Monday, June 15, 2009

Great Falls MT Birding Festival, and Saturdays fieldtrip

The Montana Bird Festival is an annual conference, with many field trips, banquets and speakers. This years festival was in Great Falls, and the keynote speaker was David Allen Sibley. Most of the field trips where grassland, and marsh oriented, and that was a plus for me because I was after the prairie birds.

Friday, after a very funny speaker, and dinner, I met up with Andrew Guttenberg, and we went to where we were staying and crash for the night, ready for the awesome birding that awaits.

Saturdays field trip was suppossed to be a great trip lead by John Carlson, but it ended up being lead through inches of SNOW!! We still saw a few birds, and it was great birding with John again, but we could have definitely done without the snow.

We saw a few McCown's Longspurs and quite a few Long-billed Curlew. We got Yellow Warbler, and Gray Catbird too, in the snow.

Long-billed Curlew

Andrew Guttenberg

We came to a lake, and found that alot of swallows were feeding on bugs just above the water, and getting quick drinks. I took many shots, but only one or two came out, but just barely.

All field trips got back to the hotel in time for David Sibley's talk on making a guide, and his life; and his book signing. Andrew and I were lucky enough to be David Sibley's assistants for the night. We had reserved seats by him at the lunch before he spoke.
That was really great to meet him, and get my book signed.
After the lunch and speech, Andrew, his mom, two of there friends, and I went down to Giant Springs State Park, home to the shortest river on record in the world. It is just about 50 yards long. It is the Roe River.
Right near the park, a Swainson's Hawk was hanging still in the wind 17 feet above us. I did however turn the photo, because it was actually facing down and it didn't quite look natural.

A small creek at Giant Springs.

Just like at the lake, there was a bunch of swallows flying around just above the water, and only a few shots came out......

Look for Sunday's Field Trip report next!!

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure that the nesting birds didn't sppreciate that late season snow!