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Tag Archives: hawk

All the birds need to eat so I try not to get upset when I see a pygmy owl or an accipiter gazing at the feeder birds. Today there was a Merlin, a small falcon, quite a distance from the feeders, fifty meters or more, and all the little birds were gone for hours. A couple days ago I spotted a Cooper’s Hawk, an accipiter, in the same snag. I managed to digiscope some photos of it and then walked out of the room. I returned a few minutes later to find all the feeder birds gone and the hawk was right in the midst of the feeders. You can see she was intent on a meal of her own. I did not see if she caught anything when she blazed away.

Digiscoped pictures of the Cooper’s Hawk and the Merlin

We camped at Page Springs campground, located at the south end of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and on the road to Steens Mountain. At night I enjoyed listening to owls – Great Horned and also Western Screech Owls and the singing of coyotes. Ruby-crowned Kinglets positively dripped off of every shrub and tree. There were lots of raptors everyday wherever we went.

The girls and I ventured onto the Refuge a couple of times – more gravel roads. It is very dry as is much of the northwest this year. Hopefully recent rains have improved the situation. I did manage to see a few birds and a very beautiful coyote on the main road. The canid stayed on the road til an oncoming truck forced it to choose another pathway. American White Pelicans moved round and round a pond cooperatively fishing at the Malheur NWR headquarters.

As the days grow warmer, new birds migrate to the nesting areas and begin setting up their territories, declaring them from tree tops, fence posts and signs. During yesterday’s early morning walk, I heard bluebirds, sparrows, finches and meadowlarks. Owls wake us up at night with their hooting. There is so much to see and hear!

Here is the song of the Western Meadowlark from the Cornell website.

This young female Sharp-shinned Hawk prowled the bird feeders earlier this week. I didn’t see it catch anything but I have noticed that the quail numbers are dwindling. I think there were eight last month. Then there were five. Today I only saw three. Everybody’s got to eat.

Yesterday MA and the dogs and I had a breathtaking walk in the hills above the Twisp River. Breathtaking in more ways than one. We are in the midst of one of those cold snaps where the early morning temperatures are below zero; where the dogs don’t waste much time when they are sent out to do their business; where it takes some time to get dressed just to go outside and you wonder how the dogs do it without any extra clothes. But they go out happily and wish I’d take them on more walks. The cold wasn’t the only breathtaking topic. So were the views. Cold weather is often accompanied with blue, blue skies and snow-covered mountains. A surprise, not so much breathtaking but a surprise none the less, was finding a geocache on top of a hill. To me it seemed altogether too obvious even without the help of a gps and coordinates. Maybe it would have been harder if we’d been searching for it. We opened it and left a note and a dog cookie. We had breathtaking views of birds – a Kestrel kiting (hovering) in search of prey: Common Ravens soaring and laughing: three Red-tailed Hawks soaring and falling together – maybe a sign of choosing their territories. Breathtaking was seeing a cougar loping across the hill below us! Luna had erupted into her serious bark and Frida had her hackles up. Luckily Sky was behind us and didn’t rush to see what all the fuss was about. She knows that bark means danger ahead. MA and I watched for a moment before the cougar came into our field of view maybe fifty meters away. Maybe less. I expect that when Luna first saw it, the animal was much closer than that. We regrouped and made a swift retreat, back the way we came from, stopping to leave another note in the geocache.

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