Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Montana: Part 2

    After the floods ceased and roads dried up, the field season ended quite successfully; we were able to complete our 166 transect goal. It will be interesting to see the outcome for the season. Since my last post back on the June 25th, I covered a lot of miles around Montana surveying the Crow Indian Reservation south of Billings, Powder River near Broadus, Yellowstone River near Hysham, the remote region around CM Russell NWR and the Lewis & Clark National Forest south of Lewistown. In all I only accumulated 10 more state birds but quality made up for that. Not only did I finally pick up Burrowing Owl and Mountain Plover in the northeast, I also saw the only Blue-gray Gnatcatchers in the state at Bear Canyon, Black-billed Cuckoos south of Broadus and the localized Cassin’s Kingbird in the Custer National Forest. I fell well short of my goal of 250 species with 218, however, I spent far less time in the mountains than expected which would explain a lot of easy misses such as Sharp-shinned Hawk, Dusky Grouse, Olive-sided Flycatcher and Pygmy Nuthatch to name a few. Looks like I have an excuse to return and that just might happen next summer as I might be guiding a Glacier/Grasslands/Yellowstone tour.
To wrap up the season, here’s my summer in numbers:

Miles driven: ~10,000
State Birds: 218
Flat Tires: 2
Water crossings: 3
Counties visited: 37 out of 56
Life birds: 3 (Baird’s Sparrow, Sprague’s Pipit and Gray Partridge)
Species of warblers: 18 (Bests: N. Parula, Mourning and Canada)

And a few photos from the field...

Baird's Sparrow

Montana had some of the most amazing cloud formations...not to mention sunrise/sunsets

The reason you do not drive on roads with water rushing over.

Fun times in the Snowy Mountains

No comments: