Flathead Valley Bird Report by Dan Casey

Rare and Notables – FEB/MAR 2023

In many past years, Tree and Violet-green Swallows would already be circling Somers in small numbers as I write this (3/16). But not this year, as winter has been slow to lose its grip. Nevertheless, waterfowl numbers increased predictably during the period, with many thousands of Canada Geese, Mallards, and small numbers of Northern Pintails finding what waste grain and open water they could. The long-staying Brown-headed Cowbird in Creston stayed through at least the end of Feb, and the Purple Finch at Holt was still to be reported at the period’s end. See also: https://ebird.org/region/US-MT-029?yr=all

  • 02/18 – American Three-toed Woodpecker (1) Kalispell (Scott G.)
  • 02/18 – Western Meadowlark (2) Kalispell (Scott G.) 
  • 02/19 – Northern Pintail (25) North Shore WMA (Dan C.); 78 at Creston 3/16 (Craig H.)
  • 02/20 – Glaucous Gull (1) Flathead County landfill (Craig H.) 
  • 02/28 – Brown -headed Cowbird (1) Creston (Craig H.) 
  • 03/03 – Purple Finch (1, through 3/14) Bigfork (Leslie K.)
  • 03/04 – Ruby-crowned Kinglet (1) Wayfarer’s SP (Zachary S.)
  • 03/04 – Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch (3) Evergreen (Derrick R.) 
  • 03/07 – Cackling Goose (1) Creston (Craig H.); also 3 near Bigfork 3/14 (Dan C.)
  • 03/09 – Ferruginous Hawk (1) Mill Cr, Creston (Jake B.)
  • 03/12 – Northern Saw-whet Owl (1) Whitefish (bj W.)
  • 03/13 – Snow Bunting (2) Kalispell (Darcy T.)
  • 03/15 – Bohemian Waxwing (305) Owen Sowerwine (Jake B.)

What to Expect – March/April 2023

Ah, late March. The first insect-eaters arrive in earnest (Tree and Violet-green Swallows, Mountain Bluebirds, Western Meadowlarks), and waterfowl flocks increase in both numbers and diversity. Check Church Slough in particular for Eurasian Wigeon and Greater Scaup, Tundra and Trumpeter Swans, Northern Pintails. By mid-April, most dabbling duck species will have arrived. Red-necked Grebes will appear on the more vegetated wetlands (e.g. Smith Lake). Sandhill Cranes will return; listen also for the first Marsh Wrens and Ruby-crowned Kinglets. Yellow-headed Blackbirds will start to arrive, staking out the best marsh territories.