Inland Pacific Northwest Raptor Migration 2019's News

December 02, 2019

November Summary

The month of November is over and I'm sad to say we are one month away from closing this project down and it's finished. If you've enjoyed it as much as I have, let me know and I may think about doing a breeding season count. Here's the summary for the month.

Top Five Species Observed (Overall):
Red-tailed Hawk -- 326 obs
American Kestrel -- 60 obs (+2 spots)
Swainson's Hawk -- 48 obs (-1 spot)
Great Horned Owl -- 45 obs (+1 spot)
Cooper's Hawk -- 43 obs (-2 spots)

Top Five Species Observed (November):
Red-tailed Hawk -- 116 obs
Rough-legged Hawk -- 27 obs (first time in Monthly Top 5)
American Kestrel -- 25 obs
Bald Eagle -- 20 obs (first time in Monthly Top 5)
Northern Harrier -- 19 obs

Total Species Overall: 29 species (+3)
Total Species November: 18 species (+3 from last month)

Top 5 Observations Submitted: @birdwhisperer 280 obs, @peterolsoy 192 obs and @cgates326 101 obs, @masonmaron 67 obs and @jnelson 37 obs
Top 5 Most Species: peterolsoy 18 species, cgates326 18 species, birdwhisperer 18 species, masonmaron 9 species and @nightjar09 8 species

Species Still Not Observed: White-tailed Kite, Broad-winged Hawk, Barn Owl, Flammulated Owl, Snowy Owl and Spotted Owl

Counties Still Needing Observations: 3 in OR -- Gilliam, Morrow and Wheeler

What to Expect in December: This is last month so I want the project to go out in a bang. We have 5 species that are "expected" in our search zones but we already know we've lost our chance at seeing a Broad-winged Hawk or Flammulated Owl. Though a Broad-winged Hawk was observed in Asotin County, WA last December, doesn't mean it will happen again. Spotted Owls will be incredibly difficult to find along with White-tailed Kites east of the Cascades. I am fairly shocked Barn Owls haven't been photographed/found yet as I find them one of the more common species. My lack of finding them has nothing to do with it. :P

Anyway here's what to expect. Snow will keep raptors in the same general area so keep your eyes open for similar looking hawks. A few days ago I found a Northern (abieticola) x Western (calurus) Red-tailed Hawk in Union Co, OR, so obviously seeing an odd-ball Red-tailed is not out of the question yet. @peterolsoy has proven that Gyrfalcons have returned to at least Asotin despite my envy and disbelief, so keep your eyes open for large pale falcons and don't confuse them for Prairie Falcons and have an embarrassing moment like I did this January. The Columbia River Basin will provide a great opportunity to see a Black Merlin (F. c. suckleyi) but remember that female Taiga Merlins (F. c. columbarius) can be incredibly similar. If you are anywhere in Washington, this is the month to find a Snowy Owl. I have found them in Walla Walla, Yakima and Spokane but can be anywhere in the basin.

A final note, on Friday, December 20th is the IPNRM field trip and I have sent a message to those that are members of the project and others I would like to attend. I have not received any word however if invited persons can attend nor have I received preferred departure times. If you are planning on attending, please get back with me as soon as possible. If you have not received an invitation or lost it, I will resend to you if you forward me a message. Good luck hawkwatchers!

Posted on December 02, 2019 00:32 by birdwhisperer birdwhisperer | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 05, 2019

October Summary

Sorry I'm a little late on this but October is over and I'm ready to give you the report for the month and project overall. We are now on the downhill slope of the project as we only have two months left. So if you want to photograph raptors, do it before the end of the year. Or if you would like, you can convince to start a winter/spring migration project. Whatever works best for you. So here we go, the summary.

