Sunday, April 22, 2012

Great Saturday

Had a great Saturday chasing birds all over Southeastern Idaho.  First I went to the upper area of the Moody area looking for sharp-tail grouse.  I was able to find a lek of seven, one male and six females.

In the early morning sun, a Western Meadowlark was singing its lungs out.

At Market Lake WMA, the Great-horned owl has hatched the chicks, but hides them under her wings when we come around.

A Great Blue heron leaves as I pull up to watch him fish.


An American Avocet flies over and is just one of about a hundred working the shallows at Market Lake.

On the way home, I stopped by the Texas Slough and found large numbers of Willets and Greater Yellow-legs.  Here a pair of each compete for hidden food.

And finally my first Osprey of the season.  The male was helping the female remodel and spring clean their house.

A great way to spend another Wild Day in Idaho.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sage grouse show off for the girls

During a recent snow storm, the male Sage grouse continued to display for the girls.  It is always an exciting activity to watch.  The males arrive about an hour before daylight.

The hens follow later.

But when the females come, the males get a little excited and start fighting and......

then they start showing off, trying to attract the females. 

Dancing and puffing out their chests while the female ignore most of them takes a lot of energy.

Tired of showing off, the males wait for the sun to come up

As the sun warms them, the hens leave, but the males remain a while longer in case a hot female shows up late.

With the females all gone for the day, the males fly off to feed and rest until the next morning arrives with new opportunities for a girlfriend. 

A great way to celebrate the wildness of Idaho.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Peregrine Falcon Attack - Goose protector

This morning I had one of the most amazing experiences I have ever witnessed.  I apologize for the poor quality of the photos as all the action happened almost a quarter of a mile away and these were the best I could get.  But the I hope you enjoy this experience with me.

At Market Lake near Roberts, I was looking for new arrivals when I saw a Peregrine falcon working a burned over area.  It flushed a flock of Northern Pintails.  I saw the falcon hit a male going full speed.  By the time I got turned around the falcon had attack the injured duck several times and a Canada goose had left its mate and was driving the falcon away from the injured pintail.  The falcon took a perch on a nearby post.

Everytime the falcon attack, the goose would snap its bill and move closer to the injured duck.

At one point during the ordeal, the goose moved the injured duck under its wing while the falcon continued to try to drive the goose away.

The goose's mate continued to call and when the protector left, the falcon would attack the injured duck.

Each time the goose would return, chasing the falcon off the duck.

With the injured duck becoming weaker, the goose became more aggressing toward the falcon.

The goose actually placed the duck between its legs and stood over it.

Once while the goose flew back to its mate, the falcon picked up the duck to fly off with it when the goose came back, causing the falcon to drop the duck.

Once the goose grabbed the duck by its bill and pulled it toward the deeper water, but its mate continued to call it away from the duck.  Eventually the duck died while the goose was away.

The goose chased the falcon away from the body so it could check it out.

Finding the duck dead, the goose walked away allowing the falcon to return.  The goose bowed its head facing the falcon and body - stayed 15 to 20 minutes with its head down before flying off.

The battle lasted almost two hours.  I am glad I noticed, witnessed and learned from the experience.

Why did the goose protect the injured duck?  It was only a Northern Pintail migrating through the area.  Life and death in the wildness of Idaho could teach us humans lessons that we should learn.  This experience taught me some lessons I will never forget.