16th ANNUAL MONTANA AUDUBON BIRD FESTIVAL June 5–7, 2015 Red Lion Colonial Hotel Helena, Montana lC ae ich M an pm ha welcome The 16th Annual Wings Across the Big Sky Festival, co-hosted by Montana Audubon and the Last Chance Audubon Chapter, is shaping up to be a spectacular event. We hope you will join us in Helena, Montana on June 5–7, 2015 for dynamic birding field trips, interesting speakers and presenters, informational booths, and fun festivities as we celebrate efforts to conserve our birds and wildlife in Montana. Read this brochure for information on Festival headquarters, speakers and birding tours to help decide how to spend your fun-filled weekend in and around Helena. Special thanks to Sandy Shull & Jane Beasley of Birds & Beasleys for allowing us to use Jane’s wonderful illustrations throughout the brochure. Thank you to Michael Chapman for the cover photo, taken at the Helena Regulating Reservoir. Overview FRIDAY 1:00 p.m. Registration 4:30 p.m. Welcome and Evening Program, Keynote Speaker 8:30 Field Trip SATURDAY MORNING 5:00 a.m. Breakfast with field trip groups and leaders, Field Trips SATURDAY AFTERNOON 1:00 p.m. Speakers Vince Yanonne, Dan Ellison, Andrea Silverman, Scott Weidensaul SATURDAY EVENING 4:30 p.m. Poetry contest winners (see back page) 5:30 p.m. Banquet SUNDAY MORNING 5:00 a.m. Breakfast with field trip groups and leaders, Field Trips Festival Footprints and You Included in your registration is an opportunity to offset the impact of travelling to and from the Festival. We are again featuring Montana Audubon Center in Billings and invite you to donate toward our energy conservation efforts. 2 Festival headquarters and lodging The Red Lion Colonial Hotel is located in Helena, Montana’s State Capital. The hotel offers some of the finest convention accommodations and services the Big Sky has to offer, including newly renovated guest rooms, complimentary wireless internet, a pool, and flexible meeting and banquet space. The Colonial is located right off the I-15 Capitol exit, providing easy access. Rooms are available for $99.99 to $119.99 per night. Phone 1-406-4432100 and mention Montana Audubon to receive this rate, or use the on-line booking code MONT0604. More lodging information is available online at mtaudubon.org. The Colonial proudly supports Montana Audubon and looks forward to welcoming you in June! keynote speaker Scott Weidensaul will be speaking Friday evening as he presents interesting information on migration patterns; then on Saturday afternoon he will treat us to his study of Snowy and Saw-whet owls. Scott Weidensaul is the author of more than two dozen books on natural history, including the Pulitzer Prize finalist Living on the Wind, Return to Wild America: A Yearlong Search for the Continent’s Natural Soul; and Of a Feather: A Brief History of American Birding. His most recent book, The First Frontier:The Forgotten History of Struggle, Savagery and Endurance in Early America, was published in 2012, and he is the author of the forthcoming Peterson Reference Guide to Owls. Weidensaul is a contributing editor for Audubon Magazine and writes for a variety of other publications. He lives in the mountains of eastern Pennsylvania, where he studies the migration of hawks, owls and hummingbirds. Living on the Wind: The Miracle of Bird Migration Since the dawn of human imagination, we have been spellbound by the migration of birds, in which even the smallest species traverse immensities of space the way we cross a street. New research continually expands our understanding of where birds travel and their migratory feats. But while the populations of many migratory birds are in drastic decline, there are many things we can do to save them. Naturalist and author Scott Weidensaul explores the wonder and mechanics of migration, as well as the simple, effective ways we can preserve them—from what we plant in our gardens, pour into our morning mug of coffee, and the work that Montana Audubon is doing to protect this incredible phenomenon. field trips We are excited to offer a great variety of field trips this festival. Our first trip (FR1) is scheduled for Friday night and is dependent on the weather. Saturday trips are labeled “SA”; Sunday trips are “SU.” Trips labeled SA/SU are identical both days. All field trips are limited to 15 participants and will leave the Colonial at 6:00 a.m. unless otherwise noted. Be sure to join your breakfast table marked with your field trip number between 5 and 6 a.m. so the leader can give you pertinent information and make plans for car-pooling. Sack lunches are included both days with your registration fee, so be sure to pick those up as you leave with your group. Please bring comfortable shoes, water, rain gear, camera, and any personal needs for your trip. All Saturday trips return to the Colonial by noon, whereas some Sunday trips end outside Helena. Check individual trip descriptions for more info. FR1 Spring Meadow Lake Bat Walk SA2 / SU2 Canyon Ferry Eastside Grasslands Friday 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. This tour will depend on weather conditions, as bats are generally active only under certain conditions. We will walk around Spring Meadow State Park (on west edge of Helena) where bats are most likely to be active. Tour leader(s) will have iPads equipped with a high-quality recording microphone to capture bat vocalizations. These sounds can then be analyzed to identify the species. Several species of bats may be encountered. Walking on level paths. This tour will traverse grassland areas on the east side of Canyon Ferry Reservoir; it will