Yellowstone Reports

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Second nest log, Part two

Filming for the PBS special
by Dan Hartman

July 6, 2016

June 11    Arrived at the nest at 5PM  The large chick has fledged with no warning.  Meaning, there was no wing flapping or jumping about in the nest.  This leads me to believe he fell out.  Youngest chick was fed at 8:22PM.  Female hunted just above the blind.

June 12    Two chicks still in the nest.  I looked around a bit and located the male hunting in a meadow to the south.  At 8AM he caught a gopher and ate it. Later I found him hunting farther to the east.

June 13    Two chicks still in the nest

I was busy for a few days but the BBC crew continued to film at the nest.  Jeff would report in every night on what occurred during that day.  I was amazed when he said the female brought in a ruffed grouse.

June 16    Two chicks still in the nest.  Lots of wing flapping and jumping about.  Goshawk buzzed the nest on three occassions.  Female flew in to chase it off.  Second chick finally fledged at 6PM.

June 17    Third chick still in the nest.

June 22   Third chick finally fledged!  I was busy with other projects so film maker Jeff Hogan and Director-Producer Paul Thompson had staked out the nest 6:00am to 9:00pm for the last ten days getting the elusive fledging shots.  When they left the nest area, all three chicks were safely perched in the surrounding trees.

June 27-28  I worked with Paul and film maker Ian on songbird nests in the area.  They'll be used as additional shots in the film.  On Wednesday, Ian and I filmed the Clarks Fork Fire.

June 30    Jeff returned and he and I tried for shots of the chicks learning to fly.  We found the chicks easy enough but they perched high in the trees and rain complicated the shoot.

July 1    Found the chicks and grabbed a few shots.  Finding lots of bear scats.  Fresh.  Goshawk driven off by the female owl.  Haven't seen a single feeding, or for that matter even seen the male owl.

July 2    Last day of filming.  Finally found the chicks to the north sitting at the very tops of a dead tree surrounded by pine boughs.  Extremely hard to find openings to film through.  Jeff did get a good preening shot and a  couple flying off.   Mosquitoes are unbelievable.  Often biting through bug spray.  Could be why the chicks are so high.

For the most part filming at the nest was a good experience.  I've worked on more than a dozen films in the past so pretty much knew what to expect.  I was worried how our filming might impact the nest, but since I had photographed at the nest the past two years, I knew how to approach and film without bothering the nesting pair.

On the whole BBC, especially Paul, really understood how sensitive the nest site was.

Jeff and I have filmed together for more than 25 years.  He respects the wildlife first and films accordingly.  Great grays have been a passion of his as they have been for me, so working on this project together really was as good as it gets.


View slide show

Chick Close To Fledging

Out Of The Nest

High And Hard To Film

Helicopter Dipping Water

Helicopter Over The Fire

Blue Bird Nest

Bear Crap

The Chicks Are High Above Us

There They Are !!!

Dawn Of The Last Day