Top Five Species Observed (Overall):
Red-tailed Hawk: 208 obs
Swainson's Hawk: 48 obs
Cooper's Hawk: 40 obs
American Kestrel: 37 obs (+1 spot)
Great Horned Owl: 35 obs (first time in Top 5)

Top Five Species Observed (Month):
Red-tailed Hawk: 39 obs
Cooper's Hawk: 7 obs
American Kestrel: 6 obs (+1 spot)
Great Horned Owl: 6 obs (first time in monthly Top 5)
Northern Harrier: 6 obs (first time in monthly Top 5)

Total Species Observed (Overall): 26 species (+2)
Total Species Observed (October): 15 species (-5 from last month)

Species Still Not Observed: White-tailed Kite, Broad-winged Hawk, Barn Owl, Flammulated Owl, Western Screech-Owl, Snowy Owl, Northern Hawk Owl, Spotted Owl, Barred Owl and Gyrfalcon

Counties Still Needing Observations: (5 -- 1 in WA, 4 in OR) Ferry (WA), Sherman (OR), Gilliam (OR), Morrow (OR) and Wheeler (OR)

What to Look for in November: Big numbers of Rough-legged and Harlan's Hawks should be coming in. Long-eared and Northern Saw-whet Owls will start residing in thickets and conifers in isolated locations and under watchful and cautious eyes, you'll see them. Other wintering birds are appearing to arrive around 3 weeks early, so I'm keeping an open eye for Snowy Owls, Gyrfalcons and maybe a Northern Hawk Owl. Good luck!

Posted on November 05, 2019 02:20 by birdwhisperer birdwhisperer | 0 comments | Leave a comment

October 01, 2019

September Summary and What to Expect in October

It is October eve and so comes the day I add the summary for the month. I am proud to say that this project has reached a whooping 386 observations so far, which is far more than I expected. All I can say is, keep up the good work. Here's some of our stats for the month.

Top Five Species Observed (Overall)
Red-tailed Hawk: 139 obs
Swainson's Hawk: 47 obs
Cooper's Hawk: 30 obs
Osprey: 28 obs
American Kestrel: 24 obs

Top Five Species Observed (September)
Red-tailed Hawk: 59 obs
Cooper's Hawk: 14 obs
Turkey Vulture: 12 obs
American Kestrel: 11 obs
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 11 obs

Total Species Observed (Overall): 24 species
Total Species Observed (September): 20 species

Species Still Not Sighted: (11) White-tailed Kite*, Broad-winged Hawk*, Rough-legged Hawk, Barn Owl, Flammulated Owl*, Western Screech-Owl, Snowy Owl, Northern Hawk Owl, Spotted Owl, Barred Owl and Gyrfalcon

* I'm putting these species on the high alert list. If we miss these species during the month of October, our chances of seeing them otherwise is slim because of migration. Help us find these species.

Counties Still Needing Observations: (5-- 1 in WA and 4 in OR) -- Ferry County (WA), Sherman County (OR), Gilliam (OR), Morrow (OR) and Wheeler (OR)

What October Has To Offer: I probably say this every month, but this month should be great for raptors. October will offer the first of the winter raptors including Rough-legged Hawks, Harlan's Hawks and for those really lucky Snowy Owls and Gyrfalcons. Owling is still going to be a huge thing too and will be so until the end of the year. If you are willing to take the time, go 4-wheeling your local forests after dark and listen to owls. For the most part, if any surprising raptors migrated through the two states, they're probably already gone but if it is still possible to get wintering Eastern and Northern Red-tails, so keep an eye for thin patagial or dark bellyband Red-tails. Merlins will also start becoming a common sight in certain areas and if you see one, check the subspecies. Though most are Taiga subspecies, I've had a few Prairie (aka Richardson's) and a Black Merlin in the search zone. Good luck raptor watchers!

Posted on October 01, 2019 04:36 by birdwhisperer birdwhisperer | 0 comments | Leave a comment

September 30, 2019

Upcoming Opportunities and Possible Field Trips

Hi followers to the IPNRM project. I just wanted to bring some announcements regarding to the project and upcoming opportunities to see some raptors between now and December 31st. Hopefully you can help contribute and attend some of these events.

