Sacajawea Audubon
25Apr/17Off

2017 Sacajawea Audubon Spring Birding Series

Photo by John Harris

Participants in all trips will meet at the front parking lot of the Museum of the Rockies at 6:45 AM and depart at 7:00 AM unless otherwise noted. Car pools will be arranged at the museum; an offer to help with gas to the person driving is always appreciated but not mandatory. Dress for the weather; good footwear is a must as field trip conditions are not always dry. Bring any food or beverages that you will need during the course of the trips, and some of the longer trips might require that you pack a lunch. Turn off your cell phones and keep unnecessary conversations to a minimum. Some field trips are limited to a certain number of participants. Contact the trip leader for more details about any trip, and to sign up for the trip. We encourage all skill levels of birders to participate. Come have a good time and learn something new.

 April 16 Sunday: Owl Prowl

Leader: Tom Forwood 406-570-6432 tforwood@mt.gov

Meet at the Museum of the Rockies at 7 PM. Some of the owl species we hope to hear, and possibly see, include Western Screech-Owl, Northern Pygmy-Owl, Northern Saw-Whet Owl and Great Horned Owl.  This is an evening field trip, so please dress for cold weather, including warm boots.  Snowshoes are not necessary, but grippers might be helpful if conditions are icy.  The location of the Owl Prowl is TBD possibly including several locations. 10 person limit


April 29 Saturday: Shields Valley Driving Tour

Leader: Forrest Rowland 814-573-1391 rowbird2005@gmail.com.

(Options for half to full day) Visit Shields Valley’s birding hot spots. The array of habitats visited will range from dense riparian, lush agricultural, shortgrass prairie, and sage flats at lower elevations, up through mixed Douglas Fir and Pine forests to high-elevation Sub-alpine Fir, depending on road conditions. We will also spend plenty of time birding Cottonwood Reservoir , which will surely be loaded with waterfowl and shorebirds at this peak time of year. Meet at the Clyde Park Post Office parking lot, at 7:00 AM for car-pooling.


 May 6 Saturday: Headwaters State Park

Leader: Martha Collins   586-9478 or 579-0506 marthacoll@msn.com

(1/2 day trip; easy walking) The Headwaters area includes a variety of habitats, including sage/grassland and riparian, so anything from waterfowl to sparrows can occur. One of the unique features of the Headwaters area are the limestone cliffs, which support several cliff nesting species such as Prairie Falcons and White-throated Swifts. The park, which is situated along the Missouri River corridor, is an ideal location to observe early spring migrants. Those wishing to meet at the Headwaters area contact the trip leader. 15 person limit.


 May 13 Saturday: Paradise Valley Driving Tour

Leader: George Kelly 406-220-0282

gjkingfisher@gmail.com

(Options for half- to almost full day) Visit Paradise Valley birding hotspots with local guides – spring creeks, Yellowstone River, prairies/hillsides, and Dailey Lake. The diversity of habitat covered on the trip, along with it being near the peak of songbird migration, this trip should yield a huge variety of birds.   Meet at Livingston Albertson’s parking lot, northeast corner at 7:30 AM for car-pooling.


 May 13 Saturday: Middle Cottonwood Canyon


Leader: Brad Barth 406-640-2628 
or barth.brad@gmail.com

(4-5 hours; moderate walking with some rocky terrain; 2 to 3 miles total) This is an opportunity to stretch your legs and look for some early arriving migrants in the Bridger foothills north of Bozeman. Middle Cottonwood has a mix of riparian habitat, mature north facing conifers, and relatively dry open south facing hillsides. We’ll be looking for species such as Western Tanager, MacGillivray's Warbler, Calliope Hummingbird, Lazuli Bunting, Green-tailed Towhee, Swainson's Thrush along the lower reaches of the canyon. 12 person limit


May 20 Saturday: Old Town Road and Milligan Canyon

Leader: Tom Forwood 406-570-6432 tforwood@mt.gov  

(1/2 day trip; mostly driving with light walking on roads) This trip begins along the cottonwood bottomlands of the Jefferson River, and then abruptly moves into dry greasewood/sage scrubland habitat. Birds along this section will range from Dusky Flycatchers and Bullock’s Orioles, to Sage Thrashers and Brewer’s Sparrows. The route then cuts through the arid limestone cliffs of Milligan Canyon. Canyon Wrens, Rock Wrens, and Spotted Towhees frequent this dry landscape. Golden Eagles and Pinyon Jays are also a possibility along this portion of the trip. 15 person limit


