Projektin Inland Pacific Northwest Raptor Migration 2020 Päiväkirja

17. syyskuuta 2020

Accipiters, Falcons and Vultures Oh My

This Wednesday finishes the second complete week in September for the project. During this seven day period, we have increased the observation count by 35 observations and our total tally settles at 372. To be honest, I was hoping we would have a few more counts but I don't blame that on the birders. I went birding three times this week and guess how many raptors I saw. Two, a harrier and unphotographed Swainson's Hawk. The smoke from the recent Cascades fires are really putting a damper on our birding but soon it'll be over, winter will come and knock us out of our seats!

This week's observation of the week goes to @rccarl for a nice capture of a juvenile Peregrine Falcon. Not much I can say about this observation other than wow! Often considered the fastest animal on earth, the Peregrine Falcon can be distinguished from the similar and more common Prairie Falcon by the lack of dark armpits, more blackish upperparts and strong hooded look. Look for these along the Columbia River in the coming weeks, they love to terrorize Western Sandpiper flocks. You cans see the photo here:

What can we expect for the following week? Well, we did get a Great Gray Owl this week which is another species we can tag onto the list. That also means you should look out for owls wherever you are. Owling could be good in forests that are not burning. Just be smart when you're up there. And of course, look for Broad-winged Hawks, I'd like to see someone besides me see one. I'm heading out to Malheur National Wildlife Refuge this weekend so I may get one along with another Red-shouldered Hawk. Good luck hawkers!

Lähetetty 17. syyskuuta 2020 03:26 käyttäjältä birdwhisperer birdwhisperer | 0 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

9. syyskuuta 2020

Migration Underway

The second September Wednesday is here, so time for another weekly report for the IPNRM. This was a really slow week as we only acquired 25 new observations, little under half of what got last week. Our total observation count is 337, which is great. Keep up the good work! It was still a good week though, several Accipiters, photogenic Buteos and a hooting screech-owl. We even tagged a new Burrowing Owl observation but the downside is, it lost its life to a vehicle. As the following weeks progress, let's get a live one.

The observation of this week will go to @philkahler for an excellent photograph of a Cooper's Hawk in my hometown of College Place, WA. The most common Accipiter within Washington and Oregon, they are Accipiter most often associated with humans. They can be identified from their smaller counterpart, the Sharp-shinned Hawk, by the gray nape and "crowned" appearance, meaning the blue-gray does not extend below the eyes. In flight, Cooper's Hawks have rufous and white barred underwing coverts contrary to rufous and black barring in Sharp-shinned Hawks. I've found these features more reliable than anything field guides publish so you have that. You can see Phil's observation here:

Once again I would like to stress the need for seeing Broad-winged Hawks. I've been giving this some great thought after the "first" three Blue Mountain records have come forth this migration season. These guys are annual, you just need to be in the right place at the right time to see them. So I offer some places to try for Broad-wings. Peak migration season is the next two weeks so it's a very small window to see them. I'll just list them below.

Ferguson Ridge -- Wallowa Mts -- Wallowa County, OR
Anthony Lakes -- Elkhorn Mts -- Baker County, OR
Mount Fanny -- Wallowa Mts -- Union County, OR
Mount Hood -- Cascades -- Hood River County, OR
Steens Summit -- Steen Mts -- Harney County, OR
White Mountain -- Kettle River Range -- Ferry County, WA
Tiffany Mountain -- Cascades -- Okanogan County, WA
Mount Adams -- Cascades -- Yakima County, WA
Table Rock -- Blue Mts -- Columbia County, WA
Mount Spokane -- Rocky Mts -- Spokane County, WA

In other advice, if you don't have time, energy or means of getting on top of a mountain, if you know any fields that are plowed, kettles of Swainson's Hawks are huge. And sometimes you may get a special surprise in those kettles. Touchet, Washington is a great place to go looking for such flocks. For Oregon, the combined smoke from McKenzie Fire in Eugene and the Sacramento, Cal fire are keeping all raptors grounded in the valleys. I'm going to heading out some time soon to see a Union County Ferruginous, which is a good county hawk. Who knows what might be in your county? Good luck hawkwatchers!

Lähetetty 9. syyskuuta 2020 16:01 käyttäjältä birdwhisperer birdwhisperer | 0 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

3. syyskuuta 2020

Soaring High

I felt like I just wrote a journal post (which was yesterday) but it's Wednesday again so another week has passed for the IPNRM. We ended August and started September, what happened during this time? We've added 60 more observations and our total count is 312 with Red-tailed Hawks taking up 20% of those sightings. A new species was added, a Broad-winged Hawk spotted in the Wallowa Mountains. All great stuff.

