7-23-13 Field Note

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7-23-13 Field Note

July 23, 2013

Eric Rasmussen shares images displaying an array of the birdlife at the MPG Ranch including banding and attaching geolocator chips.

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A great-horned owl surveys Woodchuck creek from a low perch.

Nearby an exposed mourning dove nestling sits motionless.

A long-billed curlew was on high alert from the top of Partridge Alley when a long-tailed

The weasel moved quickly, exploring ground squirrel holes.

Grasshopper sparrows were detected in new locations this year, mainly below the orchard house treated grasslands. This one was south of the north center pivot, east of the osprey nest.

A blue racer sought shade under my vehicle. It was irritated when I moved it out of the way.

Many nests fledged recently. This adult chipping sparrow no longer brings food to its young. Instead, it waits for the first fledgling to fly over for the reward. 

A young northern flicker begs for food.

The Avian Science Center bands a young red-naped sapsucker.

An American goldfinch and lazuli bunting (above), and a black-headed grosbeak (below) display vivid color in a landscape that is quickly turning brown.

This gray catbird was caught in June, and was the first bird recaptured with a geolocator from last year. It was removed at that time for data collection. On July 19th, the Avian Science Center put another geolocator on the same bird. 

Kate re-sighted two color-banded gray catbirds farther from the banding station than we expected. The Avian Science Center captured one male (top) in 2012, then recaptured him two weeks ago. They replaced last year’s geolocator with a new one. It took Kate an hour to confirm the color bands because this catbird sang from high up in cottonwoods and pines. His territory was 0.27 miles northwest of his 2013 capture location. Kate saw a second banded catbird on the Guest House floodplain, 0.5 miles from the banding station. His geolocator is visible in this picture (bottom). The ASC captured him for the first time this year.

There are few colors in western Montana as brilliant as the belly of a Lewis’s woodpecker.

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