My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Migration Day Work

I raced up to Bison Range National Wildlife Refuge, my summer home, so I could be in time to help out with the Migration Day Celebration. We had only a small crowd, and I was able to tag along on the bird walk early in the morning.  Then I set up and sat with a game called Migration Headache, for kids. It has been modified from the version played by many kids with paper plates to one that uses a die, so each child can singly play through the stations and see if he/she survives the trials of migration when migrating as a bird of their choice.

Some of the birders 
Playing the Migration Game

Me helping with reporting - what bird was successful or died during migration

Then, after a couple of hours off to eat supper and rest, I joined the staff-led tour of the refuge.  We got great views of the bison, elk, white-tailed deer and mule deer. We also saw two coyotes and a couple of interesting birds.  One, a dusky flycatcher, was a life bird for me. The flowers along the short Bitterroot Trail were enchanting and we  searched, unsuccessfully, for the black bear with two cubs seen there earlier. The view from High Point was fantastic. You get a 360 degree view of the refuge and surrounding towns   Soon after we returned to the tour road,  we had the adventure of being attacked by a dusky (formerly blue) male grouse  Apparently he has part of the road in his territory, and fights with any species that tries to use it.  He even runs at the cars. 

Momas and babies with a few bulls

Serviceberries are blooming, especially near the wooded areas of the tour

A view from one of the switchbacks

Some of the tour group

Lots  of wildflowers are blooming along Bitterroot Trail
Prairie smoke - but I think of them as Teletubbies and chuckle whenever I see them

A mule deer watched us pass from right next to the road

The attack grouse

This bull was hanging out right next to the road. 

I started birding at 5:30 A. M. and ended the tour around 10:00.  It was too dark to take pictures of the moose herd when we found them.

I'm writing this Tuesday night and I'm still trying to catch up on my lost sleep.  Then I'll start spending more free time touring the refuge. To get great pictures, I need to start around 5:30 A. M.  But it has been a great place to explore so far.  Even the walks to work are exciting.

On the work front, I'm learning how to run the visitor center, getting started on plans and protocols for doing bee and amphibian surveys with the Montana Civilian Corp kids we'll have here this summer, taking courses online for the required defensive driving, and one to certify me to handle government money. But I'll be off Thursday's through Saturdays so I'll soon have more time to get out and explore.