05-30-13 Field Note

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05-30-13 Field Note

June 2, 2013

Eric Rasmussen's Field Note describes a coyote interaction, bitterroot blooms, and Lewis's woodpeckers.s

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05-30-13 Field Note

Tree swallows dry off between rain showers.

A bull snake (above) and a blue racer (below) take advantage of warm gravel. They were less than one hundred meters from each other.

other. Two tom turkeys gave their best show to an aloof female that kept walking off.

A coyote barked and howled when I suddenly came upon the den. Two others followed me over the ridge to make sure the area was safe.

Coyote den map

Recent spraying of crested wheatgrass leaves an area devoid of vegetation, for now. Few birds occupy territories here. One strip of untreated earth remains because of planted trees. A single vesper sparrow, singing from a tree enclosure, was the only bird I detected within 100 meters.

A small draw holds a few mushrooms that come with the rain. Commonly called a slippery jack, this fungus has a spongy underside instead of gills.

gills. A pair of brown-headed cowbirds might be looking for a nest in Baldy draw. They lay eggs in a foreign nest and rely on other birds to incubate and raise their young.

Winter carnage slowly disappears as ravens and coyotes disperse the remains.

Signs of life appear further up the draw. An American robin nests in sagebrush.

A pair of Lewis’s woodpeckers is fly-catching from bitterbrush. It is unusual to see them out in the open and far from the floodplain.

The yellow-green bitterbrush shrubs pale in comparison to fresh balsamroot.

the day warms, the first bitterroot flower appears in a south-facing rock outcrop.

We recently took advantage of a full moon to count nocturnal migrants as they flew across the illuminated surface. Early on the morning of May 26, we witnessed a migrant push and counted 80 birds during a 140 minute survey. Based on body shape, wing shape, and flight characteristics, most of these appeared to be songbirds. Many flew from the southeast to the northwest at varying altitudes and distances from our observation point.

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