My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Birds of Red Rock Lake

Red Rock Lake is home or a stopover to some two hundred and thirty two species of birds.  During the winter, only a few species live here, but as spring comes to the Centennial Valley, more and more birds are seen or heard. This is an important site for Trumpeter Swans.  It was established to try to bring them back when there were less than seventy of them. Today we have provided swans across the west and have over 100 breeding here. Many songbirds pass through here or remain to breed. We also have breeding ducks, Franklin gulls, terns, and wading birds. And we also have lots of breeding raptors, including bald eagles, ferruginous hawks, Swainson's hawks, kestrels, red-tailed hawks, and peregrine falcons. I'll never be able to get pictures of all of them but it keeps me busy trying.

MacGillivray's warbler

Our very common Northern Flicker, red shafted

I caught this red-tailed hawk hunting. I have also found its nest but can't see any action in it.

Red-tailed hawk

The rule for identifying sitting sparrows holds up here - if they fly up and sit, they are Savanah sparrows. 

This western tanager  is one of my most recent pictures. We were still seeing waves of migration coming through in late May

Sandhill cranes have been most elusive - this is the only one I've seen till yesterday when I saw it with a mate. 

Bluebirds were already starting to lay eggs when I first checked, the second week of May

And now some of them are feeding babies

California Gull

A female phalarope

Shoveler pairs are nesting in wet areas 

A bathing Savanah sparrow

Male cinnamon teal- the one in the back is displaying - part of a group of 6-8 males plus females

A  trumpeter swan

Lesser scaup pair

Feeding avocet

Phalarope pair- the lady is the pretty one because the male raises the children

Barn swallow - they are way outnumbered by the cliff swallows and tree swallows

The yellow headed blackbirds are very closely associated with water

Long-billed curlews breed here

I often see willets with long-billed curlews - and their call is heard throughout the refuge

Red necked grebes nest on Widgeon pond but seldom come close enough for a decent picture. 

 Click here for a list of refuge birds.  Note that the ones with asterisks breed here. I have lots of birds to go before I see them all.

For more great blogs about wild birds from around the world, click on the picture.