I had a great trip to the Melrose, Bannack and Clark Canyon Reservoir areas today.
Up Camp Creek Road, just east of Melrose, I found my FOY Brown-headed Cowbird, Rock Wren and Vesper Sparrow. VESP were found singing at most of the areas that I visited today. Also seen at this location was a nice adult Ferruginous Hawk.
Along Birch Creek Road, north of Dillon, I saw one Burrowing Owl and four McCown's Longspurs.
South of Bannack, along Bannack Bench Road, were several Sage Thrashers, a few singing Brewer's Sparrows and two Sage Sparrows. One very vocal Gray Flycatcher was seen and photographed, along with a surprise male green-backed Lesser Goldfinch. As I pulled in to park near the water tank (~7 miles south of Bannack) the goldfinch was seen on, and about the ground. While scrambling for my camera, the bird moved to the passenger side of the truck, then lifted and flew out to the south before I could get a shot off. Despite looking around the immediate area, I never saw the bird again.
At Clark Canyon Reservoir a number of Franklin's Gulls, and several Willets were observed. A few Black-necked Stilts, American Avocets and Wilson's Phalaropes were also seen. In addition, one Loggerhead Shrike was spotted along Old Armstead Road just west of the reservoir.
Despite the scattered showers experienced in the area this afternoon, conditions appeared very dry for this time of year. Let's hope a few Spring Showers hit the Southwest Sage Country soon.