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5.25.17   As I sit in my car observing Red-tailed Hawk Nest #2, a woman stops to chat with me.  I always appreciate that because I learn more about the history and people of the area.  This is a special conversation ~ she tells me about yet another Red-Tailed Hawk nest only a couple of miles away!  And again, it is barely off the road!!  Yep, I am now watching THREE Red-tailed Hawk families!!!

5.27.17  The parent shields her chicks from the hot sun as there is no shade other than the utility pole.  This nest seems a bit small and frail which makes me wonder if it’s a new set of parents.

5.30.17  I know these shots look similar, I tend to arrive about the same time each day.  I don’t stay long at this nest because the road is too close to the nest and obviously makes the family uncomfortable.  Mom tells me to depart immediately!

6.3.17   On my way to the nest I have to stop for an early morning shot of Mt Hood.

Hard for me to tell at this stage which is the older or larger chick.  I missed the incubation stage (28 to 35 days) for this family, but the nestling period for Red-tailed Hawks is 42 to 46 days.

The chicks settle down in the nest.  Baby hawks are called eyasses but many refer to them as chicks and if you read my Hawk Nest #2 post, you know that I think they should be called hawkettes.

6.8.17   It is pouring rain.  The Red-tailed Hawk parent protects her chicks.

6.10.17  The parent is out of the nest today, watching from a nearby utility pole while the other parent soars over a nearby farmer’s fields.

The kids stay in bed and don’t move around much the short time I am here.   A quick stop to check on the chicks, then I’m on my way.

6.11.17  Nice to see you sitting up!  Look at all those big brown flight feathers!!

6.13.17  Both chicks have new feathers growing in and are looking around their environment with interest.

6.15.17   I check my nests every other day now because a couple of nests are close to fledging.  This pair doesn’t seem close at all.

Look at that big stretch!  You can really see the brown feathers filling in.

Doesn’t he look like a little prince?

As I watch this nest and Red-tailed Hawk Nest #2, I notice how tall the wheat is growing.

6.17.17  Sibling rivalry?  The youngest hawk chick siblings are getting darker ~ check out the tail feathers on the right chick.

6.19.17  A beautiful sunny day as I arrive at the nest site.

The hawk chicks are maturing quickly now.  As the youngest nest, they have a few weeks to catch up with their counterparts.

A parent watches from a utility pole down the road.

6.22.17   HEARTBROKEN!!!  Where’s the nest?  The day before, Mother Nature provided a big gust of wind on summer solstice that blew the nest down.  From my car I don’t see the nest or family so I abandon caution, park and jump out to find them.

A parent is frantically calling as she flies overhead, then lands on a post in the field.  I see what must have been the nest strewn across the same field.

After searching from every angle, I finally find one chick in the field.  I hope his sibling is nearby in shade.  Yes.  I called Rowena Wildlife Clinic again to learn what I should do.  “Leave them alone, their parents will provide.”  A reluctant ok from me because they hadn’t even begun to practice flight skills.  Or maybe hopefully they have and I didn’t see it.  Leigh said to call her back tomorrow if the situation worsens.  Again, thank you Leigh.

6.23.17  I return to find one sibling on the ground, but not the other.  I can’t tell if it’s sleeping or….

A parent is still around keeping watch, so I have nothing to report to RWC.

WAIT!  There’s one sibling safely perched behind a wire fence.  I’ll check back on you kids tomorrow.

6.24.17  One Red-tailed Hawk chick is still in the field not looking good & I can’t find the sibling.  No other word for my thoughts but heartbroken…..

6.27.17  Started as a beautiful day in the neighborhood.  I’m holding out hope for the little Red-tailed Hawks.

From across the field I find one sibling perched on a branch behind the fence. YAY!!

I am ecstatic to find the missing chick near his sibling.  See him on the ground in front of the wheat to the right? Maybe he’s just been hiding in the wheat fields!  I confess relief washes over me.

6.29.17  I search and search for the youngest of my Red-tailed Hawk chicks…

They are not anywhere near where I’d last seen them.

Finally I see one chick farther out and sitting on a post!

A parent sits on a utility pole in the distance, but once again I have a missing chick.

