18134Mission Valley Field Trip with 5 Valleys Audubon
- Feb 16, 2014
I accompanied the Five Valleys Audubon Society on their Mission Valley Field Trip yesterday! Thank you to the knowledgeable leaders and all who accompanied and shared optical gear with those who were lacking! The birds were phenomenal. Ferruginous Hawk was a hit right off the bat, at the Ronan gas station on the South side of town. Ninepipe NWR produced very high numbers of Rough-legged and Red-tailed Hawks as well as some American Tree Sparrows (heard before seen) and large numbers of Canada Geese. A single Merlin was discovered in Charlo and on the way toward Lower Crow Reservoir, Bald Eagle numbers steadily rose. At the reservoir 2 American Dippers were found as well as the day's only Townsend's Solitaire and a lone Great Blue Heron on the ice. Continuing toward Polson, phenomenal numbers of raptors continued including 4 Bald Eagles (2 adult and 2 subadult) all occupying the same power pole. Two Prairie Falcons provided excellent viewing opportunities, with one adult showing its yellow cere. The Polson Sewage Lagoons gave me a personal highlight, as I was able to view at close range my lifer Barrow's Goldeneye. Flathead Lake was beautiful and a spot of open water added 8 species to the day list. A Hooded Merganser had striking plumage and some gulls on the ice challenged our identification skills. The yellow bill (with red and black markings), pale iris, pink legs and other markings led us to believe Herring Gull, but I have reported it as Larus sp. in eBird.
Happy Birding and Cheers!
Hilary A. Turner