REPORT: July 8, 2021 - Half-day in the Flathead Valley with Kim C.
I picked up Kim C. near Woods Bay and we arrived to our first birding location of the day at 6:30am. Driving up the gravel road into the forest, we stopped often to listen and look for the various species that Kim was hoping to see. Coming from the eastern US, the bounty of new species in western Montana was exciting! One of the more prominent western birds in the forests are Western Tanagers, and we got fantastic looks at several individuals (although I only got a few half-decent photos).
Often singing from the treetops, it was great to see this male down in the midstory, almost eye-level!
We got to see several other birds of this humid mixed-conifer forest that Kim was hoping to get. Pacific Wren and Chestnut-backed Chickadee both came in to view, and we got looks at the forever stunning Townsend's Warbler!
Other highlights from our first stop include: Cassin's Vireo, Mountain Chickadee, MacGillivray's Warbler, and one Canada Jay! Our next stop targeted riparian habitat species near the little town of Somers, on the northern edge of Flathead Lake. Violet-green Swallows put on a nice show as they were flying in and out of the cliffs where they were undoubtedly nesting. A male Bullock's Oriole perched up in full view was an instant favorite! At this site we also got Nashville Warbler, Spotted Towhee, Western Wood-Pewee, and Yellow-headed Blackbird.
We stopped at a small wetland to spot the resident Trumpeter Swans as we drove to the next site, this time slightly dryer forest type where we got Dusky Flycatcher and Red-breasted Sapsucker. We ended this great half-day tour through the Flathead Valley with 52 species!