Sacajawea Audubon
1Mar/170

Spring Birding at Ennis Lake – April 1st

 

 

A sure cure for spring fever is lots of early spring birds! The primary focus of this trip will be the migrating waterfowl at Ennis Lake. At this time of year the ducks will be at their dazzling best in full breeding plumage, and usually in great abundance.   Along with the waterfowl, this trip will provide a good opportunity for finding other early migrants such as Sandhill Cranes, Tree Swallows, and Mountain Bluebirds. It is spring in Montana so be sure to be prepared for the weather, with plenty of warm layers of clothing for a day out in the elements. We will return to the museum mid afternoon, so bring a lunch and snacks. This trip will meet at the Museum of the Rockies parking lot at 8 AM Saturday April 1st.  After arranging for carpooling, we will head for Ennis Lake at 8:15. There is a 15 person limit for the trip, so sign up early. Contact Vic Fesolowitz at 539-8251 to reserve a spot.

 

31Jan/17Off

Mark Your Calendar: 2017 Montana Audubon’s Bird Festival

FOR YOUR CALENDAR:
Wings Across the Big Sky

June 9-11, 2017 Great Falls, Montana

 

 

 

Time to begin making those summer plans! Montana Audubon’s Wings Across the Big Sky Festival, co-hosted by Upper Missouri Breaks Audubon , will be held June 9-11, 2017 in Great Falls. We invite you to spread the news and enthusiasm so we can all enjoy a fantastic celebration of 40 Years of Montana Audubon. Included in this year’s activities are amazing field trips scheduled both Saturday and Sunday. These include excursions to the Rocky Mountain Front, Benton Lake, Kevin Rim, the Highwood and First Peoples State Park, among others, with the anticipation of seeing a varied array of species and habitats, as well as some education on surveys and conservation issues.

Festival headquarters will be located at the Best Western Heritage Inn. This venue will provide excellent opportunities to display our 40 years of history, Saturday afternoon presentations by Montana Audubon past and present programs, an outdoor barbeque to kickstart the anniversary celebration and this year’s festival, our keynote speaker, and a Saturday evening banquet dinner.

Each month we will continue to feature developing news on the 2017 Bird Festival. Registration will begin in March. Stay tuned!

For more information contact Montana Audubon’s Bird Festival Coordinator, Cathie Erickson: cerickson@mtaudubon.org.

29Jan/17Off

2016 Christmas Bird Counts – Summaries

 

2016 Christmas Bird Counts

 

On Saturday 17 December, Bozeman conducted its Christmas Bird Count. It was cold, with a temperature range of -27 to -5; the good news was that it was a sunny and calm day. 32 people took part in the count, with another 8 feeder watchers.

 

Amazingly after 78 CBC’s in Bozeman, three new species were added to the cumulative species total. New to the count this year were Northern Shoveler, Eared Grebe, and Long-eared Owl. Other notable birds were Lesser Scaup seen for only the fifth time and American Coot seen for the seventh time. During count week Virginia Rail and Pacific Wren were seen, which have only been seen on count day once and twice, respectively. The big miss of the count was Brown Creeper, which could be chalked-up to everyone keeping their ears warm.

 

New high counts included Ruffed Grouse-10, Red-tailed Hawk-81, Northern Pygmy Owl-2, Black-billed Magpie-1184, Common Raven-194, and Bohemian Waxwing-5578.

 

The Ennis Christmas Bird Count took place on December 14th. The conditions for the Ennis count were considerably milder then the Bozeman count, with temperatures ranging from 6 to 25 degrees under mostly cloudy skies. 21 people participated on the count, plus 3 feeder watchers.

 

The 54 species seen on the count was somewhat lower than has been seen in recent years. We had new high counts for Canada Goose-2050, Great Blue Heron-5, Eurasian Collard-Dove-159 and 2 Mourning Doves which tied a previous record. This was the fifth sighting of Rusty Blackbird and Virginia Rail. Five goldeneyes remained undifferentiated. Mallard, Common Goldeneye, Bald Eagle, Black-billed Magpie, Black-capped Chickadee and House Sparrow are the only species that have been observed on all 57 counts.

