Monday, October 31, 2016

Last 'O the Leaves

It looks like the aspens near Sib's playground hit their peak red colors when I was at the conference, but caught some photos just before they dropped. I love this little grove of trees and not as easy as you would think, photographing root-bound subjects. I have a hundred shots from the last three years, just ask my Mom and sister - that's what they get for Christmas! And here was Sib taking a break after chasing a pheasant that dove to the ground right as she was going to grab it. She sailed right over the top and looked at her feet like a baseball player that thought he had just caught a fly ball...but hadn't.  Go Cubs!

Saturday, October 29, 2016


After I said I wouldn't stand there for hours photographing an eagle perched in a tree, I did just that tonight. Sixty shots and lots of fun.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Women Heroes

Katie Harrington and Becca McCabe of the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary had the near-impossible task of topping the Raptor Research Foundation Conference last year in Sacramento, and they pulled it off. They got the notion of a plenary panel called "Women in Raptor Research: Trailblazers and the Next Generation," and take a look at who they chose! We heard a little history from each and their thoughts on the future for women in the field, both literally and figuratively.  That's Katie and Becca behind our speakers and sure made me proud.

Banquet Sunset

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Grand Finale

At some point in the Raptor Conference I drew this little hawk head which was spotted by David Sibley when he arrived Thursday night. He emailed -"I just walked into the Grand Hotel at Cape May and saw your "mark" on the whiteboard. You must have been here for the RRF meeting, are you still around?" Sure enough we met up the next morning and I helped him sign the official conference painting that he made, raptors circling the lighthouse. Framed and on the wall now. On the beach he pointed out the migrating lines of scoters, which I had assumed all this time were cormorants, oops. Here he is with Dr. Tom Cade, a Hero-Fest in New Jersey! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Etta Hui is COOL!

Back in 2008 when Raptors of the Rockies and U of M hosted the Raptor Research Foundation in Missoula, I received an email in broken English. It was from Etta Hui in Hong Kong and she was having trouble joining RRF, so I just sent a check and signed her up. She is a Black Kite biologist and educator, Hong Kong so very different than Montana. Etta arrived at the conference a bit early so I drove her around the campus. Grizzly football was in practice mode, so I rolled down her window and had her shout "Go Griz!" in her little voice and she repeated it every time I saw her during the week.  She gave me a set of gorgeous cloisonnĂ© owls that I have treasured here in the office. Fast forward 8 years and she gave me these new owls in Cape May. Etta had gifts from China for all of her friends, and I gave her a pack of my 35 greeting cards and envelopes, and bet you ten bucks they will never be mailed. Thanks pal, Etta!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Peregrine Fund PowerPoint

I had the extreme pleasure of riding the shuttle back to the airport Friday with the founder of The Peregrine Fund and all-time hero Dr. Tom Cade. With a captive audience I decided to run my Powerpoint by him to see his reaction which was fantastic - even a little video of Sonoreo the Aplomado.  This was the slide in question: leave it in or take it out, and the vote was thumbs up. This was a program for sponsored by the Chamber with cocktail hour courtesy the gals from Hooters. The other passengers also approved, Kevin Corwin of Colorado, Oliver from Germany and Torgeir Nygard from Norway. Great conference and friends!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Peregrine Fund!

See you in Boise at the World Center for Birds of Prey Thursday, Nov. 10th!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

I'm Back!

What news on the way from the Cape May, New Jersey Bird Observatory and the 50th annual Raptor Research Foundation Conference. In attendance were Ian Newton, Tom Cade, David Sibley, a couple of hundred old and new tuned and going through the photos.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Raptor Research Foundation Conference

Up at 4:30 am tomorrow and flying to our annual conference, this time in Cape May, New Jersey - raptor migration capital of the East Coast. What a treat to not be Conference or Education Chair so planning on being a tourist. I'll try to figure out how to post a Blog or two, but I'm not very technically advanced. And a Black-chinned Hummingbird that has nothing to do with anything.

Book of the Month

The Trail 103.3 FM is partnering with The Book Exchange to bring you the Trail Book Club, a fun new outlet for you to share in your reading adventures!
This month we're enjoying "Birds are People, Too," by local author and bird expert Kate Davis.
Davis, author of 2011's "Raptors of the West", presents the magic of birds in this humorous new collection of photos.
Enjoy a discount on "Birds Are People Too" at the Book Exchange, and don't forget to share your experience on their Facebook page!
It's the Trail Book Club, sponsored by The Book Exchange.
Available from us, too!

