Monday, July 19, 2010

Raising Young in the Mountains.

This past week Karyn and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary as we usually do in Stanley Idaho. We spent most of our days mountain biking, but also hiked on a few occasions. We spent our down time wildlife watching, bird watching, and reading a new book, The Wolverine Way (the book is excellent by the way). I also started reading Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation: The Definitive Guide to the Evolutionary Biology of Sex (also great, but a little more for the biology nerds in my audience).
As usual we found a lot more bird life to photograph than wildlife. The wildlife primarily consisted of not so wild cows. We did spy lots of deer and the ever present ground squirrel, but nothing any more wild than that. The theme for birds this time of year is raising young. We watched Red-tailed Hawks on their nest up to the day they fledged. We watched an Osprey family eat their sushi at regular intervals. Found a couple families of recently fledged Northern Flickers. Below is a collection of photos of the families which were cooperative enough to pose for pictures.
Mountain Bluebird Chicks near Stanley Idaho. (Karyn's Photo)
Mountain Bluebirds being fed by Mom. (Karyn's Photo)
Mountain Bluebird dad departing after food delivery. (Karyn's Photo)
Brewer's Sparrow food delivery.
Tree Swallow.
Western Tanager.
Male Mountain Bluebird approaches nest.
Sandhill Crane Family.
I searched out aspen groves in the hopes of finding more woodpeckers. Aspen trees are very important sites for cavity nesting birds. In this particular grove I did find Northern Flickers, House Wrens, and Tree Swallows among the inhabitants. A number of tree cavities appeared recently abandoned by their inhabitants, only feathers remained. The House Wrens were wise to not reveal their nest hole. They would chatter at me and try to lead me away until I was 50-60 feet away before returning to their nest.
House Wren waiting to deliver meal.
The Tree Swallows paid little attention to my presence. Of course, their nest hole was considerably higher than the House Wrens. One Tree Swallow would stand guard until the other returned with food. Then they would trade roles. It was fun to watch.
Tree Swallow food delivery.
Tree Swallow stands guard.
Weeks ago one of my field partners spotted River Otters in the area. We camped out one night to try and see them, but they didn't show up. Oh well, the birds more than made up for it. Another fabulous week in the mountains of Idaho.
Next up I will be banding songbirds at Idaho Bird Observatory's Lucky Peak banding station for the next 4 weeks. After that I start back to school pursuing my Master's degree in Raptor Biology at Boise State University. I will also be teaching General Biology Lab (BIOL 192) which covers zoology and botany. This was my second choice for labs behind Ecology (BIOL 323). I am very happy with the assignment.


Heidi said...

love the brewer's and bluebird photos especially :) looks like a fun trip!

Birding is Fun! said...

It was cool to run into you on the trail to Knapp Lakes.

April said...

Wow, those blue bird pics are awesome!

Stephanie said...

Great pictures! Glad you're enjoying the book, too!