by Dan Casey
Rare and Notables – Jan/Feb
At least two Snowy Owls persisted in the Lower Valley northeast of Somers throughout the period and were enjoyed by many local and visiting birders. Seasonally uncommon to rare, a White-throated Sparrow and a Brown-headed Cowbird continued at feeders in Whitefish and Creston, respectively. Migrant waterfowl numbers started to increase in February, with large flocks of Canada Geese and Mallards on Flathead Lake, Flathead River, and agricultural fields throughout the Valley. See https://ebird.org/region/US-MT-029?yr=all for more.
- 01/22 – Double-crested Cormorant (1), Bigfork (River C.) Likely the one seen on Bigfork CBC.
- 01/22 – Glaucous Gull (1), Flathead County Landfill (bj W.) Still present 13 Feb (Josh C.)
- 02/02 – Hoary Redpoll (1), Whitefish feeder (Dan C., bj W.)
- 02/02 – (Red) Fox Sparrow (1), Columbia Falls (Josh C.) First seen 01/12
- 02/03 – Varied Thrush (1, early migrant), Somers (Dan C.) With flock of American Robins
- 02/08 – Harris’s Sparrow (1), West Valley (Jake B.) Seen again 02/14 (bj W.)
- 02/13 – Yellow-headed Blackbird (2), Creston (Mani G.) In mixed blackbird flock.
- 02/13 – Long-tailed Duck (1), Flathead L. at Wayfarer’s S.P. (Jake B., Cory D.)
What to Expect – March 2022
The battle between winter and spring begins in earnest during early March, frequently the “mud” season. Our winter raptors and finches may remain, but as days get longer and the thaw begins, migrants soon follow. By mid-March, a wide diversity of waterfowl species can be found, including large flocks of American (and a few Eurasian) Wigeons, Northern Pintails, Greater Scaup, Canvasbacks, Snow Geese, Tundra Swans and more. Mountain and Western Bluebirds will arrive, as will Western Meadowlarks. And the first insect-eaters, Tree and Violet-green Swallows should be coursing over local wetlands by St. Patrick’s Day.