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.

 

29Jan/17Off

Central Park Pond Waterfowl Field Trip – March 18th

Central Park Pond

Central Park Pond Waterfowl

Field Trip - March 18      

Leader: Mike Vivion

mikevivion@sacajaweaaudubon.org 406-210-8071

Join us on these short field trips to the Central Park Pond (just west of Belgrade) for some great views of waterfowl in their pristine breeding plumage. We’ll see several species of waterfowl, including Mallard (of course), Goldeneye (with luck, both species), Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Ducks, and several other species, as well as both Trumpeter and Tundra Swans and Canada Geese. If you want to sharpen your waterfowl ID skills, this is a great opportunity to see lots of species in breeding plumage.

For the March 18 trip, meet at Museum of the Rockies at 8:30 AM to car pool, or if you live on the west side of town or Belgrade, meet us at Four Corners at 8:45 AM. Approximately four hours maximum.   12 person limit  Please contact Mike to reserve a spot.

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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."

19Dec/16Off

Raptor Identification Workshop and Field Trip – March 1st & 4th

 Raptor Identification Workshop and Field Trip

March 1st and 4th  

Red-tailed Hawk (Lou Ann Harris)

Presented by: Steve Hoffman,

founder of HawkWatch International

Have you ever wanted to sharpen your raptor identification skills? If so, this is the workshop for you! On Wednesday evening Steve will provide a detailed discussion of the identification and natural history of all raptor (e.g., hawks, eagles, falcons, etc.) species wintering in the Gallatin Valley. Steve’s illustrated talk will include a description of the many plumage variations (including subspecies and color forms, as well as age and sex variations) of the more common and observable species. Helpful behavioral clues will also be incorporated. Eagles, falcons and the “buteo” hawks (such as Red-tailed Hawks) will be emphasized. Participants will then go into the field (north of Bozeman) on Saturday to practice their newly-developed skills. Steve’s presentation will be especially valuable for “intermediate” and “advanced” raptor watching enthusiasts, although beginners will also find this workshop quite helpful.

The Wednesday night presentation will start at 6:30 PM and last till 8:45 PM, in the Bozeman Public Library’s small conference room.

Saturday morning’s field trip will meet at the Museum of the Rockies at 8:15 am, and leave at 8:30. Be sure to dress for the weather and bring any necessary drinks or snacks for this 4-5 hour trip. If you have a spotting scope you can bring, that would be helpful.

There is a $40 fee for current Sacajawea Audubon members, and just $15 for participants under age 25, or $60 for non-members (the $60 includes a $25 Sacajawea Audubon membership). There is a 20-person limit for the workshop and field trip. Advance reservation and payment is required. For more information and to make reservations please call John Parker at 586-5863 or e-mail birdsightings@sacajaweaaudubon.org.

 

23Sep/16Off

October 22nd, Ennis Lake Waterfowl Field Trip

IMG_4516

Ennis Lake Waterfowl
Saturday, October 22, 2016

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

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

This should be near the peak time for migrating waterfowl. Ennis Lake is one of the premiere staging areas for migrating waterfowl in southwestern Montana. Thousands of ducks can be spread across the lake on any given day. As is typical with high concentrations of birds, there is always the possibility of a rarity being found.   Bring a lunch as we’ll be out until at least mid-afternoon. Also, remember to bring plenty of warm clothes as it will likely be cold and windy.

Participants limited to 15

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

21Sep/16Off

2016 Fall Field Trip Schedule

Horned Lark (Lou Ann Harris)

Horned Lark (Lou Ann Harris)

Participants in all trips will meet at the front parking lot of the Museum of the Rockies at 7:45 AM and depart at 8:00 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 or birders to participate. Come have a good time and learn something new.