7.2.17   A Red-tailed Hawk parent floats in the sky overhead.

The other parent sits on a utility pole surveying the field.

I find one sibling perched on a snag again.

No sight of his brother despite my search.

The wheat fields near this nest have changed color.

7.4.17   My last visit to this nest, I watch the little Red-tailed Hawk ~ now officially a fledgling ~ fly from his perch to a fence post farther out in the field.  I still hold out hope for the other.

His parents are both still flying overhead as I leave.  They’ve probably already begun teaching the little hawk how to hunt.  I hope next year these parents build a bigger, stronger nest!

One last look at this beautiful view on my way out of the area.

More about Red-tailed Hawks at Hawk Watch International, American Birding Association, and Cornell’s All About Birds and a few questions answered from Cornell.

The introductory post in this series where you’ll find links to my other nests as I post them is Empty Nest

 

4.9.17   As I watch this nest on the first afternoon, Dad swoops in with a treat for Mom!  The nest is on a road with light traffic which the hawk family seems comfortable with.  I am able to park off pavement (barely) and observe this family quietly without disturbing them.

4.20.17  This post is probably my longest in this series as I spent the most amount of time with this family, thanks to a lead from Nancy at a wildlife photography presentation I gave for ‘Wild About Nature‘.  Mom does most of the incubating, which takes 28 to 35 days.

4.23.17   My day starts at sunrise from Rowena Crest, then I head out past the Deschutes River to visit the Red-tailed Hawk family.

A parent is still laying in the nest, but wait….are those little downy white feathers I see?????  Could we have chicks????

5.2.17 Hard to say if there is a chick yet as Mom is still lying low in her deep nest.

5.4.17   Today Mom is no longer lying low….Plus I can see little white downy feathers.  If we have chicks, their nestling period is 42 to 46 days.

Lucky me to see Dad fly in with lunch!  I read that the female feeds the chicks and is the main nest duty parent.  Dad does most of the hunting but Mom helps once the chicks can be left ‘home alone’.

5.11.17  Outrunning the rain at dark thirty in the morning to check all my raptor nests, I hope I can keep up with my plan to watch each nest until all chicks fledge.

Both parents are at the nest when I arrive today and I did not outrun the rain.  I decide to park and watch anyway.

One parent takes off…

…the other shakes off the rain.  No visible chicks yet.  Red-tailed Hawks mate for life…or as it’s often said “until one mate dies”.   I find myself wondering how long this pair have been together, their nest is large and sturdy.

5.15.16   WE HAVE A CHICK!!!  I do a little happy dance … silently and motionless inside my car!!!

I watched Mom tenderly feed her chick.

Zoomed in a little closer, he is so precious.  Baby hawks are called eyasses but many refer to them as chicks like other birds…I think they should be called hawkettes.

5.23.17  When I arrive I notice feathers embedded in the tree above the nest and no parent around.  I’m told later by the coordinator of The Feather Atlas that these are Red-tailed Hawk feathers so I wonder what happened to the parent and how those feathers got there.  If it isn’t a parent, who is it?  In the wild, Red-tailed Hawks live less than 12 years generally (in captivity they can live as long as 30 years).  Many die in their first year just from inexperience…they may starve but like other raptors, they are hit by cars, electrocuted by power lines or shot.

The good news is I can see TWO chicks, the one standing and another fuzzy little white head in front.

5.25.17   Awww, clearly I can now see both sibling Red-tailed Hawks.  Simply too cute for words.

5.27.17  Most of the neighbors just smile and wave as I shoot from my car, but today a kind young fellow stopped to talk.  I learned that this nest and the Great Horned Owl nest down the road are fought over each year by the hawk and owl.

As we chat, I catch a glimpse of a parent hawk bringing home a snake for lunch.

As it flew closer, the snake looked bigger.  I read that they take the prey head off with their talons, but it was still moving when placed in the nest.

The tree trunk prevents me from seeing a lot of arrivals and departures, but the kids don’t miss anything.

No different from any kid after a big meal, there is some business to attend to.  This is how raptors keep a clean nest!

Even though my day began at 4am I chose to stay up for the Aurora Borealis prediction and am so glad I did.  I must tell you that if my eyelids could have stayed open another 5 minutes I could have shown you pillars and waves but alas I needed sleep so headed home.

