Thursday, July 29, 2010

Work Benefits...

Monday the 26th I woke up bright and early. Time to do some birdin'

I took a drive down Riverside Rd in Creston to visit the "Bobolink" spot off of O'Bryan Rd. Unfortunately, its just late enough in the season that the males aren't singing very much, but I did find 2 bird!!! I love seeing BOBOs

Right near there, along the stream, there was about 40 Bank and Cliff Swallows! I found a juvenile Bank Swallow that must of gotten clipped by a car; it couldn't fly and was sitting on the road.

I moved the poor bird off the road and wished him/her a good life, not knowing how much longer he/she will live.
That is one benefit of working in Bigfork. I have to drive past great birding spots to and from work!
Now after a great day at work (Kehoe's Agate Shop) I was told that there was a lot more shorebirds at the Farm Rd pond than last time I was there. On my way home, I went by, and behold! Shorebirds!!!
There was a lot!! About 30 or so!
15 Long-billed Dowitchers (above)
3 Greater Yellowlegs
8 Lesser Yellowlegs
3 Semipalmated Sandpipers
5 Killdeer
2 Least Sandpipers
and one Spotted Sandpiper
The first 4 listed were yearbirds!! Woohoo that makes 195
I walked up closer to the pond all stealthy like a ninja and attempted to get some good Shorebird photos :)

3 Long-billed Dowitchers and a Least Sandpiper pictured.

What a great day! I really do miss birding, and I am really really really glad I am getting back into the swing of things!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

And It Has Begun, The Birds that wander the Shore

I have been hearing news of it, but I was unsure if it was true. Could it be? It seems too early for it to start, or at least for here.

I was optimistic and had to go see for myself.

Sad part is that I needed an excuse to go out birding this time. I had to go pick up something in Bigfork, and made a birding trip out of it!

Many Brewer's Blackbirds along the various back roads out here. Also, a few geese just hanging around in the fields.

Montford Road pond (above) is getting more and more .... gross, but the water level is going down. That is good for August birding adventures. On the other section of the pond not pictured above, a very odd bird was hiding and I didn't see it until it flew up. A single AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN!! What the .....? That is a weird and good find for the valley!!! WOOHOO!

First pelican of the year! 190th ABA bird for 2010

Cinnamon Teal, a large family of Ruddy Ducks, many American Coots, Marsh Wrens and a single Great Blue Heron also were making a living here on the pond.

- Red-tailed Hawks are very common in the valley.

The next pond didn't really have much new at all, but did have a good amount of Clay-colored Sparrows in the bushes!! Sweet birds! I really like Clay-coloreds.
LOWER VALLEY: On to SPLIT POND. In the past, it has been the best pond to view shorebird in August. On the 22nd of July...not so much.
There was, however, Yellow-headed Blackbirds as usual. Red-winged Blackbirds, Redheads, Common Goldeneye, Mallards, Bank and Tree Swallows were also just hangin' round.

Next was the pond along Farm Rd. FINALLY! some mudflats along the edge of the pond! 4 or 5 Killdeer, 2 actual Deer in the background and a Turkey Vulture flying around....and wait...PEEPS! (birder slang for Sandpipers) After a long study of them, far away and in the wind, I came to the conclusion I need to read up on my shorebirds. I'm a bit rusty.

Least Sandpipers, 3 of them, along with a Spotted Sandpiper! Great stuff! The Least Sandpiper is my 191st yearbird.

It was true. Still a bit early, but it has begun, the birds that wander the shore have begun to fly. Fly south on there twice-yearly journey - migration.

A Light Touch of Boreal Birds

HELLO everyone! It has been a while, but I really am getting out and seeing birds!

Visiting family from out-of-town is always fun. It's even better when you get to see birds while being with your family! My little cousin and my uncle joined my dad and sister for a half-day hike up to the ridge along Mt. Aeneas.

I love the high alpine atmosphere. Just something about it, it's just amazing. The birds there are amazing too. Just amazing.

