By Steve Gniadek

American Robin - Photo Credit: Steve Gniadek
American Robin – Photo Credit: Steve Gniadek

On Saturday April 23, eight people participated in the Flathead Audubon early bird walk on the FVCC campus, from 7 to 9am.   Led by Denny Olson, K.C. Voermans, Lisa Flowers, and Steve Gniadek, the group birded near the Stillwater River on the southeast end of the FVCC property.  We also birded on adjacent private land just south of the FVCC land because the owner of that property, under conservation easement with the Flathead Land Trust, was among the participants and permitted access to his property.  It was still too early in the season for most of the neotropical migrant songbirds, but we were able to find 24 species, including an Osprey, a pair of Bald Eagles, a Red-tailed Hawk, Red-naped Sapsuckers, Pygmy Nuthatches, Song Sparrows and Red-winged Blackbirds.  We had a brief discussion of conservation concerns in the area, before heading up to the Bioblitz tents.

Steve then helped lead about 15 people on the main FVCC Bioblitz bird walk from about 9 to 10:45 am.  We birded the same general area of the campus property and, in addition to the species found earlier, we saw a male Calliope Hummingbird foraging from a perch across the river.  We also found a Canada Goose on a nest, a pair of Wood Ducks inspecting cavities in snags, and a pair of Northern (Red-shafted) Flickers excavating in an existing cavity in an old cottonwood snag.