03-21-13 Bird Field Note

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03-21-13 Bird Field Note

March 22, 2013

Debbie Lieck's Field Note describes hungry mountain bluebirds, a newly found golden eagle nest, and the sounds of a mountain lion's caterwauling.

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Capricious, early spring weather blankets the valley with snow.

A puffy, Say’s phoebe surveys the wintery landscape and contemplates the breakfast menu.Two gray partridge flush and reveal their cozy, sheltered roosts beneath the grass. WB A

A territorial, male western meadowlark countersings with his neighboring rival, below. They defy the snowy conditions and command spring to return with melodic, rolling song.

Large, roving flocks of hungry mountain bluebirds scour open areas, searching for insects.Surprisingly plump ground squirrels wake from their underground, winter-long slumber.

Prairie smoke (above) and death camas (below) endure the challenging conditions.

From Indian Ridge, the raptor crew watches a skittish elk herd clump into a tight circle.

Kate notices fresh greens placed in the large stick nest in Tongue Creek. An adult golden eagle circles the nest, dips over it, and then perches in the surrounding conifers.

Rob Domenech shares a recently acquired photo of a golden eagle. The wing tag, 205, indicates he banded it on MPG in early January. Several weeks later, a camera located east of Plains and 100 miles away from the ranch, catches the young bird on this carcass.

How many pellets can a long-eared owl produce over the winter? Kate collects a full gallon from a known roost area in lower Tongue Creek; this spot was last visited in early December. Gray partridge and ruffed grouse feathers also dot the ground under the roost.

Mountain Lion

Barn Owl

Contributors: William Blake Rob Domenech Kate Stone

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