Thursday, June 24, 2010

Trip Bird Report: Day 1 and 2

We are now five days into the trip, having arrived at Steven and Aubrey's place in Oregon City last night. The miles are piling up quickly, but luckily we have been able to make frequent stops to bird, see life birds (*), take pictures, or stretch the legs.

On Saturday we left Staples MN and headed west, stopping first at Long Lake National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in central ND. The overcast weather made picture taking tough, but we did see Western Grebes, an Eared Grebe, Yellow-headed Blackbirds, a Willet*, and Marbled Godwit* among others. With rain starting after an hour of walking we headed toward Teddy Roosevelt National Park (NP) where we camped for the night.

We drove into Roosevelt NP campground late, having little time to bird afterward. We did however have a nice chat with a few birders, getting a suggestion for finding a Rock Wren as well as other birds of the park. The next morning we awoke to heavy fog and headed out for the loop and a couple of hikes. The hikes came up empty on any targeted bird, but luckily we found a Rock Wren*, Lazuli Buntings*, Vesper Sparrows, Mountain Bluebirds, Spotted Towhees*, Yellow-breasted Chats*, Western Meadowlarks, Western Wood-Pewees and others in the park.

We also saw other animals, including a strange Mule Deer sighting in Roosevelt NP. After a lovely morning we packed up and headed toward Bowdoin NWR on Highway 2 in north central Montana. Luckily we avoided the Billings tornadoes by heading north also.

At Bowdoin NWR we saw up close views of many gorgeous birds. The auto loop is takes you through the property and took us about four and a half hours to complete. We saw American Avocets, Black-necked Stilts, Marbled Godwit, Grasshopper Sparrows, Yellow-headed Blackbirds, White-faced Ibises*, a Black-crowned Night Heron, Black-billed Magpies, Willets, Wilson's Phalaropes, and others. This was a truly wonderful drive with a great many photo opportunities. Some of the pictures are below from Bowdoin.

After spending most of the afternoon and evening at Bowdoin NWR we did not make it to Glacier that night, rather we found a rest area and slept in the car. Day 3 and beyond bird posts will come later.

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