by Joshua Covill

Rare and Notables – November 2019 

  • 10/20 – Barred Owl photographed at Owen Sowerwine Natural Area (Jake B.)
  • 10/25 – Surf Scoter in Somers Bay, Flathead Lake (Craig H.)
  • 10/27 – 8 Greater White-fronted Geese on West Valley Ponds with Canada Geese flocks (Dan C.)
  • 10/27 – Surf Scoter on Foy’s Lake (Dan C.)
  • 10/29 – Rusty Blackbird photographed along the shore of Bowman Lake, GNP (Forrest E.
  • 11/06 – Pacific Loon seen from Wayfarer’s State Park (Craig H.)
  • 11/06 – 2 White-throated Sparrows at a private residence outside Columbia Falls (Shannon D.)
  • 11/08 – Surf Scoter on Roger’s Lake (Craig H., Rob W., Shawn R.)
  • 11/08 – Mew Gull & Iceland Gull at the Flathead Co. Landfill (Craig H., Rob W., Shawn R.)
  • 11/10 – NORTHERN CARDINAL! (female) at private residence in Marion! Not seen since it first appeared, this is the 16th state record for Montana and the 1st west of the divide!
  • 11/14 – Red-breasted Merganser in Somers Bay (Craig H.)

What to Expect – December 2019

December marks the end of fall migration, and much lower chances of a wayward rare bird landing in the Flathead valley. It’s a great time to look for winter residents like Snow Buntings, Northern Shrikes, Rough-legged Hawks, and Bohemian Waxwings. Checking the rooftops, power poles, and hay bales in the Lower and West Valley can produce a Snowy Owl or Gyrfalcon. Bird feeders become very active, especially those that supply a variety of food and cover for waiting birds. Any spot with unfrozen water and muddy spots can hold a lingering Killdeer or Wilson’s Snipe. Keep an eye on blackbird flocks around livestock feed lots and muddy shores, an aptly-named Rusty Blackbird may be hiding in a mixture of Red-winged and Brewer’s Blackbirds.