5.30.17  The chicks call for a parent to feed them.  Constantly.

Sure enough, a parent shows up with food!  Most of the food I’ve seen brought back to the nest are snakes and rodents of some sort, but they also eat squirrels, rabbits, and birds.

Mom feeds Little Sibling.

Older Sibling is annoyed….Sibling Rivalry?

6.3.17   Chicks are standing at the edge of their nest!  Be careful kids!  Look at those brown flight feathers growing in!

Stretch those little wings!!

After eating and stretching, the Red-tailed Hawk chicks settle down in their nest.  I call it a good day.

6.8.17  A heavy rainstorm today and I find a Red-tailed Hawk chick alone in the nest. WHERE IS YOUR SIBLING?

He looks so miserable.  What could have happened to his little brother?  I can’t find him anywhere.  Mother Nature, you are so cruel!!

Adding insult to injury, the blackbirds won’t leave him alone.  I spent a long morning watching and wondering.

6.10.17   I can’t stop thinking about this lone little chick and thought maybe I didn’t search thoroughly enough for his sibling.  Alas, what I find is dismaying.  The lone chick is in his nest and it looks like a parent crashed into the tree under his nest.

I don’t know if this is the only parent, due to the feathers seen weeks ago above the nest, so I decide to call Rowena Wildlife Clinic for advice.   “Wait and watch … see if there’s a parent still feeding….” and other pertinent info.  Thank you Leigh for being there!

Meanwhile, the lone chick is jumping on his bed like there’s no tomorrow.

Seemingly delighted to have the place to himself.  In the meantime, I worry and wait and wait and wait.

6.11.17   I return today for a follow-up, for both RWC and myself.  Yay, he has food so someone is feeding him!  I won’t have to go catch mice or snakes and throw them up to his nest.  Yes, I was thinking I would have to become his meal provider!

6.13.17  I’m so relieved to actually SEE a parent flying in with food.  I’m still pondering what happened to the parent under the nest.

Yum, snake seems like the food most readily available.

6.15.17  Once again I see the remaining parent bring home food.  I’m checking as often as I can now to be sure both remaining raptors are ok.

Afterward the parent gets harassed by blackbirds again.  Makes me wonder if blackbirds forced the other parent into the tree…  Or was the other parent defending his chick from a predator, since the chick disappeared the same time as the parent’s crash… Or…

She takes off in flight….

…while her chick jumps on the bed again.  omg so cute!  His feathers are changing rapidly now, look at that beautiful color.

As I wait and watch I notice the wheat fields nearby have grown tall.

6.17.17  I arrive to find the Red-tailed Hawk chick standing on a perch outside his nest.  I haven’t seen him fly, but he can hop up to the perch/landing where his parent delivers food!

6.19.17  It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood!

Little Red Tail gets harassed again by blackbirds while he tries to practice for his first flight.

Looks like a standoff to me.

Sheesh, who knew blackbirds were such bullies!  I guess all’s fair in love & war and this looks like war.

6.22.17  Little Red Tail calls loudly for his parent.

Remember how pathetic he looked that rainy day when I discovered his sibling missing?  What a difference, he’s so beautiful and strong now!

6.24.17   Little Red Tail is further away from the nest on a higher branch and can ‘fly/hop’ from branch to branch above the nest!   It’s about to get exciting….

His parent flies overhead……

Little Red Tail takes off in flight chasing and calling his parent!!!  His calls sounded downright gleeful to my ears.

I’m not sure how this happened, it was so fast.  Either the parent led the fledgling to the rodent in the field, or perhaps the parent dropped it for the fledgling to find.  Little Red Tail pounced on it, played with it for a tiny while, then began to eat.  Now I know how they learn to hunt!!

After eating his own ‘catch’, Little Red Tail takes off from the field and awkwardly lands in a ‘new’ tree farther from his nest.  Learning by leaps and bounds now!!

7.4.17  My last nest check, I am thrilled to see Little Red Tail soaring in the sky across wheat fields.  I’m sad to end his story here but happy knowing the little guy made it this far.

A last look at Mt Hood and wheat fields as I leave the area, wishing Little Red Tail the very best.

