Sunday, May 31, 2020

More Balsamroot

Probably the last forays into Arrowleaf Balsamroot Land, as they have just about peaked out here. See you next year!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Bees Be Gone

A shapeshifting ball 'o bees all day, constant checks, then at 4:20, they were all gone. Advice on FaceBook ranged from "get a beekeeper" (free-roaming bees, our choice) to "the queen will split when she gets advice from the workers." What an entomology experience. I remember a dear friend from out-of-state asked me why all these filing cabinets were out in the roadside fields in Montana? Bee hives! Bye bees, and good luck! 
And some flickers today.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020


Tom heard the dogs barking yesterday afternoon and went outside to find thousands of honey bees swarming in the yard. They finally settled on this pine tree, four feet up and a mass measuring 20" x 12", bees flying into the mass at dark. This is the same tree that fledged five magpies last weekend. We'll see what happens with these thousands of bees, pollinate like crazy.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Arrowleaf Balsamroot Haven

We have a gorgeous view for several weeks a year, Arrowleaf Balsamroot as far as you can see. I have a different bunch of photography settings for this landscape instead of birds in flight - slow shutter and high f-stop to get that depth of field.  Our other Secret Spot was revealed when a "photographer" posted on FaceBook the exact location a few weeks ago. No more, and sure bummed us out. The ceaseless search for a Secret Spot...

Friday, May 22, 2020

Phone Service and Flood Waters

First, when I was doing the "phoney" with Annie on the radio yesterday, all of our phone service died. Smart phone, dumb phone and landline. What are the chances?
And the Bitterroot River came up a few feet and we installed the sump pumps in the crawl space, lots and lots of crawling. Then good ole Mike DeNeve came over with the skid steerer and we rescued the floating bridge that usually lives over the slough. Whew, much better. And wait and see how high the water will get. One year we had sandbags up where that green gate opens. HIGH water.

Thursday, May 21, 2020


Annie Garde has invited me on the Montana Public Radio show Pea Green Boat today. We've been on the Boat about 100 times with live birds, but this time from the safety and comfort of this very chair at home in the office. A Phoney Visit (on there phone...Just made that up). At 4 pm today, KUFM in Missoula 89.1 FM dial, left of the dial across the rest of the region.
And a Canada Goose nest across the road.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Magpie Sanctuary

The first nest fledged six young on Sunday, then today the one by the office fledged five. The domed stick nests are in pine trees we planted when we moved in, about forty yards apart. I don't know how they all fit in there, a mystery, but must be great when the lock-down is over. And deafening, 11 begging babies!
And thanks for all the condolences regarding Simon and Adrian Caddy on Facebook. They are so missed.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Absolute Tragedy

I am finally posting news of the tragic loss of dear friend Adrian Caddy, killed in a motorcycle accident near his home in the UK two months ago. I met Adrian about 20 years ago, a delegate at the International Wildlife Film Festival where we shared a panel. He later brought his sons Simon and Alex every couple of years as they were growing up, staying here at the Raptor Ranch, and they loved swimming at the river with the dogs. Adrian was due back here this weekend to spread the ashes of Simon on that beach. Simon was killed in a motorcycle accident three years ago, absolutely devastating. This has taken so long to sink in, that they are both gone in an instant. The times we shared are cherished, and big plans for the future are shattered. Rest In Peace, Mate. You are so missed, love you all so much, Caddys.
Alex, Adrian, Simon and me, circa 2004
Alex and Adrian at the river, 2017
Adrian with his carving gift and Simon our owl named for his son.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Sandpiper Art Gallery

Bev Beck Glueckert and I have a show in Polson for the next few months, now that the galleries are open. I met Margery Christensen (here) on a flight back from the Raptor Conference last fall, and before you knew it, we had agreed on a gig at her gallery! The joke is that I told her, "Only if there's no pandemic." So it was installed yesterday and printmaking galore, Bev's pieces on the right, mine on the left. Cool!     306 Main Street, Polson, MT    

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Crane Crossing

Sandhill Crane Official Crossing Spot, today. A friend worked at the front desk at Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks in Missoula for over twenty years, and I asked her what was the funniest comment she had ever heard. Without missing a beat she informed us that a woman called and wanted their "Wildlife Crossing" sign moved from her street, because the darned deer were in her yard all the time. No kidding.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The Unluckiest Squirrel of All

I just went out to feed Simone the Red-tail and look what she caught- a young Columbian Ground Squirrel that picked the WRONG place to wander. A Darwin Award, for sure. I remember when the Prairie Falcon caught a snake in there once and she carried it around for days.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Mother's Day On the River

A tradition is looking for Peregrines with Mom up the Blackfoot for Mother's Day. Here is a pop-up Blue Jay card I gave her, and 5 minutes later I was pointing out a singing Song Sparrow near-by. "Look, there's your bird," she exclaimed, spotting a female Peregrine flying around the cliff calling, joined by a male. She saw them first! What a Mom, 86 years young.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

My Walk Every Day

A morning ritual - SnowBowl in the background with my car on the road, up the hill at One Horse Creek. Nico loves to play in the irrigation ditch, running up and down, and Mookie just lays down in the water. Fun, and thanks Bob and Deb!

Thursday, May 7, 2020


We just had another Live Program on the computer for 50 5th graders, this time for Florence Elementary School. Sonora the Aplomado Falcon (shown here), Sibley the Peregrine and Owen the Northern Saw-whet Owl (lower screen shot) were the guest stars. Best was when all the students hooted like an owl at the end, every face on the screen. I told them I would forever remember this day, no kidding. Excellent!

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Classroom and Calliope

WE have another virtual Raptors of the Rockies program from here in the office today. This time, Florence 5th graders, thanks Deb Dixon.
And a Calliope Hummingbird just before it got dark last night.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Peregrines at Johnsrud

Our new friend Kendahl Miller snapped this shot as Mom and Bets and I were watching the Peregrines at Johnsrud today. Plus Kendahl, Ashley and Stone, two months old today!

Friday, May 1, 2020

Coots are your Pals

And another ZOOM next week - 5th graders.