 

20 people spotted 56 species and over 15,000 individual birds on the Three Forks count, during a day with temperatures ranging from -8 to 28 degrees.

 

Two species, Cackling Goose and Hooded Merganser, were seen for the first time on the Ennis count. Remarkably, new high counts were achieved for 15 species of birds on the count. Some of the notable new high counts were Northern Harrier-22, Rough-legged Hawk-86, and Canyon Wren-5. It was only the sixth time Short-eared Owls have been observed on the Three Forks count.

 

 

18Jan/17Off

February 18th – The Great Backyard Bird Count

 

"The guided hike will be lead by Assistant Park Manager Tom Forwood for those who are new to bird identification. The hike will leave at 9:30am and will go for approximately 3 hours. Guests are welcome to download the E-bird app for their phones so that they can record they species they see on the walk! Also as a reminder, the cave is not open until May and the gate to the top visitors center is currently closed, but guests are welcome to stay following the hike to wander about the trails and look for birds themselves."

22Sep/16Off

Middle Madison Valley Trumpeter Swan Restoration Project

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The goal of this project, started in 2011, is to establish 5 nesting pairs of Trumpeter Swans in the restoration area within a 5 -10 year time frame. On occasion 30 to 50 swans (marked and unmarked) have been observed near O'Dell Creek in the Madison Valley during winter and approximately 10 in early summer; no nesting to date, but birds have been seen in pairs in the spring. On August 1st, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks  released 5 cygnets on O'Dell Creek.  Sacajawea Audubon has been a partner in this restoration project for a number of years.

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Photos courtesy John Parker

19Sep/16Off

October 15th – Madison Valley IBA Survey

 EnnisLakeFT

 

Madison Valley IBA Survey

The birds are on the move again with Ennis Lake serving as an important stopover for large numbers of migrating waterfowl, loons and grebes. You never know what else we may find in the Madison Valley. On October 15th (Saturday) we will conduct one last survey of the Madison Valley IBA and its always a fun time to put your bird watching skills to a good use.
If you can help, contact Paulette Epple at 580-6186 or conservation@sacajaweaaudubon.org.  More information to follow.

 

17Sep/16Off

2016 Bridger Raptor Festival – Oct. 7th-9th

RaptorBannerLogoNoDateIt's time for the 20th Annual Bridger Raptor Festival, October 7th, 8th & 9th at Bridger Bowl! Sacajawea Audubon is again co-hosting and will be offering several fun children's activities.

Friday night kicks off at the Museum of the Rockies with keynote speaker, Marco Restani of Montana Audubon, who will present a talk on Avian Migration. Saturday and Sunday's events begin at 10 a.m. at both Saddle Peak and Jim Bridger Lodge at Bridger Bowl. There will be LOTS of family activities including: Build a Bird House, Binocular Target Blitz, Face Painting, Nature Journaling, Sketch a Bird, Raptor ID with Steve Hoffman, interpretive walks with MOSS, and live raptor presentations. There will be an up-to-date raptor count board at the Montana Audubon/Sacajawea Audubon booth for you to see what birds are being seen up at the Bridger Hawk Count site. Bridger Raptor Fest is FREE and a great family-friendly, community event. So grab the kids & grandkids, (but please no dogs) and come up to Bridger Raptor Fest!

**We need VOLUNTEERS!  If you would like to help out at this year's raptor festival, please contact Loreene Reid at (406) 600-6666.

For more information and festival schedule, go to: www.bridgerraptorfest.org/current_events

 

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6Sep/16Off

October 1st – Ennis Lake Waterfowl Field Trip

Redheads (photo courtesy Ed Harper)

Redheads (photo courtesy Ed Harper)

 

Ennis Lake Waterfowl

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Trip Leader: Mike Vivion, 406-210-8071 michael.vivion@gmail.com

Meet at 7:45 am at the Museum of the Rockies. Carpool and leave at 8 am.

