by Joshua Covill

Rare and Notables – October 2019

10/4 – Harris’s Sparrow along Riverside Road in Creston (Craig H.)

10/4 – Boreal Chickadee in flock of other chickadees near Upper Whitefish Lake (Joshua C.)

10/8 – 2 Surf Scoters on Lake McDonald in Glacier NP – seen from road and from Apgar (Matthew S.)

10/8 – 2 Mew Gulls roosting on the docks of the Lakeside Marina with other gulls (Matthew S.)

10/5-10/8 – small flocks of Lapland Longspurs in Lower Valley & West Valley (Joshua C. & Matthew S.)

10/13 – Pacific Loon seen from Wayfarers State Park (Rob W.)

10/15 – Swamp Sparrow in West Valley, along the close edge of the pond on Clark Drive (Joshua C.)

What to Expect – November 2019

November is the peak time to look for Scoters in the bays of larger lakes, like Foy’s, Flathead, Lake Mary Ronan, and Lake McDonald (Surf Scoter is the most likely). Pacific Loons become a possibility on Flathead Lake. Bring a spotting scope! 

The Lower Valley and West Valley areas are good places to drive around and look for late migrants and winter arrivals (Lapland Longspur, Snow Bunting, Northern Shrike, Prairie and Gyrfalcon). The West Valley ponds area can be exceptionally good leading a cold front or blizzard from the north, with flocks of Snow Buntings lining the road! Check brushy fields, hedgerows, and active bird feeders for White-throated and Harris’s Sparrows. Lakeside, Somers Bay, and the North Shore are gull magnets; check for the cute Mew Gull or large white Glaucous Gull and darker Lesser Black-backed Gull. Winter Finches descend into the valleys and Bohemian Waxwings arrive in force. Anna’s Hummingbirds regularly wander into western Montana in the fall. Maintaining a hummingbird feeder through November may reward you with a West Coast surprise!

Check out our Birding Hotspots page for local hotspots to find the birds above.