More about Red-tailed Hawks at Hawk Watch International, American Birding Association, and Cornell’s All About Birds with a few questions answered from Cornell and Hawk Mountain

The introductory post in this series where you’ll find links to my other nests as I post them is Empty Nest

 

 

3.19.17   I originally saw this empty nest while doing my winter raptor survey for East Cascades Audubon Society and today find a Red-tailed Hawk in it.   The nest is pretty high up in a tree and on private property.  Later, after investigating I found the owner and received permission to enter.

It was a beautiful day in the Gorge as I left to check on the other raptor nests I follow.

3.28.17   The Red-tailed Hawk looks like she’s incubating (keeping eggs warm).  At this point I am looking for the property owner’s permission so am not as close as I’d like.

4.25.17  A parent still sits on the nest.  Both parents share nest duty, so this could be Mom or Dad.  Incubation period for Red-tailed Hawks is 28 to 35 days.

Nest viewed from the road, the smaller trees are each about the size of a farmhouse.  I now have permission to hike in and plan to take cover under the smaller trees.  A long open hike in, I’ll have to somehow avoid parental detection.

Nesting parent’s mate watches me as I open the gate…

…and didn’t like me opening the gate.  Plan aborted, I will figure out a better way to slip in, undetected.

5.11.17   All looks the same from the road, I try to nonchalantly enter again.

Drat, caught again.  This time I am so close to cover that I duck under a tree and wait until the parents settle down.

When I dare lift my camera I catch a shot of a snake on the nest.  Food for chicks or possibly in the nest eating eggs!?  Worried about the family, I quickly leave so the parents can kill it if it’s the latter situation.

5.19.17  From the road I can see THREE CHICKS IN THE NEST!!  I’m still figuring out how to camouflage or otherwise slip in without disturbing the family.

5.23.17  I hike in at dawn, settle in under a tree, then see this sweet little nestling.  Plan worked!

5.27.17   Hiking in at dawn seems to work in avoiding parental stress from the Red-tailed Hawks, but they still see me hiking out..

I drink my morning coffee and eat muffins under the cover of nearby trees while I await the chicks to peer out under the sun.

Each time a parent notices me, I stop and wait for it to think I’m a rock… turns my hike out into an hour-long look at the surrounding fields as I make my way back to my car.  I hike a circular route so a predator following my scent won’t detect where the nest is.

Even though my day began at 4am I chose to stay up for the Aurora Borealis prediction.  If my eyelids could have stayed open another 5 minutes I could have shown you pillars and waves and more color but alas I needed sleep so headed home.

5.30.17    The nestling’s feathers are changing and I thought I saw the third sibling from this vantage point as they stretched their little wings.  It’s a big nest, about 6′ wide and quite sturdy.

6.3.17  Yay, here’s that definitive photo ~ showing THREE Red-tailed Hawk chicks!

Their feathers are growing in so fast, replacing the fuzzy white down.  They look so much the same I wonder if I’ll be able to tell them apart later.

A parent scolds me from above as I hike out.  Sorry.  Red-tailed Hawks mate for life…or as I often read, until one dies.  They return to the same area each year but not necessarily the same nest.

Did I say how early?  This early!  Hiking out is still a problem but at least they see that I’m walking AWAY from the nest.

6.8.17  Pouring rain, no one gets out of bed this morning.  Except me of course!

Hard to see, but one little eye looks out at me.

6.10.17  Standing like little sentries at the front door, the Red-tailed Hawk chicks are growing up fast.  Their nestling stage generally takes 42 – 46 days.

I crept under my cover trees to see the Lone Sentry at the back door.  Obviously I wasn’t sneaky enough.  Sorry!

6.13.17  A windy day, the entire tree rocked back and forth and everyone lies low.  My cover trees didn’t cover very well.

6.15.17  Kids are standing sentry again.  Looks like the nest is getting a bit crowded now as they grow.

6.17.17  Two chicks are standing in the nest, and check out the brave one on the front porch!  Close to fledge I think! 

 

6.19.17  When I arrive there’s only one chick in the nest!  Where’d everybody go?

Ahhh, there’s one sibling perched near the top of the tree, but I didn’t find the third.

