My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Ninepipes National Wildlife Refuge is Nifty

A while back - dates are now completely jumbled in my head - I went to Ninepipes to figure out where might be the best place to set up a Big Sit.  This is a bird counting event, held on the weekend of October 12 and 13, in which the participants sit in a seventeen foot circle and count birds for as much of a 24-hour day as they can manage.

I offered to stay through mid October, if I could run a Big Sit.  Pat accepted and  I have been working on the plans for it.  I'm hoping to have it all in place for everyone else to do the work on it while I go play. Put the date, October 12 on your calendar, and come join me if you can.

Ninepipes NWR is a wetland refuge and is a breeding water bird refuge. But there are higher lands around it  and a few trees on it so I'm hoping to get long-eared owls - probably a given -, pheasants, migrating song birds, hawks and osprey, as well as ducks, geese, yellow legs and grebes and trumpeter swans.

Most of the birds were too far away for pictures but here is a little of what I saw that lovely evening.  Oh yes,  I also got a good look at a red-necked grebe, a lifer for me.

Osprey and chicks

Trumpeter swans


Trumpeter swan kids?

Blooming teasel being visited by Central Basin Bumblebee

Another dragonfly

If you are interested, read on to see the list of birds I turned in to eBird.

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  32
Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator)  4
Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)  4
Gadwall (Anas strepera)  1
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  10
Redhead (Aythya americana)  10
Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris)  7
Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis)  12
Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena)  1
Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis)  3
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)  105
American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)  55
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  7
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)  7
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)  500
Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus)  6
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  2
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)  5
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  6

When this comes out, I'll be in Glacier  NP with a friend.  I'll come back and work three more days, then pick up another friend who will drive to Minneapolis with me - via Grand Tetons National Park, Red Rock Lakes  NWR, a friend's house in Bozeman who is driving us up the Beartooth Highway,  and finally Theodore Roosevelt NP in North Dakota.  Blogs will be spotty for a few weeks, depending on time to find an internet site and edit pictures and write the text. Hiking and sightseeing will definitely be a priority.

And I offered to stay on a little longer after roundup IF I could host a Big Sit.  I've been working on organizing that around the edges of getting the cooking done for my road trip and two weeks paddling in the Boundary Waters and doing my scheduled work.

  If you live close enough, come help coount birds here. October 12, 4A - 10 P.  More information will be on the refuge's web page and Facebook page. RSVP if you want some of my elk chilli or vegetarian chilli for lunch.  There will be both  on-line and call in registration.   Check out the details of what to bring.

This event is basically a tail-gate party for the birds.  We'll take turns - so drop in anytime -  watching and listening for birds from a seventeen foot circle.  If you can't come to my Sit, host one of your own.  They are sponsored by Bird Watcher's Digest so check out their site for details.  Hopefully they will be on both places in the next ten days.

Happy Birding.