Tuesday, March 31, 2015

For the Birds

I subscribe to the 'rare-bird-alert' via Cornell Ornithology Lab and received one on Sunday about this goose on a nearby lake.  Monday, I had some time on my hands (housework out of the question) and the day was shaping up to be beautiful, so I decided to do a little nature walk before work.

On my way into Helena Regulating Reservoir, I passed by and heard several meadowlarks.  Of course, all over town there are crows and magpies.  On the lake are large groups of American Coots.  Funny looking little thing and they dive for their dinner.

They aren't a duck, because they don't have webbed feet.  Their feet are 'lobed'.  And to take off, they run across the water.

Also in the mix were a few American Widgeons and a Northern Shoveler.

The Widgeon is new to me this year and first spotted by Texter at the pond near us.  They have a white stripe down their face.  And the Shoveler, with it's big bill, could almost be confused at times with a mallard.

Pelicans overhead and seagulls on the ground.

A pair of Killdeer were picking their way along the shoreline.

Tons of claws on the shore and lots of little shells.  Between those and the seagulls I would almost think I was on the beach somewhere.

And this little fellow was flexing his wings (or hers).

I sat in my car and ate a bit of lunch.  I pretty much had the whole area to myself.  There was a group of horseback riders which came through.  I did restrain myself and didn't try and steal a horse and gallop off.  But it was so hard.

I started out on the far side of the lake.  After a bit of walking on the shore, I moved over to the other side of the lake.  There were my Canada geese against a lovely mountain background.  To round out the bird count, there are tons of crows and magpies all over town.  I saw a lone bluebird on my way out of the lake area and several meadowlarks.  I also heard a woodpecker, but couldn't find him in the trees.

So dragged my butt into the car (loaded down with feathers and claws, Savvy thinks I killed something) and drove off to work.  I have a great hike coming up this weekend (complete with a soak in the hot springs) and several more hikes over the next few weeks.  Hopefully, Mother Nature won't think Montana deserves a bit more winter before letting spring officially be here.

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