The observation of the week goes to @craigjhowe for his excellent photo session of a hatch year Golden Eagle. Often birders ask how to distinguish Bald Eagles from Golden and the answer is quite simple in Craig's photos. What do you see? I see feathered legs, a diagnostic feature of Golden. Bald Eagles will have bright yellow tarsi that are not feathered. An easy way to identify if I do say. You can see the observation here:

What should we expect in next week's episode? September is starting which is probably the hype month for raptor migration. Stay in the mountains and scan the skies, you may grab more Broad-winged Hawks. It wouldn't hurt to get some goshawks along the way. We are certainly lacking in owl photos so if anyone has any interest, go owling on a nice clear night. I hope to see another boom in observations so keep it up hawkwatchers!

Lähetetty 3. syyskuuta 2020 04:17 käyttäjältä birdwhisperer birdwhisperer | 0 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

1. syyskuuta 2020

August Summary

August is now over and now we start the best month of raptor migration, September! Here's a summary of what happened over the previous month.

Top 5 Species (August):
Red-tailed Hawk -- 37 (+2 spots)
Swainson's Hawk -- 26
Osprey -- 17 (-2 spots)
Turkey Vulture -- 9
American Kestrel -- 8 (new to Top 5)

Top 5 Species (Overall):
Red-tailed Hawk -- 59 (+2 spots)
Osprey -- 45 (-1 spot)
Swainson's Hawk -- 44 (-1 spot)
Turkey Vulture -- 20
Cooper's Hawk -- 16 (new to Top 5)

Total Species Overall: 23

Top 5 Observations Submitted: birdwhisperer 75 obs, @cgates326 21 obs, @uta_stansburiana 16 obs, @masonmaron 16 obs and @josegarrido 13 obs

Top 5 Most Species: birdwhisperer 12 species, uta_stansburiana 9 species, cgates326 9 species, joseharrido 6 species and @flammulated 5 species

Species Still Not Observed: White-tailed Kite, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Rough-legged Hawk, Western Screech-Owl, Snowy Owl, Northern Hawk-Owl, Spotted Owl, Great Gray Owl, Short-eared Owl, Boreal Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl and Gyrfalcon -- 12 species

New Species in August: Broad-winged Hawk, Barn Owl, Merlin and Peregrine Falcon

Counties Needing Observations: WA (6) -- Ferry, Pend Oreille, Grant, Klickitat, Columbia and Garfield -- OR (2) -- Morrow, Wheeler

News and What to Expect in September: As expected, we doubled the observations in the project as we now have 280 observations submitted, though I must admit, I have about half a dozen photos I still need to upload. It was a great month for raptors, the weather was much tamer than July and though smoke covered most of Oregon this month, raptors were prevalent.

Observations of the Month goes to @nmccullough for an excellent nighttime shot of a Barred Owl in the Okanogan region. I've always been fascinated by this species and sometimes a little envious that Rocky Mountain Barred Owls are much harder to find than Cascades individuals. Closely related to the endangered Spotted Owl, these two species can be distinguished by size and pattern. As the names say, one is barred on the underparts and the other is spotted. It would be great though, if someone happens to see a Spotted within the next month.

Let's talk about Broad-winged Hawks. At the end of July, I specifically asked observers to look for Broad-winged Hawks. And here's what happened. August 26th, my friends Ginger Shoemake and Judy Treman photographed an adult Broad-winged Hawk in Walla Walla. I looked up sightings on ebird and their sighting is the first Blue Mountain record. There has been no previous sightings within the entire mountain range. Unfortunately, Ginger and Judy are ebirders, not iNaturalists but I'm hoping to convince them this site is just as good! Moving on, I went to McCully Creek in Wallowa county Sunday to look for Spruce Grouse. Up on Ferguson Ridge was what did know, a juvenile light morph Broad-winged Hawk being chased by a larger, longer-winged Swainson's. First county record and 2nd Blue Mountain record. And finally, yesterday, I get an e-mail from Dave Trochlell asking me for an id on a hawk he found in North Powder, Oregon. Hat trick! Another juvenile Broad-winged Hawk and I'm willing to bet he saw the very juvenile I saw the previous day. Perhaps I can get him to join iNaturalist too! First Baker county record and 3rd Blue Mountain record, all within a week's time. Mike Shaw mentioned that these Broad-wings are more likely early migrants than vagrants, as migrants have been spotted on the Cascade front. That's really good news in my opinion and I think if birders take more time to up into the mountains this September, we can find even more Broad-winged Hawks. I'm rambling but that is all I have for this summary. Good luck hawkwatchers!

Lähetetty 1. syyskuuta 2020 17:18 käyttäjältä birdwhisperer birdwhisperer | 0 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

26. elokuuta 2020

Birds of a Feather

This is the final full week of August before we really start the hawk migrating season. But I'll cover that in the August wrap-up. For this week, IPNRM obtained 40 more observations with our total count being 247. No new species were sighted though. Most of the sightings however were feathers or roadkill so not the traditional photo sessions. Referring to my own sighting, the third Red-shouldered Hawk of the project has been added after I photographed an adult in Union County, Oregon, the fourth county record.