Ebird Events:
October 19 -- October Big Day -- The fall counterpart to May's Global Big Day, it's where birders observe as many species in one day as possible. I think this will be a great opportunity for us as birders and hawk watchers to take the chance to also find as many species as possible.

Audubon Events:
Most Audubon chapters will provide weekly bird walks and monthly field trips at minimum. These events provide great chances to not only see birds but raptors as well. You can find an Audubon chapter just about any place you go in Washington and if you wish to attend in Oregon, the East Cascades Audubon is your only option. Christmas Bird Counts (CBC) will also provide good chances of seeing lots of raptors so stay tune to those.

Possible IPNRM Field Trips:
Fore Warning!!! These field trips are not confirmed!

I think it will be a great idea that I take the members of this project to a certain location once a month for the next three months to go looking for raptors as a group. It should be a great chance for us to meet one another and get to know each other better. However, I have limited transportation methods so I'm afraid that as much as I want to lead these trips, I may not make it in reality and these field trips could be cancelled. However, if I do happen to be able to do it, here are the dates and places I'm intending on going.

October 25 or 26 -- Steen Mountains, Oregon -- The Steen Mountains are a perfect place to go raptor watching, especially at the time I listed. The plan would be not only explore the Steen Mountains but surrounding areas as well in Harney and Malheur Counties in Oregon. We should expect to see plenty of Red-tailed Hawks, Ferruginous Hawks, eagles of both species and Prairie Falcons. More details to come if I can attend.

November 15 or 16 -- Blue Mountain Loop, Oregon/Washington -- Colder weather means possible snow finding but also great raptor findings in foothills. My plan for this trip is to likely start in La Grande and we work our way around the Blue Mountains going through Walla Walla, Clarkston and finally ending in Enterprise, Oregon. Species should include Red-tailed Hawks, Rough-legged Hawks, Merlins, accipiters and perhaps a Northern Goshawk.

December Friday or Saturday that doesn't conflict with CBC -- Columbia River Bend, Washington -- December raptor watching Walla Walla County is my favorite. Our trip will start in either Umatilla or Walla Walla County and we'll work our way upright. We'll continue on the Franklin County side of the Snake River to Lyons Ferry and work downriver on the Walla Walla side. Species include plenty of Red-tailed Hawks, Rough-legged Hawks, Harlan's Hawks, Northern Saw-whet Owls and Long-eared Owls.

And those are my plans. As I said, these field trips may not become reality because of my traveling conflictions. I am willing to pass on trip leadership if that happens and the birders are committed to going out as a group. You can state your opinions below and I'll make a final decision on these possible field trips.

Posted on September 30, 2019 05:21 by birdwhisperer birdwhisperer | 0 comments | Leave a comment

PNWRM Observations of the Week -- Sep 22-28

The final complete week of September is over and so comes the last three observations for the month. Let's go on with it and see what has been submitted over the week that we should appreciate.

I think the third place spot goes to @umpquamatt for a dazzling photo of a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk in the Steen Mountains. These mountains in southeastern Oregon is one of the best places to hawk watch in our project's zone because it's a north to south isolated range which acts like a magnet to our fierce feathered friends. You can find all the photos to the observation in the link and congrats to the photographer.

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/33411730

Second spot goes to @kenchamberlain for this week. The one thing I've learned about this project is how many facial expressions Great Horned Owls process. In this outstanding photo, we now have a Great Horn who is seemingly winking. I'm just wondering why. Is he winking because the owl believes the observer would see the Broad-billed Hummingbird or he's trying to flirt with the observer.