Parents are still hunting to feed the chicks, but they’ll soon learn to feed themselves.

Mt Hood reflecting in the Columbia on my way to the next nest.

6.22.17   Nest looks empty, I wonder if it’s worth a walk out, but then I see junior on an upper left branch.

Parents are still circling overhead protecting their offspring.  What great parents they are to have successfully fledged a trio of chicks.

Here’s the last fledgling zoomed way in and cropped.

6.24.17   Red-tailed Hawk fledgling perched on utility pole. Today I watched from the road as they practiced flight skills.

They practice landing and taking off from a utility pole.

On my way home photographers are lining Hwy 14 to see this steam engine train as it travels through the Columbia River Gorge on the way to Bend.

6.27.17   One Red-tailed Hawk chick perched on a branch near his nest with no siblings in sight.

6.29.17  Although I did get to see all 3 siblings practice flight, landings and take-offs I couldn’t camouflage myself enough to hike in and get as many pictures as I did for Nest #2 which I’ll post soon.  We now have an empty nest, everyone has fledged.

7.4.17   I stopped by for one last look and got to watch the triplets soaring overhead.

The Red-tailed Hawk fledglings continue to practice landing and take-off.  The family will stay together while the fledglings build muscle, learn to hunt and become expert fliers.

More about Red-tailed Hawks at Hawk Watch International, American Birding Association, and Cornell’s All About Birds and a few questions answered from Cornell.

The introductory post in this series where you’ll find links to my other nests as I post them is Empty Nest

 

Empty Nest

July 20, 2017

Empty Nest….a phrase with multiple meanings, but in my case quite literally.

I followed seven raptor nests from birth (incubation) until graduation (fledge) this season.  An arduous task barely completed, but I’m ready to show you my journey.

I followed three Red-tailed Hawk nests, (Nest #1, Nest #2 and Nest #3)

…a Great Horned Owl, (link to post here)

…Prairie Falcon triplets (link to post here),

…Peregrine Falcon triplets  (link to post here),

…and a Bald Eagle (link to post here).

I’ve followed nests before, but not this consistently or with as much determination; and never from beginning until end.  I did a ‘nest check’ every 4 to 5 days in the beginning, then every 3 to 4, then 2 to 3 days until the raptors were close to fledging when I checked every other day….and sometimes every day!

Starting mid to late March with a couple of nests, I picked up more as I went along.  My last day was July 4th when the Bald Eaglet fledged (I now call him ‘Freedom’, of course!)  Some days I shot thousands of photos, some days only a few, depending on circumstances at each nest site.

What got me started you ask?  I participate in a raptor survey each winter for East Cascades Audubon Society.  This winter I noticed empty nests through branches of deciduous trees and decided to keep my eye on them.  I also noticed a Prairie Falcon perched at the opening of a ‘stick’ nest high on a cliff that was likely occupied by Ravens last season.  A couple of people gave me leads for other nests when they heard about my project and I followed up on those.  Only one location was on private land and I’m grateful for owner permission to enter that gate.

Special thanks to mentor cjflick on this project.  She showed me many historical falcon sites and while together one day, we observed Peregrine Falcons flying into a known location that was formerly a Red-tailed Hawk nest.  She is also instrumental in my education as I travel through this wondrous adventure, always available for my many questions!

Also thanks to Rowena Wildlife Clinic who I called on several heartbreaking occasions.  Leigh put my mind at rest, told me what to expect and how to handle what I observed in the morning before most of my friends were even out of bed.

If you want to learn more about these amazing raptors there are many sources.  I used Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds,  The Crossley ID Guide, took a fabulous Raptor ID class from Dick Ashford at Winter Wings, followed up with many questions to mentors cjflick and others; and chased down each bit of information I came across.  I’ve learned much, but mostly learned I still have much to learn.

I tell the story of each nest as I lived the adventure.  I tend to personify or anthropomorphize so forgive me if I call ‘my raptors’ he or she, Mom or Dad; or even suggest a human relationship action that may not be accurate in the real world of raptors.  I appreciate corrections for any mistakes, comments, and additions that you care to give.

