05-07-13 Bird Field Note

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05-07-13 Bird Field Note

May 7, 2013

Kate Stone's Field Note describes a long-billed curlew nest discovery, raptors, and a new long eared owl nest.

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Kate Stone Field Note 05-07-13

We saw all that spring in Montana offers this week. Ominous grey skies, heavy winds, cold temperatures and new snow, were followed by sunshine and 70° weather.

On Monday I found a long-billed curlew nest with four eggs. The curlews chose a slightly protected area of open grassland, close to their presumed breeding area last year. We saw another pair of curlews using the same area.

Winds gusted to over 50 mph on Monday. This mountain bluebird clung to an exclosure during a windy gust.

After Tuesday night’s snowfall, several accipiters and a peregrine falcon roosted on the floodplain until conditions improved for foraging and movement.

Wednesday morning’s dense fogbank as viewed from above.

Dusky grouse males looking for mates risk predation when they make themselves visible.

This female American kestrel near the Tongue Creek stock tank finally showed me her color bands. Raptor View Research Institute banded “AK 43” on 4/22/12 at a nest box about 0.6 miles from the natural cavity territory she and a male seem to occupy.

Moisture leads to mushroom emergence.

emergence. Mourning doves dominated shrubby draw sampling in Partridge Alley. We detected them on the ground, perched in available shrubs and trees, and on all of the telephone lines.

lines. Two families of Canada geese use one of the floodplain’s backwater sloughs.


The bald eagles continue to incubate and wait.

A flock of over 50 violet-green swallows silently passed over the floodplain during sunrise surveys on Wednesday morning.

morning. This week we welcomed back many more white-crowned sparrows and ruby-crowned kinglets (top). New arrivals included orange-crowned warblers (bottom), yellow-rumped warblers, Lewis’s woodpeckers, and house wrens.

We found our fourth long-eared owl nest on the east face of Little Baldy. It nested in a stick nest placed on a clump of mistletoe. A territorial Cooper’s hawk vocalized in the same area.

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