Date: 6/18/19 4:27 am From: <vagapaddler...> [MOB-Montana] <MOB-Montana...> Subject: Re: [MOB-Montana] Re: Lewistown Sora Stakeout
I do not do Face Book.
Added a photo that shows at least three of the four Sora chicks that showed themselves yesterday. One adult seemed to be gathering food off the surface of the open water but never brought it to where the chicks were first huddled. After about 15 minutes a couple of them started foraging insects while walking across several feet of floating cattail fronds and out of sight.
Date: 6/15/19 4:39 am From: <vagapaddler...> [MOB-Montana] <MOB-Montana...> Subject: [MOB-Montana] Lewistown Sora Stakeout
Slightly warmer morning temperature this past week had me spending an hour plus on the wildlife viewing platform overlooking the cattail pond at the southwest corner of the Brewery Flats open space.
The resident Sora was heard on five of the six days, with quick visuals on two; and a great photo op on just one (photo posted).
Also picked up repeat visits by a Mourning Dove to a clump of willows on the far side of the Roundhouse Road and was able to get a bird on nest photo from the vehicle the next time I drove by.
A very nice interpretative sign has been erected at the new parking lot near the still present concrete turntable of the roundhouse - footprint visible on current Google Earth satellite photos. Display includes diagrams identifying the working sections of the roundhouse and adjacent railroad yards along with100 year old photographs.
This population is very camera shy! Marginal photo posted was taken yesterday morning 125 yards from a 30 May 19 observations (calls & visual) and a bit further from last years.After the 0900 sighting I made a couple slow passes through this 10 acre of ponderosa pine/juniper habitat, then got my lunch bucket and sat for over an hour just across a deep gully from the first location.
Numerous Chipping Sparrows and a couple Red Crossbills were seen, and located a Mountain Bluebird cavity net. The Plumbeous Vireo made three more appearances - calls, formation flights & brief 10X looks.
Heading home via Wilder Trail got repeat looks at what I am sure were the same individual Burrowing Owl & Common Nighthawk seen and photographed on Tuesday.
Date: 6/3/19 8:39 pm From: <vagapaddler...> [MOB-Montana] <MOB-Montana...> Subject: [MOB-Montana] A very good year for Short-eared Owls
Total individuals at least 30 across a wide geographic area, plus a few more mentioned to me by other people.
Saturday's tame single (at least a ten minute photo op) along Old Gap Road is likely the same bird that flushed off the same post yesterday and made a circle back towards me with some kind of prey in its beak.
Main Bridger Creek Lewis's Woodpecker were nicely photogenic as usual, along with a Green-tailed Towhee and MacGillivray's Warbler. Hopefully some of last September's Red-headed Woodpecker family group will be seen on the next trip.
This is the tenth survey for the 2019 season. The temperature was 48
F when I started the survey and reached 68 F with clear skies all day.
I started this survey with 110 species as several were added during
the week on other surveys. Five new species were seen today, Turkey
Vulture, House Wren, Western Wood-Pewee, Willow Flycatcher, and
Western Tanager . The total species for the year stands at 115. Total
individuals counted today were 1,596 in 63 species.
Most waterfowl species are now at their breeding population with the
exception of Western Grebe, Canvasback, and Redhead, which are still a
Total number of waterfowl species today were 14.
SHOREBIRDS AND WADERS:
Mudflats are all but gone now that the Silver Bow Creek flowing into
the AR Ponds is high. I found 8 American Avocets, 3 Spotted
Sandpipers, and 18 Wilson’s Phalaropes.
BIRDS OF INTEREST:
Western Grebe – 43, Clark’s Grebe – 1, Common Loon – 2, and
Eastern Kingbird - 8.
56 species, and 1,211 individuals. This made up 75 % of the total
14 species, and 93 individuals. This made up 6 % of the total birds.
JOB CORPS PONDS
22 species, and 138 individuals. This made up 9 % of the total
DUCKS UNLIMITED PONDS
28 species, and 154 individuals. This made up 10 % of the total
Date: 5/30/19 7:22 am From: <vagapaddler...> [MOB-Montana] <MOB-Montana...> Subject: [MOB-Montana] Do 2017 Burn expeditions bring the rains?
