Rare and Notables – May-August 2023

Spring migrants were generally late and in low overall abundance. An abnormally hot dry summer still provided a few surprises, with the first local record of a Red-headed Woodpecker near Kalispell, the seventh local record of a Yellow-breasted Chat (in Somers), an intriguing summer sighting of a Broad-winged Hawk in Glacier NP, and a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak potentially paired with a Black-headed Grosbeak west of Elmo. The first southbound shorebirds arrived in mid-June, with diverse species present at key wetlands by mid-August.

See also: https://ebird.org/region/US-MT-029?yr=all

  • 04/16 – Cacking Goose (1) West Valley (Leslie K.)
  • 04/23 – Eurasian Wigeon (1) West Valley (Shannon D.) Late date
  • 05/04 – Loggerhead Shrike (1) Lower Brown’s Meadow Rd (Craig H.)
  • 05/13 – Willet (6) Egan Slough Rd (Grant P.)
  • 05/29 – Red-breasted Merganser (1) Dry Bridge Park, Kalispell (Darcy T.)
  • 06/06 – White-faced Ibis (1) West Valley (Grant P.)
  • 06/14 – Red-headed Woodpecker (1) Rose Crossing area (Markus and Erin B.)
  • 06/19 – Rose-breasted Grosbeak (1) Cromwell Cr. Rd (bj W.)
  • 06/27 – Yellow-breasted Chat (1) Somers Beach State Park (Dan C.) 
  • 07/18 – Broad-winged Hawk (1) Upper MacDonald Cr, Glacier NP (Jake B.)
  • 07/19 – Grasshopper Sparrow (1) Lost Trail NWR area (Josh W.)
  • 07/20 – American White Pelican (1) Creston wetland (Craig H.)
  • 07/26 – Long-billed Curlew (1) Egan Slough Rd (Craig H.)
  • 08/15 – Stilt Sandpiper (5) West Valley (Jake B.)

What to Expect – September 2023

Fall migration is in full gear during September. Watch for large mixed sparrow flocks (Savannah, Vesper, Chipping, Song, White-crowned) on the roadsides and windrows. Migrant hawks can be seen throughout the valley as well as on the mountain ridges; American Kestrels, Red-tailed Hawks, Northern Harriers and Turkey Vultures are most common in the valley.  Shorebird migration, which began in June (!), continues, with Pectoral Sandpipers, Long-billed Dowitchers and American Golden-Plovers among the ones to watch for late in the season. Some of the first winter visitors (e.g. Rough-legged Hawk, Bohemian Waxwing) may arrive by the end of the month.