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  • Joshua Covill

REPORT: June 28-29, 2021 - Glacier NP with Dan E.

I met Dan in the afternoon of the 28th for a half-day trip that evening before our full-day on the 29th.

We started with a nice walk along the Upper McDonald Creek trail through the huge Western Hemlock forest looking for a few key species that inhabit this humid forest that is more akin to the Pacific Northwest than it is to the drier intermountain west forest.

McDonald Creek, where we had 4 Black Swifts!

We connected with one of our targets right away, a couple Varied Thrush chasing each other around through the forest. We headed back and drove up the Going-to-the-Sun road as the sun was getting low in the sky.

One of our major targets made a brief appearance as we spotted 4 Black Swifts flying over McDonald Creek! Those, plus a few Vaux's Swifts added to our list of targets that we got that evening.


We met early in the morning on the 29th and drove up the Going-to-the-Sun Road to Logan Pass. Along the way, we had a Dusky Grouse right in the road! At Logan Pass, we looked for the classic species at that high-elevation alpine zone. White-crowned Sparrows, Fox Sparrows, Hermit Thrushes, and American Pipits. We found a few Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches as we searched the rocky alpine zone for White-tailed Ptarmigan, but even with all our searching, we couldn't turn up a ptarmigan. They have been getting progressively scarer at Logan Pass over the last decade, and now takes a considerable amount of luck to find one there. Other locations in the park are more reliable but often require a bit of a hike.


Moving to the Siyeh Bend, we hiked up the trail there looking for some of the boreal and western Montana species.

Pacific Wren
Pine Grosbeak










Right away, we found a male Pine Grosbeak, a top target of the day. With some work, we got great looks at Pacific Wren and Townsend's Warbler, some more of Dan's target species. MacGilivray's Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Olive-sided Flycatcher, and Brown Creeper rounded out the list from this hike.


After our short hike, we made our way out of the park to our last location of the day. Here, we connected with our last remaining target of the trip, Chestnut-backed Chickadee! We had a few of them right up close to us along a gravel road!

Chestnut-backed Chickadee

Another fantastic day of birding around Glacier country!


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