Thursday, February 6, 2014
Grand Ronde Raptor Run, February
With bad weather predicted, Johnny and I and friend Dawn got an early start Tuesday (earlier than usual, that is) for my Grand Ronde raptor route. It was a cold and dreary day, but the birds did not seem to mind.
This Bald Eagle with its head apparently on backwards was way in the distance at one of our stops, one that should have had White-tailed Kites. The Kites had gone missing, as had the Kites at a previous stop.
However, our luck quickly changed. The sometimes there and sometimes not Red-shouldered Hawk was there this month, off Willamina Creek Road, as usual. Distance was great and lighting bad but I attempted photos anyway.
Along Rock Creek Rd. near Sheridan we found a flock of geese with one oddly light-colored one. We stopped to take photos.
After lunch at Asabache's in Sheridan, our Kite luck changed. We found three off Wallace Bridge Rd. but too far for photos. We took a photo instead of this domestic emu on a private acreage that we survey nearby..
On that same property, we saw an amazing 29 Wood Ducks, mostly males, on one pond.
We stopped on the way home at the two sites with missing Kites and found them back at both places! Alas, they were also too far for photos.
We ended the day with 8 White-tailed Kites, 7 Rough-legged Hawks (a new record for this route), 33 Red-tailed Hawks, 18 American Kestrels, 13 Northern Harriers, 1 Bald Eagle, 1 Red-shouldered Hawk, and 1 Barn Owl (in the loft of our barn at home, where my route begins).
Next month is the last month for this wintering raptor survey. The numbers will be down since the wintering raptors will have left for their breeding grounds up north, but we are hoping the Kites stick around to nest nearby.