05-02-14 Bird Field Note

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05-02-14 Bird Field Note

May 2, 2014

Eric Rasmussen's Field Note reports on a Sage Thrasher sighting, raptor migration counts, and owl nest monitoring.

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Bird Field Note Eric Rasmussen April 25th, 2014

A Sage Thrasher forages in an open area of lower Partridge Alley. This is only the third time we’ve seen one on the property. Kate Stone documented this species twice before in the early fall, both in Tongue Creek.

A flushed Great-horned Owl sits alert in Partridge Alley, with an American Kestrel keeping close tabs.

Accipiters continue to dominate the count, accounting for half of the total raptors counted this week. Turkey Vultures, American Kestrels, Red-tailed Hawks, and Osprey were also seen on a daily basis. The highlight of the week were three Swainson’s Hawks. A large-scale trough of low pressure settled over the west, and is forecast to impact our area through the weekend. We will likely see another surge of migrants on the heels of this moist Pacific weather. A ridge of high pressure builds into the intermountain west by the start of next week, bringing warm and dry conditions.

An adult Red-tailed Hawk rises on a thermal from below, giving us a dorsal and ventral view.

An Osprey stands out against blue sky as it flies high overhead.

A Merlin pauses after a flurry of unsuccessful stoops on a flock of American Pipits.

One of the American Pipits cocks its head skyward to examine the threat.

Peace and tranquility returns when the flock of hunted birds give the signal for safe skies.

While tracking the Northern Pygmy-owl in the Woodchuck subdivision, Kate and William watched a pair of Golden Eagles exhibit territorial behavior.

The eagle activity centered over this snag in the middle of the subdivision.

Eventually one of the eagles carried fine nesting material into a stick nest on the snag.

Kate and William visited an area where William detected a pair of Long-eared Owls during a night survey. Within minutes they located this roost.

The male owl keeps well hidden in his roost.

The owls nest in a mistletoe platform high in a Douglas-fir. The female flushed off the nest, revealing five eggs.

The female owl stuck close to the nest, emitting warning calls and clacking her bill.

The owl crew also peeped into the Great Horned Owl nest found last week.

One lone, week-old owlet sits in the nest with what looks like part of a snowshoe hare.

The Clark’s Nutcracker nest has just one nestling, though we can see at least one unhatched egg beneath it.

Nest map

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04-22-14 Bird Field Note