Posts Categorized: Birding

  • Birding

    The Greater of the two Yellowlegs

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    Today, I traveled down to the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge in search of a Sage Sparrow that I thought I heard yesterday, but I irrationally passed it off (bad birder, bad). I missed the one day wonder, but my consolation prize was a pair of Greater Yellowlegs. Even though the light wasn’t terribly cooperative,… Read more »

  • Birding

    Return of the Ospreys – Past and Present

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    Each spring, I await the return of one particular raptor with particular anticipation, the Osprey. Always around the first of April when the ice has disappeared, they re-appear to their platform nests that sit atop numerous snags along the rivers and lakes of western Montana. All at once, there seems to be a pair occupying every available… Read more »

  • Birding

    Sometimes they are not as cooperative

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    Green-winged Teals always seem to be eating, and their heads always are buried in the muck or underwater. At least these guys lined up in a pleasing manner.

  • Birding

    April Fool’s in Avian Form

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    American Coots are just plain goofy. They swim and feed like ducks, and yet, they are a rail (that’s right I said it). Coots, actually, look a lot like a chicken,a frickin’ swimming chicken with a large white bill. They have lobate feet, which means that each toe has lobes of skin surrounding the digit,… Read more »

  • Birding

    Colors come to the Spring

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    Each spring, we fade from the muted tones of late winter into the extravagant colors of life in abundance. Those colors come in no more greater illustration than the drake Wood Duck. These creatures of fantastic dreams have started to populated the sloughs and backwaters of the Bitterroot and Clark Fork Rivers.

  • Birding

    Despite the gloom, it is Freezeout

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    The fog froze in layers to the antenna and windshield as Freezeout Lake came into view, and a a flock of 200 Snow Geese cross overhead. These were the last Snow Geese that we would see for the next couple of hours. The weather man completely lied. His prediction of mid-50s with sunny skies had… Read more »

  • Birding

    Garbage Dump Gulls at the Flathead Gullery

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    As I cleaned my over-flowing edited images folder from the past few months, I came across a series of photos from an afternoon spent with the gulls from the lovely Flathead County Sanitary Landfill or as we call it, the Flathead Gullery. Ok, it’s a dump, it stinks, it looks apocalyptic, and the gulls love… Read more »

  • Birding

    The Buteo that hovers – the Rough-legged Hawk

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    As sightings of Rough-legged Hawks become fewer and further between, I have been reviewing this past winter’s images, and I notice a series of images of hawk hovering. Rough-legged Hawks are our only buteo that regularly hovers. In fact, the only other North American raptors that regularly hover are the Osprey and the collective kites. Hovering is… Read more »

  • Birding

    Pygmy Nuthatch Addendum

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    Just when I thought that I had the most photogenic Pygmy Nuthatch, this happens.

  • Birding

    Pig Nuts – when you are just too lazy to say the whole name

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    I have always been fascinated by Pygmy Nuthatches. When I was living in the Bozeman area, I rarely got to see the,, and as soon as I moved to Missoula, I have been seeing unreal numbers. They seems to be in each and every ponderosa pine, picking at the branch-tip cones. Like a circus act,… Read more »

  • Birding

    Americans Dippers gathering nest material

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    Short film and images of American Dippers gathering moss for their nest, which is located underneath a bridge that spans rattlesnake Creek in Greenough Park. Notice that the birds are consistently dunking the nesting material, namely moss. The wetting is thought to keep the moss alive and, therefore, more pliable. The American Dipper nest is… Read more »

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    Really these are the last Snowy Owls for winter 2011-2012

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    I promise, I promise these are the last Snowy Owl images for this winter (probably). I feel incredibly fortunate have spent so much time in the company of these wonderful creatures. I wish that they remain safe as they begin their northward journey to the Arctic.

  • Birding

    I see why they are called Red Crossbills

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    Of course, this title is presented with tongue firmly planted in cheek. They, or at least the males, are red, and the bills are crossed. These little finches (both Red and White-winged Crossbills) have evolved the only crossed bills of any North American bird. This arrangement of the mandibles is highly suited to prying open pine cone… Read more »

  • Birding

    Harris’s Sparrow – another rare visitor

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    This past Friday, I was privileged enough to get the opportunity to visit a local backyard and get some half decent images of a Harris’s Sparrow. The sparrow was very retiring and it took roughly one and half hours to locate the bird in a yard side hedge. But once I found it, the show was on…. Read more »

  • Birding

    Last Snowy Owls for 2012?

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    All of this winter, those of in Montana have been treated to an amazing display of Snowy Owls, especially in the Mission Valley. The owls have remained readily visible in a subdivision that sits above Polson and adjacent to agricultural towards Pablo. I have been able to visit on 7 different occasions, and I have… Read more »