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/33296933

And what I call the coolest observation of the week, goes to @guyincognito for the mesmerizing photo of a species that gets me every time, a Northern Saw-whet Owl. Spotted in Pend Oreille County, Washington, this bird was spotted as far north and east as possible in our project. As for the bird itself, just look at that face and tell me it doesn't make you go "awwwww". Thanks to all the photographers who contributed to the project. If this is your first time seeing this project, I'm still looking for committers to find some awesome raptors. Good luck and let October be a good raptor month.

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/33352658

Posted on September 30, 2019 04:32 by birdwhisperer birdwhisperer | 0 comments | Leave a comment

September 24, 2019

PNWRM Observations of the Week -- Sep 15-21

Another week done with a lot of observations. Let's see what's cool for this week!

In third place for this week, I nominate myself (Am I'm allowed to do that?) with a juvenile Western Red-tailed Hawk just taking off into the air, sighted near Vale in Malheur County, Oregon. I just took one look and I thought it had to be an honorable mention.

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/33070923

The second spot goes to @garth_harwood for a great photo of a Great Horned Owl in Malheur NWR in Harney County, Oregon. To me, every time I see a good owl photo, I'm completely mesmerized and fall in love with it. Great shot and I hope you can participate in the project more.

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/33019071

And lastly, the best shot of the week goes to @harryj37 for an outstanding photograph of a Cooper's Hawk in Deschutes County, Oregon. I think the photo is just purely jaw-dropping with the rich blue upperparts contrasting with the red background. Also how distinctly obvious of the bird's identity. Let's give this observer a warm welcome to iNaturalist and congrats on the shot.

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/32919184

Posted on September 24, 2019 04:44 by birdwhisperer birdwhisperer | 0 comments | Leave a comment

September 16, 2019

PNWRM Observations of the Week -- Sep 8-14

Welcome to the next week of awesome observations submitted to the Pacific Northwest Raptor Count. This week was hard for me to choose who/what should be our top three observations this week since we didn't have as many observations as previously and @masonmaron had to be an awesome photographer. So here we go.

So without further adieu I give you, your third place spot for this week. It goes to @kenchamberlain for an outstanding closeup of a juvenile Western Red-tailed Hawk. Some might call it 'cheating' to use nets to get shots but it's a beautiful hawk so I think it counts anyhow. Besides, we may get our borealis and/or abieticola Red-tailed in a net this season.

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/32747273

Second place goes to @benmeredyk for a juvenile Swainson's Hawk who probably wished he oiled himself before the downpour. Within the next week or so, check out in freshly plowed fields to see flocks of Swainson's in numbers as high as 50.

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/32377418

And first place goes to @masonmaron for photographing the same juvenile Swainson's Hawk. I am like really jealous of Mason because I've been going nuts over photographing Swainson's this summer and then I see his photo on facebook under the post saying ebird will be using it for their front page and I'm like, come on man. Anyhow, congrats on the shots and good raptor luck as the season progresses. Hope you find a Broad-winged!

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/32396835

Posted on September 16, 2019 04:23 by birdwhisperer birdwhisperer | 1 comments | Leave a comment

September 08, 2019

PNWRM Observations of the Week -- Sep 1-7

I have decided to give members of this project a little fun every week by provided what I think were the best photos submitted to the project within the past week. Hope you enjoy my top three favorite pics!

Three spot goes to @spauls for his photo of an adorable little pygmy-owl in Pend Oreille County, WA. This 6-inch, hard species to find (or for me at least) is our first sighting for the project and I hope to expect more as time passes. You can see his pic at the following observation.

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/32053403

Second place goes to @peterolsoy for his 'winking' owl in Whitman County, WA. Great Horns are by far the most common of the owls but it's always a neat experience to see them. If you happen to be owling some night this month, listen to courting adults while they're still be harassed by the previous season young.

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/32013268

And first place for this week goes to @kathawk for a very... shocking experience with another Great Horned Owl. Usually I find this expression on people when I show them owls but this is new for me. Almost like he's saying, "Oh my gosh! A human!".

