted to spot my taxidermy armadillo (on the ground here) and see that I had a plastic pangolin which he is holding by my Penguin sculpture. As he left I asked if he was angry that I had eaten pangolins and he told me his mother had as well, so many in the yard in Vietnam that she would trip over them in the dark. 1983. Please consider contributing to this wonderful non-profit.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Farewell Fish Hawk

The last Osprey of the year? Just saw one cruising the river low, probably fishing. The latest date I've seen them here is Oct. 13th, 2012, which would be tomorrow. We will miss them but guarantee these Bald Eagles will breath a collective sign of relief and perch out in the open without fear.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Last Night

With all of the bird programs in Bozeman and Darby plus searching for the wayward Peregrine, I hadn't been down to the beach in over a week. Last night the two eagles, male and female were in the nest tree chillin'. It sure gets dark a lot sooner, and back at the house by 6:30. For those of you asking about the great falcon chase, no, Jay's bird had never been to One Horse Creek but had been flown on game 25 miles south of here several times. We just think she was migrating, and totally lucked out to intercept her in Victor!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Saga:

Jay was flying his Peregrine Ki on Hungarian Partridge up west of Kalispell on Saturday morning, this her second season. For some reason, she just got up and split, the nightmare of all time for any falconer. With two transmitters beeping on the radio telemetry receiver he knew she was close twice, heading west and south but then no signal at all the first day I was enlisted to help. We drove all over the place for eight hours, including up the Thompson River and down the west side of Flathead Lake to Ninepipes Refuge. I arrived home right at dark and just for fun I turned on my receiver in the driveway as I had done that morning in the dark. BEEP BEEP! She was up One Horse Creek across the road where I fly Sibley all the time! With Jay there first thing yesterday we tracked her flight and she was heading south way back in the Bitterroot Mountains, so frustrating as she would have to see us to come to the lure. Finally at about 3 pm we found a spot where she had retreated from high up in the mountains but still behind a hill at Bear Creek. I was tracking and Jay was throwing the lure when the signal got louder and louder. I don't know why but I looked over my shoulder and high up, a black speck in the sky. The binoculars revealed a falcon and she turned from her southern route, got in this position in the photo (from last year) and seconds later was on the lure and eating a quail with great gusto, like nothing had happened over the last 5 days! A miracle. Probably 160 miles, as the crow flies.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Guess What I've Been Doing the Last Two Days?

Chasing Jay Sumner's flying Peregrine Falcon for hundreds miles from west of Kalispell north to south of my house and Victor, Montana. Jay spent five days total, me two. 1799 miles of driving highways and backroads and searching until we found Ki to have her stoop from the sky from 500 feet up to the lure; she was a migrating bird heading south high over the Bitterroot Mountains. Wait until you hear more about this miracle recovery. I am astounded and still can hardly breath.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Noon Today

Sib flew all over at One Horse Creek today after being tied to her perch for two days!

Dumping at the Bowl

Bridger Bowl that is, and that's Sibley yesterday at a program at the Bridger Raptor Festival in Bozeman. It was 499 miles round trip, and great audiences.  Bummer about the weather as far as viewing migrating hawks and eagles, but the two lodges were packed with bird-lovers and anything Raptor. We started with the Keynote Address Friday night at the Museum of the Rockies, and arrived just as they were locking the door to the dinosaur hall. It reminded me of the  movie Vacation when the drive across country to visit WallyWorld to find it closed for renovation. Oh well. A BIG PowerPoint to start things, then Sib, iPod, Alisa the hawk and finished with Jillian the TEDX Talk Owl, a group hoot and a standing ovation! Just the second time we were awarded such an honor, the other in Boston and that may have been initiated by my father- and sister-in-law...

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Popular Perch

This is the dead top of the Ponderosa Pine that houses the eagle nest and first a Merlin flew in last night. That's a dragonfly that she ate in two bites, what a score. This is a columbarius subspecies, also known as Taiga or Boreal Merlin to further complicate things, with three light bands on the tail. A minute later in flew an eagle with several magpies in tow. That's a popular spot across the river, and I'll bet I've seen well over a dozen species standing up there, raptors and prey species alike!