Birding along the Kenai Trail – Lee Metcalf NWR

Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge

Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge

A place that I have visited many, many times, the Lee Metcalf National Refuge has always had a special draw on me. The series of ponds host a variety of waterfowl and other water throughout the year, and has one of the few extensive wetland areas in the Bitterroot Valley, it serves as an important stopover and breeding for these species. The Kenai Trail runs north from the terrific Visitor’s Center, and contours besides a several ponds and draws. At the terminus of the trail, a viewing platform has been constructed (although in this day the big pond was completely devoid of life). As I hiked along the trail, dozens of Ring-necked Pheasants flushed from the cattails and flew like cruise missiles over the marsh.

Kenai Trail at the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge

Kenai Trail at the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge

The Sun is setting quickly

The Sun is setting quickly

Long shadows of winter

Long shadows of winter

Female Common Goldeneye

Female Common Goldeneye

Male Common Goldeneye

Male Common Goldeneye

Female Lesser Scaup

Female Lesser Scaup

American Coot

American Coot

Bitterroot Range

Bitterroot Range

Written by Radd Icenoggle

I am a native Montanan, who has spent a lifetime as an outdoors and wildlife enthusiast. I earned a degree in biology with an emphasis on habitat relations. During my studies, I had the great fortune to research and compose a thesis that explored the effects of slope aspect on...
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