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/31969822

Posted on September 08, 2019 22:45 by birdwhisperer birdwhisperer | 0 comments | Leave a comment

September 04, 2019

Raptors Needs Per County

For those really obsessed with iNaturalist, here's a little challenge you can go if you happen upon a location. There are only a few regular iNaturalists the inland Pacific Northwest so here and there, data is patchy. So if you wish, visit some counties and get observations for places that have yet recorded the species. I'll list the counties that our five common species haven't been 'found' in yet but is in iNaturalist's range maps.

Red-tailed Hawk -- Ferry (WA) and Gilliam (OR)

Swainson's Hawk -- Ferry (WA), Stevens (WA), Pend Oreille (WA), Chelan (WA), Spokane (WA), Kittias (WA), Yakima (WA), Klickitat (WA), Benton (WA), Benton (WA), Garfield (WA), Asotin (WA), Hood River (OR), Sherman (OR), Gilliam (OR), Morrow (OR), Jefferson (OR), Wheeler (OR), Grant (OR) and Klamath (OR)

Osprey -- Ferry (WA), Adams (WA), Benton (WA), Garfield (WA), Sherman (OR), Gilliam (OR), Morrow (OR), Wheeler (OR), Baker (OR) and Malheur (OR)

Great Horned Owl -- Ferry (WA), Pend Oreille (WA), Douglas (WA), Columbia (WA), Garfield (WA), Hood River (OR), Gilliam (OR), Wheeler (OR) and Grant (OR)

American Kestrel -- Ferry (WA), Pend Oreille (WA), Chelan (WA), Columbia (WA), Gilliam (OR), Jefferson (OR), Grant (OR) and Malheur (OR)

And as I said, this challenge is for those who are really obsessed with going out all over to find something that may be just outside you window. But if you decide to go to one of those counties, good for you and I wish you the best of luck because whatever you find can be valuable data.

Posted on September 04, 2019 18:25 by birdwhisperer birdwhisperer | 0 comments | Leave a comment

September 02, 2019

End of August Report

End of the month report is here and the statistics for the project.

Top Five Species (Overall):
Red-tailed Hawk -- 70
Swainson's Hawk -- 38
Osprey -- 21
Cooper's Hawk -- 14
Great Horned Owl -- 12

Top Five Species (Month):
Red-tailed Hawk -- 43
Swainson's Hawk -- 29
Osprey -- 12
American Kestrel -- 7
Cooper's Hawk -- 7

# Species Observed Overall: 17
# Species Observed in August: 14

Species We Still Need Observations: (18) Turkey Vulture, White-tailed Kite, Northern Harrier, Northern Goshawk, Broad-winged Hawk, Rough-legged Hawk, Barn Owl, Flammulated Owl, Western Screech-Owl, Snowy Owl, Northern Hawk Owl, Northern Pygmy-Owl, Spotted Owl, Barred Owl, Boreal Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl and Gyrfalcon

Counties Still Needing Observations: (11 -- 6 WA and 5 OR) Ferry (WA), Lincoln (WA), Klickitat (WA), Franklin (WA), Columbia (WA), Garfield (WA), Sherman (OR), Gilliam (OR), Morrow (OR), Wheeler (OR) and Baker (OR)

What to expect from this month?
Hawks will be start going haywire this month so keep your eyes open for anything odd. Different Red-tailed Hawk subspecies should be showing up along with Harlan's and maybe a Rough-legged. Fresh-cut hayfields will provide perfect hunting grounds for Buteo species and if you happen upon those fields, expect huge numbers of Red-tailed and Swainson's. Also remember to search for a Broad-winged or Red-shouldered if you do. September also marks the month that owls will start courting, so go out into the woods and listen for Northern Saw-whet and an occasional Boreal Owl if you're in the mountains. Let's give this project a boost in September. Good luck hawk watchers!

Posted on September 02, 2019 06:11 by birdwhisperer birdwhisperer | 1 comments | Leave a comment