Besides feathers and roadkill, the rest of the observations for the week are long distance documentary pictures, so it was difficult to decide on an observation of the week. I hope this is acceptable but I'm going to share my own photo, a juvenile Western Red-tailed Hawk in which I photographed him at the... right moment. If you needed a laugh this week, here's where you'll get it.

What should we expect within the next week? September will start and that means we really need to start looking for migrating Buteos like Red-shouldered Hawks and Broad-winged Hawks. Wheat fields are still being harvested, I watched a kettle of 28 Swainson's Hawks the other day so you might get huge numbers in places. And there always seem to be a surprise.

Lähetetty 26. elokuuta 2020 20:51 käyttäjältä birdwhisperer birdwhisperer | 0 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

19. elokuuta 2020

Hilltop Raptors

Another week has passed in the IPNRM and we have now crested 200 observations for the project! Let's go over what happened during the week. We added 37 more observations and the top five most observed species are on fire. For once, the Red-tailed Hawk doesn't seem to outcompete all the other species as the Osprey is only three observations behind. I'm not sure if that's because observers are really interesting in photographing osprey or what. But on an additional note, we have now crested last year's record of Osprey sightings. That's a good sign if I do say so.

This week's observation of the week is different from the other observations I've congratulated. It is a recording this week. Without further adieu, the project's focus turns to @nightjar09 sighting of a Flammulated Owl in Walla Walla County, Washington. Here's why I'm so excited about this recording. I lived in Walla Walla for two years and though I never did look very hard for Flammulated, I camped enough times in the Blues to know that this species is hard to get in the county. I've heard Flammulated in Columbia and Garfield county but I just couldn't find them in my home county. So for this observer to find the 3rd county record is outstanding and I believe a round of applause is needed. You can listen to the recording here:

What should we expect in the following week? Well, typical summertime things are getting in the way of hawkwatching. Some places are having in-class school this year so parents are making sure they go camping before another year starts. Wildfires are growing in east slope of the Cascades, so that might be hindering your progress. As for me, lightening storms are killing my parties and I do not want a repeat of yesterday, in which I was hiking in Ladd Marsh and the storm came in while I was still a mile away from my car. It's not fun so check the forecast, just because it is sunny now, doesn't mean it stay that way for an hour. Anyway, in whatever way you can contribute, it will do and check fields. Wheat fields are being plowed in southeastern Washington and that draws in Swainson's/Red-taileds by the dozens. Good luck!

Lähetetty 19. elokuuta 2020 15:33 käyttäjältä birdwhisperer birdwhisperer | 1 kommentti | Jätä kommentti

12. elokuuta 2020

Rising Numbers

Another week has passed! The project has had an additional 34 observations added during the week and it probably would've been more if I had uploaded my latest photos quicker. That means the project not officially has 174 observations with 22 species sighted. We also have our newest addition to the project, a Sharp-shinned Hawk but I'm waiting to see if the observer has more photos since Sharp-shinned Hawks are not all that common in the summer.

Now it is time for the observation of the week. I think it should go to @craigjhowe for an excellent photo of a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk near Klamath Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon. I'm not what there is to say about the photos, I think they speak for themselves. I'm always fascinated by Red-tailed Hawks since even though they're the most common species of raptor in the Pacific Northwest, they are so variable, how can you lose interest? You can see the photos here:

What can we expect for next week? Well it's cloudy in northeastern Oregon today so maybe that's a sign of cooler temperatures and an escape from intense heat. Hawks like cooler whether so be sure to check your valleys. Wheat fields are also being harvested across Washington and plows attract hawks like moths to a light. We could see a lot happen.

Lähetetty 12. elokuuta 2020 14:48 käyttäjältä birdwhisperer birdwhisperer | 1 kommentti | Jätä kommentti

6. elokuuta 2020

Starting August Hawking

We are now five days into the month of August. The temperatures are finally sloping downward and it seems the hawks are liking it too. There are now 140 observations and we tagged on two new species sighted for the project. I got a Peregrine Falcon a couple days in southeastern Oregon and a Barn Owl was photographed in La Grande. Guess I got to see try and find them, along with a Long-eared Owl that might be in the area.

This week's observation of the week goes to @webarranch for an excellent photograph of two nestling Ospreys in Ellensburg. You can tell juvenile osprey from adults by the spotted wings. Though naturally they nest on top of dead trees, artificial platforms have given them the spots necessary for a population rebound. You can see the photo here.

Keep looking out for raptors! There are many there waiting to be photographed. Good luck!

