Monday, January 18, 2010

I guess we skipped February, and went straight into March!

Today, for the first time in my life, you got Martin Luther King Jr Day off of school! With this extra day, I went out birding for the first time in a while to track down some yearbirds.

The last week has been really warm, and everything is melting. The fields are filled with mud and water and hundreds of waterfowl have collected in these fields, just like what happens in March with the migration!! Most if the fields that aren't full of water, are only 10-20% covered with snow, just as in March. I even caught myself looking for the first swallows and bluebirds!!!! They don't arrive until mid-March!! This weather could have fooled me!

I headed south, almost to Bigfork and turned onto Riverside Rd. Off of Riverside Rd. is Ranchette Rd. or something like that. There is a boat ramp on the Flathead River here, and that was my first designated stop - in search of Red-breasted Mergansers.

The ice at the waters edge was very attractive today, and I got a few shots of it.
The "steps" descending into the abyss . . . .
On the river, was about 15 Common Goldeneyes, 6 Common Mergansers, 6 Mallards, and about 4oo RING-NECKED DUCKS!!!! They aren't uncommon or anything, but the first Yearbird for the day! Also, I have never seen so many Ring-necked Ducks in one spot at one time. It was pretty cool. Also around was a Northern Flicker that seemed to be a "red-shafted" but with yellow-orange feathers, not the more true orange of the ever-present "red-shafted"s. It still had a red mustache, but its wing and tail feather color was off. Maybe a hybrid backcross with a "red"? On my way out, I ran into a flock of chickadees with some GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS with them. Not a bad bird to find, and another yearbird! I missed Red-breasted Merganser on the river :( Maybe next time.
Further down Riverside Rd, I found a WILSON'S SNIPE on a creek! Not the place I would expect one. Slower, more boggy stuff is where I would think this guy would have been. Another Yearbird.

On the big "feed lot" off of Egan Slough Rd, I had a group of BREWER'S BLACKBIRDS, really common in summer, but mostly gone in winter. Some always hang out with the cows though. Yearbird number 4 for the day.

That was about the extent of the birding I did today. Not much, but some good birds. Hundreds of Mallards and Canada Geese in various fields around the area. No bluebirds yet!

4 yearbirds brings me to 60 for the year. Tied with Dan Casey


  1. Nice. You're tied with me for the year. lol

  2. Great to stumble across another Laridophile - Your gulls pics are great - setting me up nicely for findiong a Smithsonian Herring Gull on our beach...mow that would eb something



  3. my pup would have loved to find that snipe.. we have woodcock here which are similar I think. well not here exactly but decently local. Never seen one though.
    Take care