by Dan Casey

Rare and Notables – Spring-summer

May-August 2022 was characterized by much drier weather throughout, and near record temperatures late in the period. Some avian highlights included a long-staying Cattle Egret near Lakeside, two adult Sabine’s Gulls at Somers, 2 Long-tailed Ducks, and a Sage Thrasher near Whitefish. Boreal Chickadees were reported more frequently than normal in Glacier and Flathead National Forest, primarily by listers specifically seeking the species. Feral Whooper Swans (up to three) were seen throughout the north valley from April through June.

  • 5/03 – Cattle Egret (1) Mission View Terrace, Lakeside (Dan C.) seen by many through 5/16
  • 5/04 – Common Redpoll (15, late) Truman Saddle trail (Joshua C.) 
  • 5/10 – Lark Sparrow (1) Herron Park (JRK) Away from south county are where more regular
  • 5/23 – Bonaparte’s Gull (53) Somers Beach SP, with 13 (late) Red-breasted Mergansers (Dan C.)
  • 5/26 – Sabine’s Gull (2) Somers Beach State Park (Dan C.) Very rare in spring.
  • 5/26 – Sage Thrasher (1, photo) Whitefish area ranch (Beth V.)
  • 5/27 – Snow Goose (1) North of Lake Blaine (late) (Jake B.); also at Bigfork, 7/17 (Leslie K.)
  • 5/29 – Long-tailed Duck (1f) Wayfarer’s SP (Allison R.); 1m at Somers, 7/11-7/16 (many obs.)
  • 5/29 – Rose-breasted Grosbeak (1) Owen Sowerwine Natural Area (Christian B.)
  • 6/04 – Baltimore Oriole (1) Creston (Craig H.)
  • 6/14 – Black Swift (29) Over Breezy Point, Somers (Dan C.)
  • 6/22 – White-throated Sparrow (1 singing) Bowdish Road (Scott P.) (not known to breed here)
  • 7/27 – Boreal Owl (2) Jewel Basin Road (William H.)
  • 7/28 – Ferruginous Hawk (1 imm) Farm Rd, Somers (Dan C.)

What to Expect – September 2022

Late August through September offers perhaps the greatest diversity of southbound migrants through the Flathead Valley. The last swallows and hummingbirds are about to leave, shorebird migration is in full swing, and the first cold fronts of fall bring in raptors and flocks of sparrows. This is a time to look for rare migrants, such as Buff-breasted Sandpiper, jaegers, Broad-winged Hawks, and Sabine’s Gulls. And be sure to check out the growing flock of Sandhill Cranes in the West Valley!