Birds of Prey

DGressard-2

Country Road

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DGressard-1

Out of Bounds

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DGressard-3

Pursuit

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Before the Storm

Before the Storm

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Snake River Peregrine

Snake River Falcon

While hunting chukar on the steep breaks of the Snake River, I was privileged to observe Peregrine falcons hunting in these canyons as well. On one occasion, I was making my way across the base of a tall basalt cliff, when I heard the distinct vibrating sound of air passing through wing feathers of a bird of prey. I looked up to see a Peregrine falcon making a dive for a dove flying across the canyon. To the dove’s good fortune, the aerial attack was not a success, but it remained a magnificent display of the stealth and speed these birds possess. It is not uncommon to see Peregrine falcons watchfully perched or soaring high above the steep and rugged canyons of the Snake River, seeking their next meal…

 

Training Day

“Training Day”

The Palouse River drainage in Eastern Washington is a beautiful combination of cliffs and fertile soils that tumble over the edges of the basalt out-croppings. The basalt rocks are rough and porous with cracks that capture both wind and particles of soil the wind carries. This creates a unique opportunity for moss and lichens to attach to the rocks and cover them with fantastic patterns, textures, and colors. The material that is caught between these rocks consists of countless layers of soil and deteriorating moss that is rich in nutrients. This creates a substrate that is firm, but also light. Anything that moves heavily over the filled cracks makes a distinct hollow sound. One can imagine the rapid thumping of the cottontail rabbit’s feet as he pushes them against the rock propelling himself toward the safety of a nearby sagebrush thicket ahead and away from the sharp talons of the young Red-tailed hawk that is in pursuit. The air makes a distinct sound as passes through the stiff feathers of the hawk’s wings gains speed on his precise dive for the rabbit. Although this scene appears to favor the rabbit’s escape over the hawk’s successful hunt, it will provide a valuable “Training Day” for the hawk that will teach him skills to use on his next hunt.

The rugged canyons of Western Idaho, Eastern Washington, and Oregon have always fascinated me with their unique and varied habitats, which support the largest diversity of wildlife here in the Northwest.