Monday, April 29, 2013

Raptor Nesting - Trip 3

Colleen and I headed back out to our RINS (Raptor Inventory Nesting Survey) territory, searching for active hawk, owl, eagle, or other raptor nests. It was a big day, mostly for Red Tailed Hawks and Great Horned Owls.  We have quite a few hawk nests, but we didn't see any chicks yet.
We have two owl nests so far and visited a third that's actually closer to Park City.  Each of the three nests had at least one owlet.  At this point in their lives, they are just little fluffy beaks with eyes.  I wish they wouldn't always make their nests deep in the tree.  Better for survival.  Worse for photos.
These clearly aren't raptors, but the Ibis and Egret made an interesting contrast.
Ok, another not-raptor.  Quite the cute pair.  We saw newborns of so many animals: horse, cow, sheep, alpaca, goat, ...  Our RINS territory is very rural.
Back to raptors, but not in our territory.  This is one of the two Swainsons Hawks that I photographed frequently last summer.  If you read my blog, you might remember me getting dive bombed at high speed.  I was really happy to see them returning from their long migration.
I look forward to tracking them again this year.

The only disappointment was not finding an eagle nest.  We have one or two good candidates, but nothing confirmed.  We did see several Golden Eagles flying around.  We just couldn't connect them with a nest.  We also saw a few Kestrels and a Harrier, but our chances of finding their nests is slim.
This picture has nothing to do with our trip other than leaving my camera set up with a 500mm lens and a 1.4x teleconverter when I got home.  I was out grilling veggies for dinner when this little guy landed at the top of a pine tree about 30 feet away.  I grabbed my camera and snapped off a few shots.  Sometimes you just can't beat a long lens and its limited depth of field.  He was even generous enough to pick a tree that put the sun on the right side.
We continue to make progress with our RINS work.  We are learning our territory and finding some nice nests.  They tend to get used year after year, so this work would tend to get easier.  Doing it with Colleen provides a nice combination of skills, 1+1=3.


  • Incredible vision.  Much better than mine with glasses
  • Good at identifying the raptors
  • Did RINS work in the past, so she knows the system
  • Can drive on well marked roads. Can brake and swerve quickly whenever Colleen says "there's something"
  • Wit and deep thoughts
  • A dog
As you can tell, my contribution is vaguely defined.

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