Just so you know, I use a 150 to 600 mm zoom lens and my photos are all cropped.  Most of my nests were photographed from my car without disturbing the raptors in any way.   It’s unethical to bait, lure, flush or otherwise disturb wildlife and in some situations illegal … especially when nesting or raising young.  I also don’t use bird calls from my phone apps to lure or engage.  My goal in this series of posts is to share the stages of each nest with the hope of educating and building respect for these creatures that we share the planet with.

All my photos are now loaded, I simply have to add written content…a task that would be so much easier if I could read my notes.  And if I’d dated my notes.  And if I hadn’t let them get rained on….you get the gist!

 

 

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On Saturday morning, my third day at Winter Wings Festival, I went on a field trip with Dick Ashford to improve my ability to identify raptors in the field.  Lucky me, I was placed in the lead car with Dick!

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After Friday’s classroom training, I was already far more confident in my ability to age Bald Eagles and identify various Buteos

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Most of the raptors we saw were far away sitting in a field atop a pivot, or like these in flight far above our heads.

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These were a pair of juvenile Bald Eagles, one chasing the other hoping to steal food.  If you look close, you can see a rodent trapped in the front eagle’s talons.

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We don’t know how it ended, they continued the chase until well out of sight.

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I saw something move on the ground and look!  More Coyotes!!  This pair was hunting for rodents or perhaps small squirrels that race across the fields then dive into underground tunnels.

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We saw several Rough-legged Hawks ~ aren’t they gorgeous?!!

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And THEN I saw my first Ferruginous Hawk!!  He didn’t stay long for this portrait.

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Shortly after we arrived he took off in flight and of course I followed as best I could.

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We saw a few more that day, but this was the only one close enough for me to get a good shot at.

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We saw a few American Kestrels and they are always a challenge to capture because they’re so fast.

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I was thrilled to keep this one mostly centered in my viewfinder until he landed….

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….and then he let me take a portrait while he hunted from his wire perch.

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We saw over 100 Bald Eagles.  We tried to keep track of what we saw, but I didn’t hear the final tally.

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We watched him fly closer to us…

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…then he turned and flew away….

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We moved on to find a Red-tailed Hawk perched on a post and Dick indulged me to grab this photo because the bird was right next to the road.

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One of our last stops of the day was for this Great Horned Owl sitting in her nest.  If you didn’t know she was there she’d be easy to miss.

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Wherever Mama sits, Daddy is somewhere nearby and one of our participants spotted him right away.  I went back another day but could not find him again.

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Lucky us, our last sighting of the day was a Golden Eagle.  Like any bird, he was not going to sit for us very long at this close distance, so in order for everyone behind the lead car to get a good look at him, we drove past him pretty fast after I took a few shots.

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Sitting in the back seat, window down, driving fast over a very bumpy road I grabbed as many shots as I could while we drove by.  This is a ‘drive-by-shooting’ in my world.  I mostly got shots of his feet, his perch, and air ~ check out those talons!  Lucky me, I also managed to capture this ONE shot.  All in all it was an inspiring day filled with literally hundreds of raptors mostly in the Butte Valley and near the two refuges south of Klamath Falls, Tulelake and Lower Klamath.

Saturday’s keynote speaker was author and researcher Scott Weidensaul who shared his research on Snowy Owls and Project Snowstorm.  Again my friend and I sat in the back row because there was no way we’d stay awake until the end of his talk after yet another full day that began too early.  You guessed it…mesmerized by his talk, we stayed for his book signing because after hearing about Project Snowstorm we HAD to have his new book, “Peterson Reference Guide to Owls of North America and the Caribbean” …with autograph of course!

Tomorrow will be our earliest wake-up call ~ 4:30am to get to our field trip on time….

Winter Wings in Klamath Falls

February 28, 2017

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I finally made it to the Winter Wings Festival in Klamath Falls.  There is so much to tell you I will have to break it up day by day.

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My friend and I were only 50 miles from home when we had a wonderful portend of what was to come ~ a Rough-legged Hawk!  It was early in the morning, dark, snowy and cold so we were lucky to have seen him.

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The six-hour drive was easy with clear roads and mostly snow-free.  As we arrived at Upper Klamath Lake we could see hundreds of swans basking in the sun.

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We were ahead of schedule so decided to explore the swans a little more before registration.

