Monday, December 12, 2011

Montana Outdoors: Birding Trails Montana

Cedar waxwing munching Russian olives
One of two Bohemian waxwing flocks we saw yesterday in Birch Creek
As posted a couple days ago I've been hard at work on our upcoming book Birding Trails Montana. And as also posted recently the time outs between key punching sessions have been devoted to Annie's rehab but...Why not kill two birds with one stone? Why not indeed... So instead of loosing Annie any old place there is room to ramble we been checking out spots we might also include in the book.

Yesterday it was Birch Creek. A tributary of the Big Hole born high in the East Pioneers, it flows for several miles through national forest before spilling out into mostly private ranch lands. Years ago a retired professor at then Western Montana College mentioned Birch Creek as one the spots he took his ornithology students. As I recall he said something along the lines, "Birch Creek is not the best but a good spot to find some forest species you don't normally find in the willows/cottonwoods/sagebrush and grass which make up most of my other spots close to town."

And sure enough we found but a handful species though we find discover something we'd heard of but never seen. Two flocks Bohemian waxwings, the small one above and another huge flock of at least 100 birds...For us a first since our biggest flock to date had been a dozen or so showed up in the backyard a couple winters ago.

Cedar waxwings are common backyard visitors all summer long. In fact we had one nest last August in the tree the one above is eating olives. Bohemians show up too in the backyard but usually in singles or small flocks of a 8 or 10. By the way 100 is no where near in record territory I read the other day of a group of birders counting several hundred in one bunch.  Whether Birch Creek will make the cut is still up in the air but we plan to return soon perhaps set a new personal record...

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