Darcy Thomas

Our little group of eight birding buddies made a stop at Lake Frances near Valier on our way to Choteau and were delighted by the sight of at least 8,000 Snow Geese blanketing the far west end of the lake like a white carpet. An incessant cacophony of honking competed with the cries of gulls. An eagle disturbed their rest several times creating a massive uplift into the sky of these large white and black birds. They soon settled again upon the water to rest up before the long migration ahead of them. We also enjoyed watching Great Blue Herons as they returned from foraging to rest in their rookery. After a delicious dinner at John Henry’s we made our way to Priest Butte Lake and Freezout Pond One. Meadowlarks and blackbirds, Swans, Snow Goose, several species of ducks, pelicans, cormorants and more graced the evening as the setting sun painted the skies behind us in soft tones of orange, purple, and blue. 

Before sunset the next morning we grabbed coffee and bagels and headed to Freezout. We met the morning with a stunning sunrise watching Snow Geese flying in huge formations over our heads as they headed north. Many other birds including ducks, pelicans, herons, cormorants, killdeer, Bald eagles, and gulls made the early morning a delight. After driving through the agricultural fields, a couple of folks in our party peeled off to venture out on their own. The rest of us decided to drive up Teton Canyon Road where we were rewarded with the sighting of two large herds of pronghorn, Horned Larks, a Northern Shrike, Bald Eagles, and a Peregrine Falcon. 

Heading north on the drive home our final gifts of the trip were the sighting of Sandhill Cranes and a Golden Eagle who was dancing on the wind.