May 21 Sunday: Triple Tree Trail

Leader: Lou Ann Harris 600-3585 montlou311@gmail.com

(5 hour trip; moderately strenuous climbing 500 ft, 4 miles) As this trail climbs the hillside it passes through a number of habitats, and transitional edges between them. At the bottom of the mountain, grassland quickly gives way to brushy deciduous habitat as the trail crosses Limestone Creek, where Ruffed Grouse, Calliope Hummingbirds, and Lazuli Buntings are some of the birds to expect. The trail then ascends through Douglas fir and lodgepole pine forests with a wide variety of nesting birds, including Cassin’s Vireo, Swainson’s Thrush, and Western Tanager. This trip features perhaps the greatest diversity of any short hike in the Gallatin Valley. 12 person limit


 May 24 Wednesday: East Gallatin Recreation   Area


Leader: John Parker 406-586-5863 conundrumjp@gmail.com

(4-5 hour trip; easy walking-two miles at most) There are lots of possibilities with this local area. Over 180 bird species have been seen in the recreation area.  This will be near the peak of migration, so we hope for some surprises.   With a pond, riparian habitat, limited grassland, and mature cottonwoods we hope to see good diversity of what Gallatin Valley has to offer.   Species may include flycatchers, Warbling Vireo, Gray Catbird, several warblers, Lazuli Bunting, and Black Headed Grosbeak. 12 person limit


May 27 Saturday: Sweet Grass County Prairie Bird Tour

Leader: Beth Madden 406-224-1012 bethmadden64@gmail.com

(The 5-6 hour driving tour should wrap up by early-mid afternoon) Celebrate the arrival of spring on the prairies! We will follow an approximately 40-mile driving route through prairie and agricultural landscapes north of Big Timber. Past trips have yielded curlews, cranes, raptors, and prairie songbirds from Bobolinks to longspurs. Stops at wetlands will feature water birds. Meet in Big Timber (Big Timber is 63 miles east of Bozeman on Interstate 90) at the Town Pump located at I-90 Exit 367 at 8:00 AM for car-pooling.


 May 27 Saturday: Mount Ellis

Leader: Audrey Evers 218-742-7885 alynnebirds@yahoo.com

(4 -5-hour trip; moderately strenuous walking 3 miles) This slow-paced hike of approximately 3 miles, will explore a number of habitats on State and Forest Service lands, including grassland, aspen meadow, and conifer forest edge. At this time of year many of the nesting birds, such as Calliope Hummingbirds, Red-naped Sapsuckers, Dusky Flycatchers, Orange-crowned Warblers, and a wide variety of sparrows will have arrived on their territories. Along with terrific views of the Gallatin Valley, the wildflowers on this walk will likely distract you from the diversity of birds. 12 person limit.


June 3 Saturday: Paradise Valley Driving Tour

Leader: Mitch Hurt 406-223-4919 wildbirdhunting@gmail.com

(Options for half to full day) Visit Paradise Valley birding hotspots with local guides – spring creeks, prairies/hillsides, and possibly as far as Dailey Lake. The diversity of habitat covered on the trip, along with it being near the peak of songbird migration, should yield a huge variety of birds. Early on this trip we will visit a bird banding station along the Yellowstone River.   Meet at Livingston Albertson’s parking lot, northeast corner at 7:30 AM for car-pooling.


June 3 Saturday: East Gallatin Recreation Area


Leader: Andrew Guttenberg 406-451-5427 afgutte@hotmail.com

(4-5hour trip; easy walking at most two miles) There are lots of possibilities with this local area. Over 180 bird species have been seen in the recreation area.  This will be near the peak of migration, so we hope for some surprises.   With a pond, riparian habitat, limited grassland, and mature cottonwoods we hope to see good diversity of what Gallatin Valley has to offer.   Species may include flycatchers, Warbling Vireo, Gray Catbird, several warblers, Lazuli Bunting, and Black Headed Grosbeak. 12 person limit


June 4 Sunday: Spanish Creek

Leader: John Parker, 586-5863conundrumjp@gmail.com

(until mid afternoon; moderately strenuous walking on forest trail, with several hundred foot elevation gain) This trip follows Spanish Creek through the Flying D Ranch, to the edge of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness. We will spend much of the morning birding along the road focusing on the grasslands and forest edges. Once at the trailhead there is an interesting juxtaposition of habitats, which support an interest mix of birds. In one direction the trail borders the wet willow riparian area along Spanish Creek, while going in the other direction, the trail climbs through dry open slopes. 12 person limit.


