Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A rainy-day surprise!

     After much procrastination, I will be making a few blog posts to catch up to present time, starting with this one about my day birding on October 8th, 2016.

     It has been a busy autumn, and I have not had many days of just leisurely birding to myself.  Most days I check a few locales on my way to work or in-between errands, and although I am birding, it always feels rushed. So Saturday, October 8th, I made no plans or commitments other than to spend the day birding.
     The birding was slow, constant drizzling rain was uncomfortable, and the heavy cloud cover made it feel dark all day. Nothing surprising on the water as I checked for loons and scoters in the north bays of Flathead Lake.

     Checking the Flathead River near where it pours into the Flathead Lake, I heard a group of Black-capped Chickadees start to get worked up and loud. I walked over to the thicket where they seemed to be mobbing and looked for an owl. A few seconds pass as I strain my eyes to see into the dense tangle, and then my eyes adjust and MUCH closer to me than I was looking, the shape of an owl appears! Right in front of me! It's a NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL! My first ever! I'm shaking I run to the car only a few meters away and grab my camera!  The bird was calm and allowed me to get a few good shots of it before I left it in peace.

     What a wonderful surprise! A day I will not forget. This Northern Saw-whet Owl is my 462nd bird species I've ever seen, and my 297th bird for Montana.

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