Champions of the Flyway!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Montana & the Rockies, June 2011 - part two

Clark's Nutcrackers

The first part of day two saw us drive an hour or so south-west of basecamp, through typically stunning landscapes, to the Harrison area, and down a long dirt track to hook up with Bluette and John's good friends Mike and Steph. Our hosts laid on a delicious banquet lunch in their idyllic and remote homestead, before we were given a tour of the local area - rolling farmland surrounded by mountain ranges, with stands of trees, areas of scrub, and at the heart of it, their very own nature reserve.

Eastern Kingbird, Western Kingbird, Western Wood-pewee

Intent on providing the best possible habitat for the birds and wildlife of the valley, Mike and Steph have been working for years on their land, giving it full protection and gaining as much in the eyes of the law, involving and partnering with conservation organisations, planting native trees and much more besides, resulting in a river/floodplain-dominated oasis of lush, biodiverse habitat.

the main road

on the reserve with (L-R) Bluette, John, Mike and Steph

female Mountain Bluebird

Brewer's Blackbird

Vesper Sparrow

Highlights here and on wanders within a kilometre or two included nesting Ferruginous Hawks, tame and entertaining Clark's Nutcrackers, breeding Western Wood-pewees, Northern Harriers, Lark Sparrows, Dusky, Willow and Least Flycatchers, plenty of Mountain Bluebirds, Loggerhead Shrike, plenty of Western Tanagers, Vesper Sparrows, Wilson's Snipes, Brewer's Blackbirds, Bullock's Orioles, a large female Peregrine (sparring low overhead with the local Red-tailed Hawks), and numerous Common Nighthawks on the move.

Common Nighthawks

Least Flycatcher

Western Tanager