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They were magnificent!  Sleeping, preening, swimming, eating and even chasing each other.

steider-studios-swan-group-2-16-17 It was a sunny day and the cacophony of swans made us feel that we were in our own nature show.

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An eagle drew our attention when he landed on a post nearby.

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Our first workshop was with Paul Bannick and we didn’t want to be late so headed over to the OIT to register….

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…after we watched a Red-tailed Hawk fly over.

Paul’s class was fabulous.  He asked each of us to state one thing we wanted to learn from him, then proceeded to discuss every single question raised and more.  I couldn’t wait for our field trip the following day to put into practice everything I’d just learned……

Paul was also a captivating Keynote speaker that evening sharing experiences from his new book,  “Owl: A Year in the Lives of North American Owls“.

 

Great Blue Heron photo-bombs Swans at Bingen Pond.

Great Blue Heron photo-bombs Swans at Bingen Pond.

I love how this Great Blue Heron photo-bombed my Swan shot.

Ring-necked Ducks in a 'fly by' with Swan at Bingen Pond.

Ring-necked Ducks in a ‘fly by’ with Swan at Bingen Pond.

Today I went back to the Bingen Marina hoping for a couple of do-overs because my camera settings got skewed a couple of days ago and of course I didn’t notice.

Great Blue Heron at Bingen Marina near the pond.

Great Blue Heron at Bingen Marina near the pond.

But you know there are never do-overs in photography or life – only new opportunities!

Red tailed Hawk overlooking Bingen Pond.

Red tailed Hawk overlooking Bingen Pond.

New opportunities are always on my horizon.  In one way or another.

Scrub Jay at Bingen Marina.

Scrub Jay at Bingen Marina.

Wasn’t it just 20 days ago I spoke of wanting more time.

Sparrow at Bingen Marina

Sparrow at Bingen Marina

I should have remembered that saying “Be careful what you wish for”.

American Kestrel on Snowden Road.

American Kestrel on Snowden Road.

Due to a family emergency, I cancelled all upcoming art shows and put my online shops on vacation.

Merganser Taking Off in the Klickitat River.

Merganser Taking Off in the Klickitat River.

I spent 10 days at Providence-Portland Medical-Center with a loved one.

Trio of Juvenile Eagles at Lyle Point.

Trio of Juvenile Eagles at Lyle Point.

I am full of gratitude that we are all on the road to recovery now, but what a nightmare it was.

Juvenile Bald Eagle in flight at Lyle Point.

Juvenile Bald Eagle in flight at Lyle Point.

I left thank you notes all over that hospital.

Juvenile Bald Eagle in flight, Lyle Point

Juvenile Bald Eagle in flight, Lyle Point

The RNs, CNAs, Docs, Food Service people, Cleaning Crew – even the Cafeteria Staff were enormously compassionate and kind to me and my family.

Scrub Jay at Bingen Marina

Scrub Jay at Bingen Marina

They are the ‘Earthly Angels’ among us.

Steider Studios.Juvenile Bald Eagle at Balfour

Steider Studios.Juvenile Bald Eagle at Balfour

Many heartfelt thanks also went out to family and friends who held us up in prayer and good thoughts.  Sent daily (sometimes hourly) messages.  Brought me food.  Sent us a Christmas tree!  I love you all!!

Northern Flicker at Balfour.

Northern Flicker at Balfour.

Back at the ‘Ranch’, I am trying to do nothing but enjoy precious time with my loved ones.

Bald Eagle on a snag along the Columbia River.

Bald Eagle on a snag along the Columbia River.

I’m thinking 2015 will be quite different from my usual mach speed, ‘say yes to everything’ way of working.

American Wigeon at Bingen Marina.

American Wigeon at Bingen Marina.

Not sure yet how I’ll accomplish that, but I look forward to giving it a try.

I think this is a Greater Scaup at the Hood River Marina.

I think this is a Greater Scaup at the Hood River Marina.

And it felt REALLY good to take a deep breath, get out in fresh air and back to nature with my camera just two days ago.

Bald Eagle in Flight at Balfour.

Bald Eagle in Flight at Balfour.

Wishing you & yours a 2015 that is everything you hope for.

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