Lähetetty 6. elokuuta 2020 00:55 käyttäjältä birdwhisperer birdwhisperer | 1 kommentti | Jätä kommentti

1. elokuuta 2020

July Summary

It is the last day of July so now it's time for the report on what went down in the project over the month. Here we go!

Top 5 Species:
Osprey -- 26
Swainson's Hawk -- 18
Red-tailed Hawk -- 18
Turkey Vulture -- 9
Great Horned -- 8

Total Species Overall: 19

Top 5 Observations Submitted: birdwhisperer 34 obs, @uta_stansburiana 14 obs, @cgates326 7 obs, @flammulated 5 obs and @josegarrido 4 obs

Top 5 Most Species: uta_stansburiana 8 species, birdwhisperer 7 species, flammulated 5 species, cgates326 5 species and josegarrido 3 species

Species Still Not Observed: White-tailed Kite, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, Rough-legged Hawk, Barn Owl, Western Screech-Owl, Snowy Owl, Northern Hawk-Owl, Spotted Owl, Great Gray Owl, Short-eared Owl, Boreal Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Merlin, Gyrfalcon and Peregrine Falcon -- 16 species

Counties Needing Obsercations: WA (9) -- Ferry, Pend Oreille, Grant, Lincoln, Adams, Franklin, Klickitat, Columbia and Garfield -- OR (6) -- Morrow, Jefferson, Wheeler, Grant, Klamath and Malheur

News and What to Expect in August: This was great starter month for the project, a good 113 observations of raptors across inland Washington and Oregon. Osprey have a significant rise in sightings compared to last year, probably because of all the young. Washington observations definitely need some work but occasionally I go to work in Idaho, so I can expect to tag some sightings in southeastern Washington. And I would really like to see some sightings for Ferry County, WA, I know it's the best place in these two states to find Northern Hawk-Owls.

These hundred observations also made it hard to choose an observation for the month but after careful consideration and using a different spotlight from Obs of the Week, I've decided to make @patty_teague close-up shot of a Turkey Vulture the observation of the month. These vultures are really on the borderline of what I would call a raptor. Though hawks and eagles go under several names, I've always thought of "birds of prey" as any bird that eats flesh and that includes herons, pelicans, loons, grebes, shirkes, etc. And to a lesser extent, every bird is a bird of prey as crossbills are sometimes referred to as "cone predators". To me, "raptor" is a more apporiate term and describes any bird of prey that has 1) a beak make for tearing flesh and 2) talons to catch, kill and hold prey. New World vultures used to be a part of the order Accipitriformes but it was split a few years ago. Though typically associated as a raptor, they don't exactly have talons to hunt. Whether or no they are a true raptor, they're on the project anyhow.

August starts tomorrow, what should we expect? I really want a Broad-winged Hawk this year for the project. Though their peak migration month is September, there are 4 ebird August records of this species within the project's perimeters, all of them along the Cascade east slope. If you birding that area, look up and see if any hawks have a white subterminal band. I am kind of shocked nobody spotted a Sharp-shinned Hawk, Merlin or Peregrine Falcon, so it would be nice to get them down soon. August is also a good month to do some summer owling. Almost all Oregon sightings of Boreal Owls are in late summer. But who knows what will happen? Hopefully we are all staying safe and good raptor watching!

Lähetetty 1. elokuuta 2020 00:11 käyttäjältä birdwhisperer birdwhisperer | 1 kommentti | Jätä kommentti

30. heinäkuuta 2020

Ending July

Though we still have two days left in July, I do these posts weekly. It was a great week even though in my area, it was in the high 90's making it unbearable to do anything unless you're car birding with a nice A/C. But on the contrary, car birding is the best birding for hawks, so maybe you didn't encounter problems with the heat.

As I said, this was a fantastic week for IPNRM as we are just under 100 observations in just our first month of the project. Keep the good work going and we can have 600 observations by the end of the project but let's make a goal. How about a thousand observations? If you're up for the challenge, just photograph raptors (hawks, eagles, owls, vultures, etc) for the next five months.

New species being added to the list this week includes the Long-eared Owl and the other species is the observation for the week. Without further adieu, I deem the observation of the week goes to @flammulated for his fantastic image of some Burrowing Owls in Harney County, Oregon. These are probably one of my favorite owls and to say the least, I envy the observation since I've seen these owls in every state I've birded in... but Oregon. And I live this state... It seems to be a known spot for the species so it's like why can't I just take the four hour drive down. Maybe if my birding companion wasn't an essential worker! XD You can see the observation here:

Fair warning, though August is just around the corner, I'm going to make a whole separate post summarizing the month along an observation for the month, that'll be different from the week spotlights. So stay tuned the next couple days. Good birding everyone!

Lähetetty 30. heinäkuuta 2020 04:11 käyttäjältä birdwhisperer birdwhisperer | 0 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti