Monday, January 30, 2012

Birding Montana opportunities

Lazuli Bunting

This summer I will be involved with a couple of birding adventures in Montana so if you are interested in seeing some great birds and incredible landscapes, check these out -

In late May I will join David Sibley at the Pine Butte Swamp Guest Ranch for their Birding the Mountains and Prairies With David Sibley Workshop. I will do the introductory few days of the workshop and then David and I and Keith Hansen will co-lead the rest of the week. David will then co-lead a second workshop with Keith Hansen. Here is a link for David's posting on the workshop (he does a great job of describing the pace and expected birds) and a link to Keith Hanson's website.

McCown's Longspur

What can I say. I led this workshop a few years ago and really enjoyed the staff, the people that joined me at the workshop, and the place. I feel very privileged to be asked to do this again, but even better, I get to work with David and Keith this time around. Oh and the birds - Pine Butte is wonderful location to base a birding workshop from. There is relatively easy access to a wide variety of habitats within a short drive of the ranch and on the ranch property as well. Hopefully we can even find Northern Hawk-Owls like they did in 2010 as well as Long-billed Curlews, McCown's Longspurs, and Lazuli Buntings. Did I mention that I am really excited about this workshop? I am assuming that most people reading this will be familiar with David Sibley (Sibley Field Guide to the Birds of North America and more), but Keith Hansen is also a great bird artist and has been a favorite of mine for many years. Keith has a great talent for imagining unique perspectives for his subject and then rendering them in a accurate and artistic way. My favorite is an illustration of a Prairie Falcon flying over a Greater Sage-grouse lek as see from above and to the right of the falcon. Two great bird artists and me.
For a complete itinerary, description, and price check out the workshop link above.

Another opportunity to experience Montana birding with an organized group, this time traveling around a good chunk of the eastern part of the state, is a tour run by Peg Abbot with Naturalist Journeys.

Black-tailed Prairie Dog

I will be helping Peg out for a few days as she tours around some of the places I know best - the prairies of Eastern Montana. The details can be found here. This promises to be a great tour full of wonderful prairie wildlife including the possibility of observing McCown's Longspurs, Chestnut-collared Longspurs, Sprague's Pipits, Baird's Sparrows, and Long-billed Curlews - all while standing in one spot! Not just one individual either!

Baird's Sparrow

There is also a good chance that while we are standing there a Ferruginous Hawk or Swainson's Hawk might fly over or the Marbled Godwit will come holler at us. Lots of other great prairie wildlife will be found on this trip I am sure.

American Bison

1 comment:

Milestown Jim said...

I hope you have a great time with your tours. I fly into Billings nearly every late spring/early summer on the way to the old homestead in Miles City. I plan to look into the new Pumpkin Creek Ranch Recreation Area for prairie birds. I only found out about it last summer, but it looks promising, although hardly birded.