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West Bank Fall Out

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  • Beth Hill
    Wow - Last night the birds were hurrying to find shelter. It was unpleasant with rain, 25 mph north wind and 45 degrees. Today I saw all the birds that
    Message 1 of 3 , Sep 26, 2013
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      Wow - Last night the birds were hurrying to find shelter.  It was unpleasant with rain, 25 mph north wind and 45 degrees.  Today I saw all the birds that landed on the Missouri River over night.  This evening I count/estimated hundreds and hundreds of birds on the water.  Ruddy duck 350, coot 400, northern shoveler 200, Cormorant 110 (probably our summer resident, but they didn't leave).  there were many I couldn't id - those fall ducks can look all the same, but different, add in distance or looking into the sun - duck sp.
      I've never seen that many ruddy duck or shoveler here before.  Not even close.
      There are still a few avocets (6 tonight), Franklin Gulls (about 12), greater yellowleg (2) and 
      Caspian tern (2).  I searched for the common tern that I saw last night, but there was no sign of it on its loafing spot or hunting.
      Last night the "blackbird" flocks were cruising low over the river to get sucked into the trees of the island.  They didn't come back out.  Tonight, 10's of 1000's were milling and flocking in the air reluctant to stop flying for the evening.  It was quite a show.  Well worth staying out til sunset and a late dinner.
      Beth Hill
      Great Falls
    • Beth Hill
      If last night was a harbinger tonight was a fall out. The weather was gray, 40 degrees and at least it wasn t blowing. I ve seen thousands of eared grebe on
      Message 2 of 3 , Oct 3, 2013
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        If last night was a harbinger tonight was a fall out.  The weather was gray, 40 degrees and at least it wasn't blowing.  I've seen thousands of eared grebe on the river in the past, but tonight I counted 180 western grebe in the extensive raft, the eared grebe probably outnumbered them 10-to-1.  I wouldn't be surprised if there were horned or red-necked in the group but by 6:45 - 7 pm it is getting pretty dark.  Even so, there were also northern shoveler (30 or more), redhead (20 or more), lesser scaup (20 or more), ruddy duck (100 or more), green winged teal (at least 12, could have been 30 or 40, many had to just go down as "teal sp" or "duck sp"  due to poor light).  One pelican and 80 cormorant were still hanging around.  The common merganser were in a totally different area, but by dark they had gathered on a sand bar and numbered at least 73.  It was just an amazing sight and I was glad I decided to bundle up, grab the optics and see what was happening with the change of weather.
        Beth Hill
        Great Falls
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