Saturday, June 19, 2010

Lewistown and The Nature Conservancy

HELLO again!!!

I know I have been neglecting my blog and neglecting birding as well. It has been really rough not feeding the primeval instinct to go birding, but now I finally have!

Barbara Cozzens, of The Nature Conservancy, invited me to lead a birding trip in Lewistown on June 11th, and of course, I was honored to!

My mom and I arrived on the 9th to take Thursday and scout the area for the trip. We saw some good birds along Spring Creek like Willow Flycatcher, Red-naped Sapsucker and Veery but money drove us to spend the majority of the day in town, walking around and looking at the town.

Barbara met us for dinner with a few other TNC workers and we had a great time talking all about TNC and birds and all sorts of things. The weather was great that day and we had high hope for the following day.

Of course, it was cloudy and rainy.....who'da thunk it...

We made the best of the weather and pressed on.
Our first stop was at the local fish hatchery, which was actually an incredibly birdy spot!!
We had amazing abouts of Western Wood-Pewees, and good numbers of Yellow, and Yellow-rumped Warblers. Brown-headed Cowbirds, and the pewees were the most approachable birds for photos, but I didn't even manage a shot of the pewees.
They don't call it a fish hatchery for nothin'!!
We did get some good surprise birds such as a very obliging male Spotted Towhee, and a not so obliging Clay-colored Sparrow. An Osprey flew over, which no one had ever seen an Osprey in Lewistown before. Mountain Bluebirds, and this fellow also let us take a look at them...
We all soon got chilled and moved on to a cafe for some warm drinks and planned our next move.

We moved on to where my mom and I had the Veery the day before and attempted to have everyone get looks at it, but thrushes are hard to work with sometimes.
We took a nice trail along Spring Creek and got some more birds for the trip like Common Yellowthroat and Black-headed Grosbeak

Lady Slippers - almost got more attention them the majority of the birds!
We ended the official trip at some ponds north of town with Blue-winged Teal and American Avocet the main birds. Also, we ended the trip with about 50 birds exactly! not bad for a half-day trip in 7 mile circle!
From there my mom and I left for home, 6 1/2 hours away!
On the way, I talked my mom into make a stop at Freezout Lake, and here, I got a number of yearbirds such as Willet, Common and Forster's Tern.
Killdeer posing nicely at Freezout
A ULTRA cool shot of an American Avocet at Freezout

The North end of Freezout itself!
California Gull - one of the many birds that breed in large numbers at Freezout Lake. Among them are Franklin's Gull, White-faced Ibis, Black-necked Stilt, and MANY duck species. I unfortunately missed Ibis and Black-crowned Heron, though those birds require I little bit more time to find then I had that day.
On the way between Freezout and Browning, I spotted this beautiful bird!!
A Red-winged WHITEbird!! A leucistic Red-winged Blackbird! What a treat!! Leucistic means that the birds pigment cells are a bit screwy or nonfunctional, resulting in a white and tan bird!
- The Rocky Mountain Front!!!


  1. Some great soightings there Josh. Didn't realise you had Lady's slippers your side of the pond brill aren't they.

  2. I believe the term here would be Leucistic. Not Albino as the bird does not appear to have pink eyes. ;)

    Sounds like it was a fun trip!

  3. haha yeah I know about the terms...but I do believe I was having a lazy moment and didn't want to figure out how to spell that!! hahaha I will edit it now ;)