Monday, January 11, 2016
Eagle count day
Saturday was the day to go on our annual Mid-Winter Bald Eagle Count. It's done all over the state along designated routes. I've done the Oregon Basin/HooDoo Ranch/Monster Lake Ranch route for a couple decades and this was an outstanding count year.
This time I was joined by Nathan Horton, a young man I've known for a few years now. He's one I can count on to fix anything and is very knowledgeable on raptors, especially golden eagles. We started out at 8:30 in the morning and ended at 2:00. Along the way we counted a total of 53 birds. That included 28 eagles, 21 rough-legged hawks, two redtails, one ferruginous hawk and one northern harrier. One of the roughies was a dark phase, not seen that much around this part of the country. The bird is shown on top of the power pole. Not the sharpest photo but you can see that he's absolutely chocolate brown all over.
This was also only the second time I've seen a ferrug and the first harrier in quite a few years. The other photo was a selfie that Nathan took as we were taking a lunch break. We stopped near the backside of the Monster Lake Ranch to enjoy the view. It was a super day made better with the company and the successful number of birds.