Friday, October 14, 2016


The other night two Belted Kingfishers were all riled up, chattering and chasing each other all evening as I stood on the beach. They were racing around behind me in the slough and one showed his face at the river briefly for a snapshot. I just finished this etching of a female kingfisher, newly remodeled "studio" upstairs. I submitted this Artist's Proof in the Missoula Art Museum Auction and we'll see if it's accepted.I just started a Bald Eagle etching - plenty of reference material, that's for sure!

Thursday, October 13, 2016


I flushed a hen pheasant first, which brought Sibley the Peregrine back with us from her goofing off a quarter mile away. Now she was paying attention. Then Mookie flushed this one which she caught. Peanut the Golden Retriever missed the whole thing, as it is hard get her attention. She is 15 years old and deaf as a post, but one happy camper.
Last is Nigel, Max, and Sonny fall colors to the North and MPG Ranch across the river. I love this time of year.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A Stick?

One eagle was in the scenic snag and suddenly flew away to return with a stick, which he added to the nest. Just planning ahead I guess, about six months. Plus a snapshot of Sib bombing around yesterday and she's getting in shape with the daily exercise. Now, some ducks!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Four Year Old

I was bundled up in the cold wind on the beach last night, and still nothing going on for an hour. Happily this Bald Eagle showed up just before the sun dipped behind the mountains (which is at 6:08 now!) A big bird so probably a female, and standing in the nest tree for a while - could that be the young from 2012? She still has some dark feathers on her head and brown on the beak, plus dark terminal tips on all the white tail feathers. She was interacting with a magpie, seemed like old hat, and I left her perched over the eagle nest in the dark.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Same Kestrel?

I was just looking for a photo from the beach from last year and came across this kestrel attack. I'll bet you ten bucks that is the same kestrel that was riding the Bald Eagle fledgling's head from the Blog posted July 7th. Sure looks the same with those ratty feathers and ferocious look on her face. Fearless falcon! Sure not much happening on the beach lately and several evenings without a single photograph. Oh well, over now.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Friday, October 7, 2016

Final Photo

I am sending in the limit of ten photos to Montana Outdoor Magazine for their annual photography issue, and came across a gem I had forgotten about. This is one of the two Bald Eagles just after she fledged in July, posing on the beach. Immaculate bird with perfect plumage all the feathers growing in at once over the months in the nest and no damage...yet. The deadline is Oct 14th, if you have some beautiful shots of Big Sky Country, or it's outdoor inhabitants.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Behavior Explained

I wondered why the Peregrine stooped on an Osprey flying by the other night, and maybe she was trying to pirate a fish. Talking to biologist Terry McEneaney yesterday he described a Peregrine nest in Yellowstone that routinely had large fish in it, turns out stolen from an Osprey! I think this was just a "can't resist scaring another big raptor" behavior. Here are some photos from September, adult Ospreys on the beach, swooping on a Bald Eagle and launching into space.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Action In the Shadows

I almost didn't head down to the beach yesterday evening, as it was so darn dark with light drizzle. However, I was treated to a two year old Bald Eagle ducking from a Duck Hawk (Peregrine) and the same Peregrine joined by her little buddy, the magpie. Plus the falcon stooped on an Osprey that hightailed it out of there, what fun.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Same Peregrine

I was just buying a sack of bird seed at Ace Hardware and took it from the young man delivering it to my car from out back. "I have a bird in my car," I told him gesturing to Sibley standing on her perch. He practically shouted, "That's not a bird! That's a hawk!" Close enough.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Crazy Magpie

Last night I was treated to a young female Peregrine hunting from the snags across the river. She flew upstream at warp speed and missed a magpie standing on the beach - he leapt straight in the air. Five magpies joined the falcon in the snag, this one buddying up, sort of! Crazy.

Saturday, October 1, 2016


Here is a snapshot of Sib flying at One Horse Creek today, up a couple of hundred feet then cruising in for her reward.  I had her at a little speech about Peregrine populations in the Bitterroot last Saturday. On stage at the 175th Anniversary of Stevensville we touted the Bitterroot Valley as having 15 Peregrine Falcon nests. Then I walked around meeting the revelers and heard a man behind me explain to his wife what I had on my glove. "That's a  Pelegrine," he asserted. Pelegrine? I now want to make this hybrid cross with a pelican in Photoshop. That will give me something to do...HA!