BOGS has not done a Raptor Run since Floyd Weitzel led one in I think it was 2012. The weather forecast was 80% likelihood of rain, and we did have spells of rain, but most of the times we stopped for a bird, it was the wind that was more of the problem than rain. We had five cars, probably ~15-18 people. By the end of the trip it was partly sunny and calmer.
We had no trouble finding Raptors to enjoy. Especially common were Red-tailed Hawks and American Kestrels.
We had four two-way radios spread among the cars to relay information about what we were seeing. For a while the two sets of two radios were on different codes, so the two radios of a set could hear the other, but the two sets (of two) could not hear the other set of two radios. Marylee fixed that for us at the Halsey restroom stop.
One of our hopes for this BOGS trip was to see some Owls. We did see a Great Horned Owl nest and to my surprise, there was not only an adult Owl in the nest but also TWO young Owlets. This is very early for hatched GHO eggs, not to mention that the young birds were quite large already. The usual timeline is for GHO eggs to be laid near the end of January. These normally hatch near the end of February - so you can see our birds were at least 4 weeks early. Add another week or more likely two weeks to get the hatched birds to the size they are now and they are about 6 weeks early.
But we were really hoping to see some Short-eared Owls at Diamond Hill Wetlands. It turned out we were running late by the time we got there so we did not get to spend 20 minutes to watch for the Short-eared Owls. They do sometimes come out during daylight, even in mid-day at times. However we were not so lucky this time.
As we were driving away from the gate of the wetlands we saw a Rough-legged Hawk. It flew over our car and while Steve got out to look at it, I got out and saw a Northern Shrike flying fast and low over the wetlands. It landed long enough for me to see the dark wing patch and the dark eye-mask. By the time I got my camera on the bird it flew down into the grass.
Bird List compiled by Janet Naylor
Bird list for BOGS raptor run, on January 25, 2018, 9am-1pm.: On back roads to Junction City, Harrisburg, and Halsey areas, then various roads including Lake Creek, Gap, Ranch, Center School Rd, Belts Rd and Diamond Hill Roads.
Weather was rainy and blustery, but cooperated by not raining when we stopped. Brief glimpse of sun near the end.
Most of the lambs seen were 3 to 4 weeks old. Most of the bald eagles seen (10 or so) were immatures.
Thanks to Steve Barron and Priscilla Sokolowski for setting up the route and making maps.
Scroll down below the slideshow to see the Bird List compiled by Janet Naylor