Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Memorial Day weekend usually is the high time for spring migration in Northeastern Montana. This year the weekend was shaping up to be a good one to observe large numbers of a wide variety of species, particularly warblers, as they head north. It looked to be a good weekend because we had about four days of strong winds from the east, which tends to push birds that would normally migrate further east into Fort Peck. It was also raining and the rain tends to keep the birds from migrating over us. It looked good. It wasn't.
I remember when weather like this would have produced lots of birds, particularly thrushes and warblers. But the number and variety of birds I anticipated just didn't show up.
Maybe because the birds didn't get caught in this system or maybe they just stayed further east. But even more depressing is that maybe there just aren't that many birds around anymore and the edges of the flyways or migration routes are where the lack of birds will be noticed first.
There were some very rare warblers observed last week though. My Dad had a Prothonotary Warbler and a Golden-winged Warbler in his yard - both with less than 3 records each for Montana. The Prothonotary (or another one!) was found again yesterday by Ed Harper and a group of birders from California about 2 miles from Mom and Dad's yard. I got to see that one.

Yellow Warbler

Yellow-breasted Chat

"Myrtle" Yellow-rumped Warbler

Orange-crowned Warbler

Blackpoll Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler

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