 June 6 Tuesday: Sourdough Nature Trail

Leader: Adele Pittendrigh 599-5086 Adele.pittendrigh@gmail.com

(4-5 hour easy walking) After leaving the MOR parking lot, this trip will begin at the Gardner Park entrance. The trail is an easy, level stroll following Sourdough Creek.   This trip is at the peak of the breeding season so we should see and hear a variety of flycatchers, thrushes and warblers. Some of the neotropic birds nesting here are Northern Waterthrush, American Redstart, and Black-headed Grosbeak. 8 person limit.


June 9-11:

Please join us at the 2017 Montana Audubon Bird Festival in Great Falls, MT.

Contact Montana Audubon at (406) 443-3949 or go to www.mtaudubon.org

Come join the fun.


 June 17 Saturday: Mission Creek

Leader: Robin Wolcott 581-5418 pajaros@wewolcotts.com

(until mid-afternoon; mostly driving with light walking on roads)  In the rolling prairie just east of Livingston we will seek McCown’s Longspur and Long-billed Curlew. Along Little Mission Creek we will watch for riparian species, then search for residents of the spruce/fir forest. On our return along Mission Creek we could find a Cordilleran Flycatcher or a Golden Eagle. Over 130 species have been seen along this route including Sprague’s Pipit, Upland Sandpiper, and Green-tailed Towhee. Spectacular views, abundant wild flowers, and wildlife make the trip through the northern foothills of the Absaroka Mountains a trip to remember. After leaving Bozeman, we will reconvene at Albertson’s parking lot in Livingston at 7:30 AM and then leave from there at 7:45 AM Car-pooling is essential. 14 person limit

 


June 18 Sunday: Rocky Mountain Rd Bluebird Trail


Leaders: Janne Hayward 587-6124 jannehayward@juno.com , and Lou Ann Harris 600-3585 montlou311@gmail.com  

(1/2 day) Get up close and personal with Mountain Bluebirds.  Join bluebirders Janne Hayward and Lou Ann Harris, as they check bluebird nest boxes and band adults and nestlings along Rocky Mountain Road.  This is a rare opportunity to get an inside look at the lives of these amazing birds, including nest building, egg laying and raising young.  Due to the sensitive nature of the work, we are limiting these field trips to 8 participants.


June 23 Friday: Montana's Nightjars at Lewis & Clark Caverns


Leader: Tom Forwood at 406-570-6432 tforwood@mt.gov

(2 1/2 hour; 2-3 mile walk) Check out Montana's two species of Nightjar, the Common Nighthawk and the more elusive Common Poorwill. The park is known for some of its interesting breeding bird species and the Poorwill is one of the more unusual. We will walk up the park road for a mile or so at dusk to check out some of the arid country daytime species such as Mountain Bluebirds, Spotted Towhees and Rock Wrens. Once it gets dark we will look for high flying  Nighthawks and low flying Poorwills with the possibility for some owls and several bat species as well. Insect repellent, good walking shoes and layering clothing for changing conditions are recommended. Meet at the lower Visitor Center parking lot at 7:30 PM. 15 person limit


June 24 Saturday: Kelly Canyon and Battle Ridge

Leaders: Ron and Cheryl Farmer 586-3987 songbird@wispwest.net

(1/2 day trip; driving and walking along gravel roads) This trip passes through open fields, then climbs past dry juniper- covered hillsides, mature wetlands, mixed woodlands, and eventually reaches into the conifer forest. Mountain Bluebirds, Spotted Towhees, Calliope Hummingbirds, Black-headed Grosbeaks, and Western Tanagers are just a few of the species that we should see along this route. After Kelly Canyon, this trip will continue up Bridger Canyon to Battle Ridge. At this higher elevation a new suite of breeding birds makes this area home. Williamson’s Sapsuckers, Brown Creepers, Swainson’s Thrushes are a few of the nesting species in this area. 12 person limit


June 25 Sunday: Limestone Creek Canyon

Leader: John Parker 406-586-5863 conundrumjp@gmail.com

(1/2 day trip walking on a small trail, with some rough terrain for 4 miles)  Limestone Creek is the least disturbed drainage in the Gallatin foothills south of Bozeman. This lightly used area is a refuge for a wide variety of wildlife that requires deep forests for cover, including some old growth spruce-fir. Some of the birds to expect on this trip include Golden-crowned Kinglet, Swainson’s Thrush, and MacGillivray’s Warbler. These public lands, owned by the state of Montana, are scheduled to be logged as part of the Limestone West Timber Sale. Along with some great birding, we will also discuss the impacts/implications of the impending logging operation on this drainage and surrounding public lands.

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