Rare and Notables – Nov/Dec 2022

As we shifted into winter weather, smaller lakes froze and the waterfowl flocks on Flathead Lake and River grew, particularly mixed flocks of Aythya species (Redhead, Canvasback, scaup). The first Snowy Owls of the season arrived, and there were a few notable lingering birds that more typically leave us during winter (e.g. Varied Thrushes, Spotted Towhee, Brown-headed Cowbird).  Bohemian Waxwing flocks began to build. Rarities included Gyrfalcon, Pacific Loons and Short-billed Gull. See also: https://ebird.org/region/US-MT-029?yr=all

  • 11/19 – Dunlin (1) Polson (Zach S.)
  • 11/21 – White-winged Scoter (1) Somers Bay (Dan C.)
  • 11/23 – Brown -headed Cowbird (1, throughout period) Creston (Craig H.)
  • 11/24 – Spotted Towhee (1, throughout period) Somers (Dan C.)
  • 11/25 – Pacific Loon (1) Elmo (Braydon L.); also one at Wayfarer’s SP, 11/26 (Jake B.)
  • 11/26 – Cackling Goose (3), Bigfork (Dan C.); also six there on 12/03 (Dalton S.)
  • 11/29 – Varied Thrush (1) Somers, through 12/8 (Dan C.); also one at C. Falls, 12/04 (Bridger D.)
  • 11/29 – Gyrfalcon (1) Creston (Craig H.)
  • 12/03 – Purple Finch (1) Bigfork (Leslie K.)
  • 12/04 – Short-billed Gull (1) Bigfork (Shawn R.)
  • 12/04 – Snowy Owl (2) West Valley Ponds area (Jake B. and Dick W.)
  • 12/08 – Rusty Blackbird (1) Creston (Craig H.)
  • 12/12 – Snow Goose (1) Creston (Craig H.)

What to Expect – January 2022

While midwinter might be the time of lowest avian diversity, there are pleasures to be had. The Flathead and Mission Valleys offer a wide variety of raptors, from numerous Rough-legged and a variety of Red-tailed Hawks, to falcons, Northern Harriers and Short-eared Owls. Our valley also hosts the greatest variety of wintering waterfowl in the state. We shall see if it is another good year for Snowy Owls near Somers, Polson, or in the West Valley. Will there be any influx of winter finches (e.g. Common Redpolls, Pine Grosbeaks)?