Field Notes

A great horned owl, taking a break up Cache Creek.

Though Bert Raynes’ Far Afield column has been temporarily suspended, bird and wildlife watchers are still calling and emailing in with their sightings. — Eds.

Beneath the recent smoky skies, migration continues.

On Sunday, Sept. 27, Alice Richter had five Eurasian collared doves at her dental office in Rafter J. It was the first time she has seen them in Jackson.

A reader, Linda Stell, living in a remote ranchland area, says she has for 60 years observed migrating sandhill cranes making the hard, dry, high-altitude stretch over Carlsbad, New Mexico. Thanks, Linda, for your lyrical observation.

Susan Marsh found a nice great horned owl on the National Elk Refuge, hunting in the cottonwoods along Flat Creek. Quite a few pronghorns near Kelly, getting ready to launch for the season. Fall colors are fabulous, Susan reports.

AJ DeRosa ran into a bunch of crows on a mid-river gravel bar in the Snake River between the Wilson Bride and AJ’s Tipi Camp. At least a couple dozen. AJ wonders: Is this a murder or a kettle? They were all goofing around, being crows.

Patty Ewing had a great look and got some wonderful portraits of a great horned owl Oct. 1 on the Cache Creek Trail. Patty also reported a dipper working the riffles of Cache Creek in East Jackson.

This week Wes and Shirley Timmerman have seen a continuation of robins starting their day, along with cedar waxwings, among the hawthorns. Kinglets, vireos and chickadees also start their day covering all the shrubs and trees, looking for tiny insects. A yellow-rumped warbler was intermittently dashing from branches to grab flying insects in the warm afternoons.

Kind of quiet down in Hoback Nation, reports Ron Gessler. A few antsy robins, a smattering of evening grosbeaks, two green-tailed towhees and the ubiquitous chickadees. The small birds Ron was unable to identify last report turned out to be yellow warblers. Several are still working The Aspens. Thanks to Jen Hoffman for the ID. Seeing lots of flocks: a bunch of blackbirds weighing down a fence by Evans, and about three dozen crows circling over town center. The cutest baby nuthatch in the world is turning out to be a beautiful male. Lastly, having an immature bald eagle fly alongside you while driving down the south highway is always a treat.

A lovely Snake River float Sunday yielded several bald eagles, family groups of maturing mergansers, a murder of crows, several dippers, a flock of ready-to-migrate bluebirds, butterflies on the rocky bars, beautiful fall aspen and cottonwood color and eight fish-on for Ned Thomas and Karen Skaggs.

Susan Patla reports the warblers left the Teton Valley, Idaho, area this past week. The last two days she has seen only a few ruby-crowned kinglets. A surprise Sunday was a strutting male ruffed grouse that put on quite a show as he crossed the road.

A group of seven Stellar’s jays by a small puddle Sunday morning had to fend off attacks by robins, who chased them with great vigor. The robins also chased off a northern flicker. There were 30 to 40 robins hanging around, gobbling berries.

A blue jay was seen near Packsaddle Creek on Thursday night and Friday morning. When Susan went to look for it early on Friday, she found a sharp-shinned hawk perched at the location, but she never did find the jay.

In Driggs, Idaho, Dawn Hannay found an immature northern loggerhead shrike.

This spell of nice weather will make that first Yellowstone snow a surprise!

Got sightings? Email them to

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