Thursday, February 27, 2014

Snow geese show up

The snow geese showed up about two weeks early, but we only have about 5000 that I have seen and last year we had about 70,000 come in.  But we have plenty of time.  The first flock I saw was only 33 birds.

Three days later a large flock came in but some Golden eagles flushed them six time in a morning,  Here a Golden eagle harasses the flock.

Sometimes you could not see the eagle as the sky was covered by the geese.

There were also a small flock of 6 Greater White-fronted geese that joined a large flock of Canada geese near the snows.

Just a few days enjoying the wildness of Idaho.  Happy beginning of the bird migration through Idaho.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Valentine owls - GBBC

For the last two days I have been enjoying the Great Backyard Bird Count even though we are having a lot of rain and fog on top of two feet of snow.  It won't last long with all this warm weather.

Here is my favorite picture of the two days.  I found these two Great Horned owls celebrating Valentine's Day the day after.  Or maybe it is a real relationship as it is time for them to pair up and start nesting.

The Deer Parks WMA west of Rexburg now has about 500 trumpeter swan, 400 Canada geese and 400 mallards working the stubble field and starting on the corn patch as they are migrating in.

Even though it is still frozen over, Market Lake WMA has been invaded by waxwings.  Here is a lone Bohemian waxwing joining a flock of Cedar waxwings there.  They are feeding off the Russian olives.

At the Teton River bottoms and Henrys Fork of the Snake River, I am still finding the rare Great Gray owls.  They will soon start moving back up the the mountains to nest and raise their young.  My 2014 Bucket List includes to find a Great Gray owl nest this spring.

Camas NWR is the roosting place for about 40 bald eagles and here are two that are working the calving and lambing operations within a few miles of the refuge.

Just another couple of days in the wilds of Idaho.  Have a great day.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Ice fishing again

I am glad to be able to ice fish again.  It was a great day with some old fishermen that I enjoy fishing around.
Here some are waiting for a school of kokanee to come in.

A thief on the ice - a bald eagle steals one of the fish from another fisherman.

After catching my limit of kokanee, I found and herd of Mule deer and one of them was this large buck.

This evening I found one of the Great Gray owls and enjoyed it flying over my head, missing me twice by about a foot.  Just another wild day in Idaho.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

I'm back - Great Gray Owls

After having both lungs full of blood clots, spending a week in the hospital and eight weeks in bed at home, I have finally been cleared to enjoy hiking, photos and birding.  I will go back to teaching school on March 3.  That gives me three more weeks to heal and get in shape to punish those kids.

Yesterday I found two Great Gray owls and today I found a total of four.  The recent cold weather (minus 17) and then two days of snow appears to have brought them down to the river bottoms.  Here are a few shots of these beautiful birds.

Here one shakes the whole body as if it was a dancer.

Flying over a meadow, this Great Gray locates a rodent.

After it swallows the rodent whole, it flies right past me and lands in a tree just 20 feet from me.

Blessed with two sets of eye lids, this one blinks the clear eye lids that appears to be blue contacts.

This Great Gray is taking a bath cleaning one feather at a time.  If a feather came out while being cleaned, the feather was eaten.

A royal predator. After watching them from seven hours in two days and shooting over 2000 photos, I learned a lot about the Great Grays and plan on spending more hours with them.

Just a couple more wild days in Idaho and looking for a lot more.