by Dan Casey
Rare and Notables – Dec/Jan
A “Red” Fox Sparrow and a White-throated Sparrow joined long-staying Brown-headed Cowbird and Lesser Goldfinch as notable birds visiting valley feeders. Up to three Snowy Owls were seen in the Lower Valley near Somers throughout the period, and all five species of falcons were found locally during the period. A very late Osprey was new to the Bigfork CBC, and two Lesser Goldfinches added a new species to the Kalispell CBC list.
See https://ebird.org/region/US-MT-029?yr=all for more.
- 12/18 – Double-crested Cormorant, Bigfork (Dan C.)
- 12/18 – Osprey, Flathead Riverin Lower Valley (Lynda S.) (record late date here)
- 12/19 – Gyrfalcon, Egan Slough area (Craig H.); also 01/02 at Flathead WPA (Zack S.)
- 12/21 – Snowy Owl (1), Somers (anon.) 1-3 throughout the period
- 01/01 – White-throated Sparrow (1), Whitefish, throughout the period (bj W.)
- 01/02 – Peregrine Falcon, Flathead Landfill (bj W.)
- 01/02 – Rusty Blackbird (3) McWenneger Slough area (Joshua C.)
- 01/02 – Lesser Goldfinch (2), Kalispell (Patty A.) (one in Somers throughout)
- 01/07 – Western Screech-Owl, Creston (Elliot R.)
- 01/09 – Snow Bunting (4), Lower Valley, Somers (Holly G.)
- 01/09 – Western Meadowlark (2), Lower Valley, Somers (Bridger D.)
- 01/10 – Purple Finch, Kalispell (Jenni L.)
- 01/12 – “Red” Fox Sparrow, Columbia Falls (Joshua C.)
What to Expect – February 2022
Late January through mid-February: the depths of winter! Yet a variety of hawks and falcons will be found throughout the valley, and flocks of waxwings (with occasional American Robins) will be hunting for the remaining mountain ash berries. Feeders should remain active with a variety of finches, juncos and more. And by mid-February, the first inklings of spring, with flocks of Starlings arriving, Red-winged Blackbirds starting to stake out territories in the cattails on sunny days, chickadees whistling their “fee-beee” and increasing waterfowl flocks seeking open water and sprouted wheat fields.