I got the bug to head up into Idaho and visit the Snake River Birds of Prey area for a couple days of raptor photography. Around a 600 mile trip one way…14 hours on the road. Stayed in Nampa…now just a suburb of the greater Boise urban sprawl (having been I Idaho resident for 7 years I realize they disregard anything we Californians tell them NOT to do). My expectations were that I would be inundated with raptors on every rock outcrop, canyon wall and power pole but this was not the case.
Primary BOP habitat (w/o trash)
Most of the area is high desert sagebrush interspersed with private lands in alfalfa, corn and other water hungry crops. Lots of dirt roads and tracks over the hills where the motorcycles and dune buggies have denuded the area. This opened the area for “free” dumping of all kinds of trash…old mattresses and couches, broken swing sets and just lots of bags of garbage. But, amid the rubble I did find some cooperative burrowing owls and spent a morning and an evening photographing them.
My favorite shot
Going down into the Snake River Canyon was a welcome change…really picturesque scenery with some faunal photographic subjects.
Snake River Canyon from Dedication Point
The sheer cliffs provide nesting habitat for several raptor species
Prairie falcon at eyrie (as close as I could get)
Marmots live in the rock falls at the cliff base
So do canyon wrens…
and Rock wrens.
Ospreys made use of abandoned power poles
So, I cut my trip short by a day and headed back over the miles and miles and miles of sagebrush lands in Idaho, Oregon and Nevada (glad I brought a couple dozen CDs and have cruise control!) Next adventure is Ecuador in July!