The Kelly Ranch on the Gallatin River

Saturday, September 3, 2016

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

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

This trip will explore the Kelly Ranch along the Gallatin River west of Bozeman. The ranch includes wet meadow, cottonwood gallery forest, and dry juniper habitats. We will be looking for early fall migrants and some lingering birds along the Gallatin River corridor. Time permitting the trip may explore the area upstream from the ranch. Kathryn Kelly, ranch owner and Greater Yellowstone Manager for the Montana Land Reliance will join the group to discuss a bit of history of the ranch, and the process and benefits of creating conservation easements, one of the most powerful tools to accomplish habitat protection, for birds and other wildlife. This 4-5 hour trip will require 1-2 miles of easy walking.

Participants limited to 15

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


Headwaters-Three Forks

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Trip 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.


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.


Big Belt Raptors

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Trip Leader: Steve Hoffman 406-461-5714 shoffman@mtaudubon.org

Meet at 7:45 am at the Museum of the Rockies. Carpool and leave at 8 am.
This is an opportunity to visit Montana’s newest hawkwatch site, with one of the founders of Hawkwatch International. Mid October is the peak period of the Golden Eagle migration through central Montana, and at this location the eagles are flying by at very close range affording stunning views. Many other late season raptor migrants, such as Bald Eagles, Northern Goshawks, and Rough-legged Hawks use this same corridor during migration. This location in the Big Belt Mountains east of Canyon Ferry Reservoir, is worth the trip just for the fabulous views of the reservoir and the mountains of south-central Montana. From Bozeman it is a two hour drive, and then another 1.4 mile (900 ft. elevation gain) hike to the hawkwatch site.

Participants limited to 20

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


Ennis Lake Waterfowl

Saturday, October 22, 2016

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

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

This should be near the peak time for migrating waterfowl. Ennis Lake is one of the premiere staging areas for migrating waterfowl in southwestern Montana. Thousands of ducks can be spread across the lake on any given day. As is typical with high concentrations of birds, there is always the possibility of a rarity being found. Bring a lunch as we’ll be out until at least mid-afternoon. Also, remember to bring plenty of warm clothes as it will likely be cold and windy.

Participants limited to 15

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

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20Sep/16Off

October 16th – Big Belt Raptor Field Trip

Golden Eagle (photo L. Harris)

Golden Eagle (photo L. Harris)

Big Belt Raptors

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Trip Leader: Steve Hoffman 406-461-5714    shoffman@mtaudubon.org

 Meet at 7:45 am at the Museum of the Rockies. Carpool and leave at 8 am.
This is an opportunity to visit Montana’s newest hawkwatch site, with one of the founders of Hawkwatch International. Mid October is the peak period of the Golden Eagle migration through central Montana, and at this location the eagles are flying by at very close range affording stunning views. Many other late season raptor migrants, such as Bald Eagles, Northern Goshawks, and Rough-legged Hawks use this same corridor during migration. This location in the Big Belt Mountains east of Canyon Ferry Reservoir, is worth the trip just for the fabulous views of the reservoir and the mountains of south-central Montana. From Bozeman it is a two hour drive, and then another 1.4 mile (900 ft. elevation gain) hike to the hawkwatch site.

Participants limited to 20

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

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.

5May/16Off

2016 Spring Birding Field Trip Schedule

2016 Sacajawea Audubon Spring Birding Series

Green-tailed Towhee (L. Harris)

Green-tailed Towhee (L. 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 or birders to participate. Come have a good time and learn something new.

 April 23, 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 with local guides.  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 7, Saturday: Paradise Valley Driving Tour

Leader: Mitch Hurt  406-223-4919 wildbirdhunting@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 the beginning of songbird migration, should yield a huge variety of birds.   Meet at Livingston Albertson’s parking lot, northeast corner at 7:30 AM for car-pooling.

 

 May 8, Sunday: 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 14, Saturday: Old Town Road and Milligan Canyon

Leader: Tom Forwood  570-6432 fwptforwood@gmail.com   (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 14, Saturday: Sweet Grass County Prairie Bird Tour

Leader: Beth Madden  406-224-1012  bethmadden64@gmail.com  (5-6 hour driving tour till early-mid afternoon)

Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day 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 yield 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 a.m. for carpooling.

