Sunday, January 14, 2007

Always take your camera along

(click photos to enlarge)

On Saturday I traveled to Tamarack resort for a cross country ski race. I was somewhat reluctant as the temperature at start time the day before was hovering around 10 degrees below zero (F). Through peer pressure and not wanting to be a wimp, I decided to go anyway. The low temperature over night was 14 degrees below zero. Just before leaving for the 2 hour drive to Tamarack, my wife and I decided to throw in the camera in case we saw some birds on the way home.

They delayed the race start for 30 minutes until the temperature reached 4 degrees below zero. Apparently this is the minimum temperature for the start. The race turned out well. I had a hard time for the first half as my heart rate was a little too high and I was having a hard time breathing in the low temperature. I settled down for the second half and started moving up through the field. I rallied enough to finish strong..

On the way home we stopped at one of the bridges crossing the Payette River, just below Cascade Dam. We watched Hooded and Common Mergansers, Canadian Geese, and Common Goldeneyes. We then spotted the pair of Barrow's Goldeneyes in the first photo on the left. The two were clearly showing their synchronized courtship behavior, somewhat difficult to catch with the camera. It was definitely something to watch. We then spied a Bald eagle flying over the river in the distance.

Another bird watcher showed up and informed us of 2 Rough Legged Hawks, just a short distance down a side road (Warm Lake Road). We decided to check it out. Within half a mile we found them perched on the power poles. Here is one of many photos we were able to catch.

Continuing home, we counted 7 more Bald Eagles along the Payette River (5 adults and 2 juveniles). All seven were in a 20 mile stretch between Banks and Horseshoe Bend. This stretch of highway doesn't offer much in the way of turnouts. We found one turnout directly across for an adult in a tree. When I stepped out to take a photo, I noticed a juvenile standing on the ice in the river. I captured many more photos as it flew down river, circled around, then came back to perch near the adult.

Quite a day of birdwatching, for not planning it. In total we spent less than an hour and took 120 photos. The important lesson of the day is to take your camera along.

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Ben C. said...

Rob, Thanks for stopping and leaving the comment about the Red-headed Woodpecker. Also good to hear and see your photos from the cold day out. Glad it's cold somewhere this season. On 6-Jan we hit 72 degrees F and broke a 56 year record here in New York City.

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

What a superb photo of that rough-leg. I also love the pose you caught the goldeneyes in. Sweet.