Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Montana Outdoors--Birds, Bears and More Birds...

Vermillion Flycatcher
I haven't been posting as often of late mostly because I'm heavy into writing a new book...Birding Trails Montana...to be published next year sometime by Sandhill Crane Press, an imprint of Wilderness Adventures Press...which of course is the publisher of three of the four books I've had published. Anyway the list is long and by the time the book hits the streets it will no doubt have grown into yet another pretty fat tome...so be it.

Montana as you may or may not know boasts a pretty long list of birds...400+ actually...Loosely organized into birds that nest here; birds don't nest here but show up with fair regularity on their way to and from someplace else...migrants...and birds such as the two above...which rarely show up and when they do never fail to leave a last impression...To me vagrants or accidentals beg the obvious...like what (or perhaps more to the point, how) the hell you guys doin' way up here when your distribution chart clearly shows a distinct love for fun in the sun and sands of the desert southwest...Well as I say your reporter is no way near wise enough to answer that one; actually I'm hard pressed to even so much as hazard a guess.

But spying the pair on the Montana bird list did pique my interest so I did a little research and while I still wonder what/how the hell I did learn where the pair showed up...The pyrrhuloxia was observed in Billings; the vermillion flycatcher in Victor...Any way you cut it a far piece from home, eh?

On another track I read this morning Pennsylvania hunters killed nearly 4000 bears in the season just ended; no not a record kill but does rank second all time to I think 2005 when just over 4000 bears bit the dust...And we think we got a lot of bears...

On yet another track this one something of personal tragedy...Annie still is not completely healed from her rattler encounter, (October 20). Although at times you would never know it. Except for the now near hairless, obviously atrophied foot and rear leg in the yard and around the house she appears her old self. But turn her loose on the prairie and she soon tires...The good news is she seems to get a little better each day. As such we continue to hope before the season ends we will at least be able to get in a few licks.

Meanwhile Kate's still hanging in there; perhaps no better but no worse either. Then every once in awhile she makes a point of reminding us the eyes might be gone but the nose still works...Daily we take Annie up into the sagebrush either to actually hunt Huns or just practice on sage hens...Anyway the other afternoon we took Kate along. The wind was blowing pretty good and right out the truck obvious she got a snoot full ...Gale could hardly hold the old girl back...Nose to the wind, bound and determined, and not about to be denied she tugged Gale ever onward... The birds left before she could catch up but still...like how nifty is that

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