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Old 03-28-2020, 01:07 PM   #10061
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Old 03-29-2020, 02:48 PM   #10062
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Yesterday Mike and I headed out on our second owl count. It was pretty blustery out, cool and windy. We stopped to see if the swans were still around, and there were two there.



It's not a very birdy day, got a lot of ducks coming in, nesting geese. We stopped in Gillette at Camplex Park. It's got an arboretum, but is really hit or miss on if you see much. During migration you can find some interesting birds attracted to the unusual trees. But yesterday was the usual suspects.



I did get my first visual on Killdeer for the year though!



Well, heck, on to Keyhole again to burn a little more time.

The ice is really melted from when I was there Monday. Actually, today the ice on the pond behind our house has moved about 40' from the shore.



Back off the buffet line!

Ring-billed Gull and two American Crows



Found a nice flock of Red Crossbills again.



Black-billed Magpie



Dang, well, here's neat old truck anyway!



Man, now we're both keyed up. It's a cold 43 degrees. It's windy. We aren't having a ton of luck. Mike's grumpy. I'm grumpy. We're both hungry. It's time to whip out the fine on the road dining.



We've had a couple just in case always in the car for a while, but my son gave us a whole box for Christmas. Stuff like this or camp food is pretty handing when you have a survey that starts an hour or two away from anything resembling a real restaurant, and you're sammiched out.

Pretty damn good too!



On the way out, Mike says, "we're going to see owls tonight!" Hmmmm.

The thing about these surveys...we are on year four. Each route has two visits within three week windows. We've had routes each year, 2017 we had two, 2018 three of our own and one visit we took when someone else bailed, three last year, one of which I was wanting to hand off to my friend, and this year I signed up for one in MT, just ended up with the one I handed off because they don't want to leave the house, and one with WY I was supposed to do with a new gal who bailed, but understandably. That's how many trips out, and NO.OWLS.SO.FAR! We've both seen these owls, but not on the surveys.

First stop, we eat, get the data ready, start to roll. Each stop is five minutes. You record start time at each location, lat and long, habitat, and what you see. There are several species in addition to the owls we are looking for including Northern Harrier. We've seen a couple of pairs on the way in, and at our first stop we find a pair as well.

This is a male. The female is rust colored. The male is called the Grey Ghost.



Stop 2.....Mike says, "what's that?"
Me: "Owls? No Harriers, no OWLS!"

OWLS!





I took off walking. I get about 1/8 mile down the road, snapping pictures, which is tough at dusk, turn around and look for Mike. About every 2-3 stops I'll start walking to the next stop and Mike picks me up about half way. Uh oh, he's up there with some guy in a side by side. The whole time I'm thinking "crap, hurry up, we need to get to the next stop, then don't hurry up, I'm actually getting to see the owls, then, hurry up, then wait...."









Stop two down we find another pair of Harriers and another pair of owls!



Everything I have in photo skills I got from giving up any videographer skills.



It's mighty pretty out there.







According to what the rancher told Mike, in July there are "hundreds" of the owls out there. They also have two Greater Sage-grouse leks, though coyote population causes the leks to fluctuate. I did flush four of the grouse along the way, but they were in the air and gone before I could get a look. They do leave their mark though.





Anyway, three hours to home.





And we did spot two more owls on the way out, but not on our grid.



Today has been spent mostly doing the exciting data entry and photo organizing.
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Old 03-29-2020, 05:41 PM   #10063
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Nice photography!
Very cool detail on that moon shot too.
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Old 03-29-2020, 06:30 PM   #10064
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Thanks!
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Old 03-29-2020, 06:44 PM   #10065
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Wow!
What camera/lens did you take those shots with?
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Old 03-29-2020, 06:59 PM   #10066
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Nikon P900, no lenses. Rabeet suggested it, and the man knows his stuff!
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Old Yesterday, 06:22 AM   #10067
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Do I see eyes in that MRE??
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Old Yesterday, 07:03 AM   #10068
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One should never ask what's in an MRE!

Let's hope it was an air bubble. If not, it was pretty tasty!
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Old Yesterday, 04:38 PM   #10069
Banzai
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Quote:
Originally Posted by okaugust View Post
Yesterday Mike and I headed out on our second owl count.
In amongst all the beer flu doom and gloom there are still some feel good stories around. This one is relevant to your interests. Hopefully not geo-blocked.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-...ntist/12093258
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Old Yesterday, 06:42 PM   #10070
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Old Yesterday, 08:46 PM   #10071
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Z Grand View Post
Do I see eyes in that MRE??

Those are the best part! Put a little hot sauce on 'em and chow down!
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Old Today, 06:04 AM   #10072
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They even provided a packet of hot sauce!
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