 

 May 15, Sunday: Mount Ellis

Leader:  John Parker  586-5863  conundrumjp@gmail.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

 

 May 21, Saturday: Triple Tree Trail

Leader:  Lou Ann Harris  406-600-3585  montlou311@gmail.com  (5 hour trip; moderately strenuous climbing, 500 feet elevation gain, 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, Swanson's Thrush, and Western Tanager.  This trip features perhaps the greatest diversity of any short hike in the Gallatin Valley.  12 person limit

 

 May 21, 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 the peak of songbird migration should yield a huge variety of birds.  Meet at Livingston Albertson's parking lot, northeast corner at 7:30 a.m. for carpooling.

 

 May 22, Sunday: East Gallatin Recreation Area

Leader: Brad Barth 406-640-2628 or barth.brad@gmail.com   (3-4 hour 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.  We will be searching at 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 several Warblers, Lazuli Bunting, Gray Catbird, Warbling Vireo, Black Headed Grosbeak, Osprey, and flycatchers.  The walk will be at a leisurely pace with lots of stops to listen.  Bathrooms are nearby throughout.  12 person limit 

 

➢ May 28, Saturday: Mission Creek

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

(Till 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 3-5:  Please join us at the 2016 Montana Audubon Bird Festival in Missoula, MT

Contact Montana Audubon at (406) 443-3949 or go to www.mtaudubon.orgCome join the fun.

 June 9, Thursday: 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 nesting neotropic birds nesting here are Northern Waterthrush, American Redstart, and Black-headed Grosbeak.  12 person limit.

 June 11, Saturday: Spanish Creek

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

(4-5 hours; 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.  At the trailhead there is an interesting juxtaposition of habitats.  In one direction the trail borders the wet willow riparian area along Spanish Creek, where Willow Flycatchers and Lincoln’s Sparrows nest.  While going in the other direction, the trail climbs through dry open slopes where you can expect to see Green-tailed Towhees, Brewer’s Sparrows, and Lazuli Buntings. 12 person limit.

 June 12, 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 trip, mostly driving)

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 and Pass Creek 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 18, 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.  Four car limit.

 June 24, Friday: Montana's Nightjars at Lewis & Clark Caverns

Leader: Tom Forwood at  406-570-6432  fwptforwood@gmail.com  (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 25, Saturday: Cherry River and Middle Cottonwood
Leader: Brad Barth 406-640-2628 or 
barth.brad@gmail.com   (4-5 hours; moderate walking with some rocky terrain; 2-miles total)

On this walk we will travel to two different habitat types looking for diversity.  First we will travel to Cherry River looking for species such as Sora, several duck species, Yellow-headed Blackbirds,  kingbirds, Yellow Warblers and more.  Cherry River is more open country with Riparian habitat along the East Gallatin.  Then we will drive to the Middle Cottonwood Trailhead to look for species such as Western Tanager, MacGillivray's Warbler, Calliope Hummingbird, Lazuli Bunting, Green-tailed Towhee, Swainson's Thrush.  Middle Cottonwood has a mix of riparian habitat, mature north facing conifers, and relatively dry open south facing hillside.  We hope that these two locations will provide an interesting mix of species without having to travel a great distance from Bozeman.   12 person limit

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1Mar/16Off

April 2nd – Owl Prowl with Tom Forwood

Photo by Sami Swisher

Photo by Sami Swisher

 

**TRIP FULL WITH WAITING LIST**

Join Sacajawea Audubon for our annual Owl Prowl on Saturday, April 2nd. MT State Park Naturalist and avid birder Tom Forwood, Jr. will lead the field trip.  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.

Interested participants need to contact Tom Forwood to sign up at tjfishing75@gmail.com or phone 406-570-6432.  Field trip limit is 10 people. Registered participants will meet at the Museum of the Rockies parking lot at 7:00 p.m. for carpooling.

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