by Dan Casey

Rare and Notables – November/December 2023

Winter was slow to arrive, and our avifauna did not change much from the previous month. Scoters continued at Foy’s Lake; all three of our largest falcon species made appearances. Steller’s Jays, Pine Grosbeaks and Common Redpolls were widespread, but Bohemian Waxwing numbers did not build to their usual numbers. The gull roost in the Flathead Waterfowl Production Area (WPA) hosted at least six species by the end of the period, although Glaucous Gulls were notably absent. See also:

  • 11/16 – Greater Yellowlegs (1) Lake Blaine (late) (Jake B.)
  • 11/17 – Snow Goose (2) West Valley (bj W.)
  • 11/20 – Pacific Loon (1) Lake McDonald (Grant P.)
  • 11/22 – Black Scoter (1,f) Foy’s Lake (Grant P.); still present 12/9 (Leslie K.)
  • 11/27 – Ferruginous Hawk (1) Manning Rd, Somers (Dan C.)
  • 12/09 – White-winged Scoter (3) Foy’s Lake (end of long stay?) (bj W.)
  • 12/13 – Short-billed Gull (1) Flathead Lake WPA (Shawn R.)
  • 12/13 – Lesser Black-backed Gull (1) Flathead Lake WPA (Craig H.) still present 12/16 (Dan C.)
  • 12/14 – Prairie Falcon (1) Farm Rd, Somers (Dan C.)
  • 12/15 – Brewer’s Blackbird (150) Egan Slough Rd, Creston (Craig H.)
  • 12/16 – Snow Goose (7) Lower Valley (Denny O.)
  • 12/16 – Peregrine Falcon (1) Flathead WPA (Dan C)
  • 12/16 – Gyrfalcon (1) South of Creston (Michele T.)

What to Expect – January 2024

As long as the Flathead River and Lake stay open, watch for a diversity of waterfowl, grebes or loons that have chosen to spend the winter (seven Common Loons were seen on the Bigfork CBC 12/16). Watch crab apple and box elder trees for foraging flocks of Pine Grosbeaks and Bohemian Waxwings, and check birch trees for Common and Hoary Redpolls. The inevitable (?) snows should bring in more birds to feeders as access to natural seeds decreases; watch for White-throated or Harris’s Sparrows to join your junco flocks.