Hermit Thrush!! First yearbird of the day! Varied and Swainson's Thrushes were also singing all over the mountain side.

After hiking up part of the trail, listening to MacGillivray's Warblers, Fox Sparrows and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, the trail levels of on a overlook of the moraine that the parking lot is in. As we stood and admired the view, a flock of 20 White-winged Crossbills flew over! That was cool!

...I do love that song. Pine Grosbeak, one of my favorite songs ever. WAIT!? Pine Grosbeak! Next yearbird! Unfortunately, like the Hermit Thrush, I did not see this bird. Listening to it sing is almost as good though!

The Microwave Relay Building on the ridge. Owned and operated by Bresnan Cable, which my dad works for!

Everything seems to look stronger up here. The trees and flowers have to fight to survive up that high.

On the way down, I heard some nestlings peeping like crazy, and saw a woodpecker form fly away down the mountain. The nest was in a large burned area so I camped out right in front of the nest to see if it belonged to a species of "special interest".

While waiting for the parents to return, I was visited by 3 Olive-sided Flycatchers! I absolutely LOVE those birds! My favorite Tyrannus Flycatcher yet! Then, not too long after they left, 2 BLACK SWIFTS flew on by!!! WHOA! yearbird! I really wish I could have gotten a better look at them though. They are such amazing birds...

AH HA! The mystery woodpeckers have returned! ... Not as "exciting" as I would have hoped but Hairy Woodpeckers are still fun!

Hiking back down the trail, looking forward to a nice cold Arizona Tea, I heard an odd chickadee call. GAHH! BOREAL CHICKADEE!! Only one problem...I didn't get to see it! I really wanted to see it! Oh well, I guess I have plenty of years to see more. That was the last yearbird of the day. Bringing my ABA yearlist to 189

There was many butterflies along the way, and I managed to get some shots of 3 species. All a very similar shade of orange...odd.

I hope to get out and do more birding soon!!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Local Spots To Pass The Time

Finally got out and went BIRDING!!!

I just did a little loop of 3 wetlands today and found some cool stuff.

The first marsh is on Fairview Crossroad, thus named Fairview Marsh. Here I found AT LEAST 12 Black Terns!! The most I have ever seen in one spot in Montana. Other birds around were Red-necked Grebes, Eared Grebes, Cinnamon Teal, Yellow-headed Blackbirds, and Common Yellowthroats....the usual marsh crew.

The fields held large amounts of Savannah Sparrows. Singing all day.

Next on the list was Montford Road Pond.
- Brewer's Blackbird panting

This really scummy pond had several families of American Coots as well as a family of Ruddy Ducks, and Cinnamon Teal. The Teal were actually diving completely underwater. They didn't stay down there very long but it was a new behavior I have never seen before.

Anyone good with dragonflies????
This one looks really cool...
(edit) Many thanks to Chuck Carlson for the ID to this dragon: A "Twelve-spotted Skimmer"
No ID for this one...I am still looking.
- Red-tailed Hawk
The last pond was on....well I seem to have forgotten the name of the road it was on, but I got a yearbird! BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD. Surprising I have went 7 months without seeing one here.
- Song Sparrow

The Hummingbird brings my total yearlist to 185.....sad. I need to get out more!!


Rafting. Epic.

Even more epic? Rafting and finding an OVENBIRD!!

My best friends and I rafted a stretch of the Middle Fork of the Flathead River from Moccasin Creek to the West Glacier river access on JUNE 26th. Amazing trip with class 3+ whitewater rapids!!

At the "pull-out" in West Glacier I heard another Tennessee Warbler singing...then shortly after I heard an OVENBIRD!! I tracked it down and got my "life look" at this bird, or the best look at one I have had yet!

Great new Yearbird!!!

Summertime Views

Well I haven't been out birding much lately... actually at all! I am hoping to change that soon though :)

Here are some cool sunset and vista pictures I have acquired over the last month.

Hope you enjoy!