by Dan Casey

Rare and Notables – MAR/APR 2023

Mid-March offered its usual diversity and abundance of waterfowl, with great numbers of geese and ducks throughout the valley (despite the late ice-out). Eurasian Wigeon were seen among the flocks at many sites around the valley, from March 17through April 11. A Eurasian Green-winged Teal at Creston April 11 (Craig H.) was just the fifth local (and state) record of this subspecies. Ospreys, Turkey Vultures, bluebirds, Western Meadowlarks and particularly swallows arrived later than usual as winter weather lingered. A few winter visitors were slow to leave (e.g. Snow Bunting, Northern Shrike, Rough-legged Hawk). See also:

  • 03/18 – Glaucous Gull (1) Flathead Lake North Shore (Shawn R.); Lower Valley 4/02 (Leslie K.)
  • 03/19 – Western Screech-Owl (1) Fish Creek Campground, Glacier NP (Collin M.) 
  • 03/20 – Purple Finch (1) Bigfork (Leslie K.) Last report of this overwintering bird
  • 03/20 – Black-necked Stilt (1) N. of Bigfork (Denny O.) Record early arrival date for MT
  • 03/28 – Short-billed (Mew) Gull (1) Somers Bay (Dan C.) Present through 4/07
  • 03/30 – Lesser Black-backed Gull (1) Egan Slough Rd (Craig H.) 
  • 04/04 – Snow Bunting (1) Egan Slough Rd (Craig H.)
  • 04/05 – Trumpeter Swan (collar “9@5”) Church Slough (Dan C.) Marked in OR in 2021 
  • 04/05 – Eurasian x American Wigeon (hybrid)(1) Church Slough (Dan C.)  
  • 04/06 – Lapland Longspur (1) West Valley (Josh C.)
  • 04/11 – (Eurasian) Green-winged Teal (1) Creston area (Craig H.)
  • 04/12 – Greater White-fronted Goose (3) Egan Slough Rd. (Craig H.)
  • 04/14 – Horned Grebe (389) Dayton to Elmo, Flathead Lake (Dan C.) Extraordinary numbers
  • 04/15 – Williamson’s Sapsucker (1) Herron Park (Shannon D.)
  • 04/15 – Northern Shrike (1) West Valley (Markus and Erin B.) Late date

What to Expect – April/May 2023

It’s time to put out the hummingbird feeders, as Earth Day (April 22) usually heralds the first arrivals. The number of arriving migrant species will start to increase exponentially by the beginning of May, with Blue-winged Teal, Vaux’s Swift, Barn Swallow, Vesper and Savannah Sparrow, Cassin’s Vireo, and the first warblers due any day. Most breeding species will have arrived by the time I prepare the next installment of this summary, May 16; only our latest arrivals (Willow Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, Common Nighthawk) wait until the end of May to show up in northwest Montana.