This date should catch early migrant waterfowl and an assortment of other birds, including migrating raptors and passerines. Ennis Lake is one of the premiere staging areas for waterfowl in southwest Montana. Some birds will still be in alternate plumage, offering some interesting identification challenges. Large numbers of waterfowl should be present. Bring a lunch, since we’ll be out till at least mid-afternoon. Weather can be a challenge, so bring warm clothes and rain gear in case.

Participants limited to 16

To reserve a spot on the trip or for more information please contact the trip leader.

4Sep/16Off

Sept. 10th – Headwaters – Three Forks Field Trip

Headwaters-Three Forks

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Leader: Robin Wolcott, 406-581-5418 pajaros@wewolcotts.com

Meet at 7:45 am at the Museum of the Rockies. Carpool and leave at 8 am.

Early September is the peak of fall migration with an amazing diversity of birds passing through Montana. This field trip will take advantage of the many birding opportunities in the Headwaters State Park and Three Forks area. The trip will last until early afternoon but let’s be prepared for anything. Bring a lunch. Bring a scope if you have one. Bring your enthusiasm and your flexibility.

Participants limited to 14

To reserve a spot on the trip or for more information please contact the trip leader.

2Aug/16Off

Ennis Raptor ID Workshop with Steve Hoffman – August 20th

Juvenile Swainson's Hawk (photo by J. Harris)

Juvenile Swainson's Hawk (photo by J. Harris)

WHAT: Raptor (hawks, eagles, falcons, harriers, etc.) Identification Workshop (for all skill levels).

WHEN: Saturday, August 20th (8:15 AM – 5:00 PM); includes 90-minute classroom instruction, followed by field excursion to the Gravelly Mountains (NO hiking involved; carpooling will be required to minimize the number of vehicles on this fairly narrow gravel road).

WHERE: We will meet at Pronghorn Meadows Clubhouse (3 miles SW of Ennis on the highway to Virginia City) @8:15 AM.  At the conclusion of the classroom session we will arrange carpooling and then drive to the crest of the Gravelly Range, where we will search for soaring raptors that use the abundant updrafts along this high ridgeline.

WHY: This exciting late-summer period is ideal for viewing a diversity and abundance of pre-migratory, staging raptors that often congregate atop the Gravellys to hunt ground squirrels, pocket gophers, voles, grasshoppers & crickets. (Species likely to be encountered: American Kestrels, Prairie Falcons, Red-tailed Hawks, Swainson’s Hawks, Ferruginous Hawks, Northern Harriers, Golden & Bald Eagles & Ospreys).

WHO: Steve Hoffman, Executive Director of Montana Audubon (since 2006), began his career as a Wildlife Biologist for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Arizona (1978-1980).  He later worked as an Endangered Species Specialist for the US Fish & Wildlife Service in Albuquerque (1980-1987). In 1986 Steve founded HawkWatch International (HWI), a not-for-profit working to monitor and protect raptors.  In 2000 Steve returned to his birth state of Pennsylvania to become Director of Bird Conservation for Audubon Pennsylvania.  In 2004 Steve moved to Bozeman to serve as Director of Keystone Conservation.  Steve has authored more than 35 scientific papers on raptors and other wildlife-related topics, and has given hundreds of presentations on raptors to audiences across the U.S. & abroad. Steve has an M.S. in Wildlife Ecology from Utah State University (1979).

COST: $50 for each participant (tax-deductible donation; lunch & snacks will be provided). Make checks payable to:  Montana Audubon, PO Box 595, Helena, MT 59624, or pay online by going to: www.mtaudubon.org (designate “Ennis Raptor Workshop” in “Notes” section).

QUESTIONS: Call 443.3949, or email mtaudubon@mtaudubon.org – space is limited and pre-registration is required – register TODAY!  (This field trip will be limited to 20 participants.)

 

Complete and clip this form, and mail to:  Montana Audubon, PO Box 595, Helena, MT 59624.

Name:  ___________________________________________ Phone:  _____________________________

Address (city/zip):  _____________________________________________________________________

Email:  __________________________________________ Are you a MT Audubon member?  ________

Are you willing to drive on the field trip? ____________   If so, how many total passengers can you accommodate? __________