Monday, December 30, 2019

Spring 2019 Camp Baker Hawk Watch report is finished



The Spring 2019 Camp Baker Hawk Watch report is finished and may be viewed here.  I will also post the link on the Our Work page.

The Camp Baker Hawk Watch count site is going to be moved to the Rogers Pass vicinity in 2020.  Stay tuned for more information regarding that and a new blog that will be up soon!

Sunday, September 1, 2019

2019 Camp Baker Montana Eagle Watch Project

American Kestrel, Falco sparverius (adult female)


The 2019 Camp Baker Montana Eagle Watch Project is nearly underway!  Our site is now listed at Hawk Migration Association of North America here:

Camp Baker Hawk Watch

Don't let the fact that there currently isn't data there throw you.  That is the exciting part of an exploratory count!  We have yet to collect any data.  Counts will be entered manually as internet access permits to HMANA.  This will be your best resource to plan a visit or to follow along at home to see the results of this years flight.

Our fundraising page with detailed information on how to donate is set up as well.  Currently we have about $10,375 to secure, so any and all donations are welcome.



Monday, April 15, 2019

April 15 Daily Flight Summary




Official Counter         

Adam Richardson

Observers       

None

Weather         

Partly cloudy skies for most of the count of mostly cumulus, nimbo-stratus and cirrus clouds.  Thermal lift was mostly poor to fair.  Winds primarily out of the SW at 6-17kph occasionally gusting to 22kph.  A high temperature of 10C, but the temperature fluctuated as the clouds moved through.  Barometric pressure was steady.  Visibility was excellent during the day.

Raptor Notes 

No migrants moved through today, the last day of the count.

Residents were mildly active in the morning hours, but dispersed far away from the OP in the afternoon.  This has been the case for most of the last week.  It is also interesting to note that all of the resident GOEA adult pairs have dispersed or are preoccupied with post-breeding activities.


Non-raptor Notes

No new arrivals during the count however the following morning the first Long-billed Curlew of the season was detected.  I had a nice visit with the resident WBNU throughout the day.  The birds toot-toot will be missed.  It had become quite comfortable with me frequently flying directly over my camp table or head during the last week of the count.

Visitors

None  

Next Day Forecast

N/A
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Sunday, April 14, 2019

April 14 Daily Flight Summary

this WBNU kept me company counting from the bluff daily



Official Counter         

Adam Richardson

Observers       

None

Weather         

Overcast skies of stratus, cumulus a little cirrus and eventually nimbo-stratus by 11:50.  From 11:50-13:30 there was a significant amount of hail and snow falling, but by 14:30 it tried to clear up again.  Thermal lift was poor to fair most of the day with the steady winds, precipitation and cloud cover keeping things cool.  Winds were primarily out of the SW 3-14kph occasionally gusting to 24.2kph blowing my logbook off the bluff.  By 14:30 a high of 10C with a steady barometer for the entire count.  Visibility came and went with the weather and precipitation moving through.

Raptor Notes 

Another squad of TUVU (6) moved through before the approaching hail arrived.  Same flight pattern as the two groups yesterday.  One lone SSHA moved through between 16:00-17:00 to finish out the days slow flight.

At 11:55 I observed one of my most exciting raptor observations to date.  Two adult PEFA were hunting ROPI cooperatively over the Johnston Pasture.  When I first noticed the chase was on, one PEFA had flushed a ROPI away from the rest of the flock.  At first, I thought the ROPI might get away as the PEFA didn’t seem to be gaining on the ROPI.  It ends up this was deliberate as what the falcon was actually doing was forcing the pigeon slowly higher into hostile airspace where most likely its mate was waiting to stoop.  I missed the actual take as it happened fast and I was adjusting my field of view from behind my spotting scope which was in the way.  When I got back on the falcon after hearing much chatter, I noticed there were now two falcons.  One had secured the ROPI and it seemed to be taking several triumphant laps before eventually flying directly into the Smith River Canyon.  I didn’t mark either of these two as migrants as it seemed highly likely these two are a pair of resident birds.  As always, I was routing for the prey as much as the predator and the entire event had me on the edge of my seat.  More often than not in my experience the prey gets away, but I would imagine the falcons have a higher success rate than my resident raptors back in Reno.  This was a special observation to round out the season which is rapidly coming to a close tomorrow.

From my Birds of North America online account:

Cooperative Hunting begins about the time pair begins perching together () but year-round in resident California pairs (B. Walton pers. comm.). Behavior progresses from simply hunting in proximity over same range to making passes at same prey. Cooperation typically involves one bird, usually male, making a pass at a flock while the other circles above to stoop on stragglers.

Non-raptor Notes

Towards the end of the count approximately 45 RBGU migrated through, almost on the exact same line as the TUVU.  It vaguely reminded me of watching the tern come into Lake Michigan at Mackinaw Straits last spring.


Visitors           

None, but the Smith River is open to floating tomorrow so the campground is filling up with boaters.

Next Day Forecast

N/A
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Saturday, April 13, 2019

April 13 Daily Flight Summary

RSFL intergrade



Official Counter

Adam Richardson      

Observers       

None

Weather         

Partly cloudy skies of mostly stratus clouds at 09:30. By 14:30 the skies were overcast and by the end of the day it looked like it was precipitating to the SW over the Big Belts.  Thermal lift was mostly poor today as the clouds and wind kept the temperatures cool.  Winds were mostly out of the SW at 6-16kph.  A high temperature of 9C at 13:30. The barometer fell steadily through the afternoon.  Visibility was limited to the east and west but by 13:30 the clouds had lifted considerably.

Raptor Notes 

Camp Baker had a solid flight today with a squad of TUVU (10) coming through between 14:00-16:00.  They reminded me of water circling a drain the way they followed one another on the poor thermals through the area.  The birds didn’t linger at all, but moved N quickly eventually folding up over Berkins Butte before shooting into the Smith River canyon.

Residents were active today with the pair of adult BAEA nesting in the Johnston Pasture tolerating an immature BAEA, possibly a hatchling of theirs from last year.  The one adult is definitely incubating as she hasn’t moved for days minus a few off bouts.  Her mate was seen perched in the same tree on the same branch as the immature eagle.  The immature went down and harassed a couple of CANG that are possibly nesting in the vicinity.  The CANG picked some horrible real estate if that is the case as I already watched one of the adult BAEA ripping up the nest material for use in its own nest.  Now the CANG have to contend with a juvenile bird that is obviously looking for a hand out.  The CANG did a good job of mobbing the juvenile eagle together and the eagle moved off a short distance.  I am not sure this tactic will work when there is gosling to be had soon.

Non-raptor Notes

I was finally able to get some decent photos of the RSFL intergrade that has been calling regularly from the area near the bluff since I arrived.  I have heard one other NOFL answer it’s call and drumming.

The new arrival today was heard at sunset, the first WISN of the spring was performing its winnowing flight call upstream from my camp.

Visitors           

None

Next Day Forecast

N/A
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