(to paraphrase an old agriculture myth)
15 - 18 May to Lee Creek Burn:
Was informed at the Ashland Ranger Station that the Fort Howes Work Station had 0.25 in rain on the 15th. O'Dell Creek Road (FR 4131) was fine past the turn to Black's Pond and on to FR 4095. Turned back about 1/4 mile down FR 4797, 3 miles or so from the closest black due to mud holes and threatening clouds.
Consolation prize was a first of the year Cassin's Kingbird as I headed back east down Cow Creek with plans to spend the night at the FS campground there. For those that have found (or might find) this speck of delightful riparian thicket/big tree habitat, be advised that the Forest Service is in the process of breaching the small dam there due to safety concerns for the downstream camp sites. With the numerous recently re-established beaver dams along this water course I don't believe that the overall bird population will be affected.
Did not stop and ended up at my secondary location - BLM Moorhead Campground on the Powder River 40 miles upstream from Broadus - and was greeted by at least one pair of nesting House Wrens in the mature Cottonwood Tree at the picnic table nearest the piped in water source. Audio on a Great Horned Owl before daylight started Friday's short bird list. No Plumbeous Vireo, Sandhill Crane, Wild Turkey, and most amazing, not a single Cliff Swallow at the Moorhead Bridge.
Saturday daylight brought slushy rain drops, a maybe on a female Common Yellowthroat in the chokecherry thicket and several Chipping Sparrows foraging on the campground road visible from my vehicle blind as I worked for a few hours on bird records. Headed home at 1004 and was surprised to see snow sticking to the grass at a lower elevation before I got to Broadus.
22-27 May 2nd attempt with GPSr loaded with access points to the 2017 Sartin Draw Burn:
Had heard several reports of Short-eared Owls along MT 200 and observed individuals at four locations between Calf Creek and Big Dry Creek. Rain started about mid-way between Miles City and Broadus. First of year Bobolink about five miles south of Broadus on East River Road. Cliff Swallows have arrived at the Moorhead Bridge, as did sunshine by 1600. Ended the day with 13 campground species.
Thursday's 16 additional species included multiple close looks at a single Plumbeous Vireo not far from last years still hanging nest and poor photo ops of a Yellow-breasted Chat. The flood terrace between the road, river & toe of slope encompasses just under 25 acres. This visit there seemed to be about double the usual number of Yellow Warbler and House Wren - maybe 50 nesting locations each.
Friday was a mostly sit & watch the rain day. Added Eastern & Western Kingbird.
Saturday made the climb to the abandoned administrative site (visible on Google Earth photos) for the not built Moorhead Dam to revisit a Coast & Geodetic Service survey point and observed the second single Plumbeous Vireo of the day in a nice little hanging valley just above camp. Coming back from a drive up Bitter Creek to the Wyoming line I parked along the road just before the campground entrance to check on the eroding Powder River bank a couple of hundred yards upstream of the bridge and chanced upon the 'Best of Trip' male & female Orchard Oriole.
Sunday AM - A visit to the river bank added American White Pelican and Spotted Sandpiper for a trip total of 49 species, with again an observation of a single Plumbeous Vireo on the hillside and another in the hanging valley.
Sunday PM - Broke camp and moved to the Custer NF Holiday CG near the FS Whitetail rental cabin along the East Fork Otter Creek - Stacey Road. Looked hard for a Dicksissel along the Wilbur Creek Cutoff Road. Camp Ground was empty and was able to park overlooking the small spring tank looking towards the rental cabin. Shortly before dark the outflow winds from a massive thunderstorm off to the east convinced me to get out from under a 2012 burn snag and moved camp into the open meadow.
Monday - Memorial Day - Daylight came late with less than a 1/4 mile of visibility in fog & mist. Cancelled plans to go about five miles northwest on the Beaver Creek road to hike across state land into the 2017 Sartin Draw Burn and headed home instead. At least 250 of the 300 miles from Ashland was in visible precipitation. Did pickup a first of year Brown Thrasher on Greenleaf Lay Creek Road, two Short-eared Owls foraging along US 12 just west of Sumatra and a another perched on a fence post just before Melstone.