also include Ponderosa Pine forest, shrublands, and pockets of aspen/cottonwood. Species expected include Long-billed Curlew, McCown’s Longspur, and a host of sparrows such as Vesper, Savannah, Lark, Clay-colored and others. Horned Lark, meadowlark, raptors, and various flycatchers are also likely. Driving between several short walks on mostly level terrain. SA1 / SU1 Little Prickly Pear Creek SA3 / SU3 Mullan Pass/ Austin Road This trip will follow Little Prickly Pear Creek north of Helena from the Canyon Creek Store downstream most of the way to the Sieben exit on I-15. The riparian area is always within view, with willows dominating at the start of the trip, giving way to cottonwoods at the end. The trip starts in irrigated farm fields and bottomlands where Bobolink, Wilson’s Snipe, Sandhill Crane and Wilson’s Phalarope may be expected. Moving into the canyon, which has shrubby and coniferous uplands, expect to see Willow and Dusky flycatchers, Spotted Towhee, Lazuli Bunting, Gray Catbird, Lark Sparrow, Bullock’s Oriole and Rock Wren. Other species which have been seen here include Veery, Greentailed Towhee, Yellow-breasted Chat, Pileated and Lewis’s woodpeckers. At the lower end of the trip there is a wonderful aspen grove where Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Flicker, Rednaped Sapsucker, Least Flycatcher and House Wren may be seen. Light walking on gravel road. This trip begins along the willow-choked valley bottom of Seven-mile Creek, and then proceeds past aspen groves to coniferous woods along the Continental Divide. Dropping down the west side you will experience the beautiful high-mountain grasslands at the head of Dog Creek. Starting up Sevenmile, expect to see loads of Catbirds, Willow Flycatchers and Northern Waterthrushes, along with Ruby-Crowned Kinglets, Veerys, American Redstarts, Lazuli Buntings, Evening Grosbeaks and Western Tanagers. Up in the conifers we might see Blue Grouse, Swainson’s and Hermit thrushes, Cassin’s Finch, Pine Siskin and Red Crossbill. The meadows along Dog Creek often harbor Sandhill Cranes, White-crowned Sparrows, Lincoln’s Sparrows and Ruffed Grouse— not to mention elk herds! Short walks along gravel roads. Walks may include some uphill stretches. Saturday afternoon presentations Leading off Saturday activities will be Vince Yannone. Dubbed, “Mr Wildlife” by the Great Falls Tribune and a “Local Hero” by the Helena Independent Record, Vince Yannone was committed to conserving wildlife for over 25 years as a MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks biologist. During that time he provided rehabilitation for countless injured and orphaned wild animals, helped to establish Project WILD, and traveled extensively to bring wildlife programs to educators, landowners, ranchers and many other audiences. Through his enthusiasm and humor, Vince became the face of fish and wildlife education and conservation across Montana. He is also one of the founding members and first president of Last Chance Audubon Society in 1971. Then choose from two sessions: • Dan Ellison, Small falcon magic in Helena Dan will show spectacular photos of Merlins and kestrels while describing their nesting behavior in the urban environment. Dan’s presentation will also feature a live Merlin and American Kestrel, brought to the festival by volunteers from the Montana Wildlife Center. • Prickly Pear Land Trust Andrea Silverman, Land Protection Coordinator will present an overview of Prickly Pear Land Trust’s mission and programs. She will discuss PPLT’s efforts to protect open space, agricultural lands, and habitat in the Helena Valley and throughout its four-county service area, as well as how the land trust’s work complements that of Montana Audubon. Closing out Saturday afternoon will be Scott Weidensaul sharing his observations on Snowy and Saw-whet owls. (See page 2.) Montana Wild will have raptors available for viewing during the afternoon during Dan Ellison’s presentation. Restrooms Available Mostly Driving Family Friendly 3 SA4 / SU4 Helena Regulating Reservoir SA7 / SU7 Little Blackfoot and Minnehaha Creeks This trip will take you to the Regulating Reservoir Fishing Access Site. We will hike along the shore through wet meadows and dry uplands, following the ribbon of mature cottonwoods around the reservoir. Expect to see Wilson’s Snipe, Western and Red-necked grebes, Double-crested Cormorant (including a rookery), Spotted Sandpiper, White Pelican and Great-blue Heron on or near the water. Least Flycatcher, Bullock’s Oriole, House Wren, and Western Wood-pewee can be expected in the cottonwoods, while Savannah and Vesper sparrows along with meadowlarks will be aplenty in the grassy areas. Moderate exertion along trails or through grassy areas without trails, about two miles hiking. Bring bug spray as the mosquitoes will be out! This trip will begin along the Little Blackfoot River near Elliston, proceed up Telegraph Creek over the Continental Divide and down into Minnehaha Creek. Extensive willow bottomlands mark the start of the trip, giving way to irrigated pastures, aspen stands and various coniferous forest types. Expect to see Willow, Dusky and Hammond’s flycatchers; Northern Waterthrush; Song, Lincoln’s, White-crowned, and Chipping sparrows; Wilson’s, Orange-crowned and MacGillivray’s warblers are possible, as is Cassin’s Vireo and Steller’s Jay. Atop the divide we will look for Clark’s Nutcrackers, Dark-eyed Juncos, and Mountain Bluebirds. With luck we will see expansive fields of beargrass in full bloom! Short walks along gravel or dirt roads, mostly on flat terrain. SA5 / SU5 Canyon Ferry WMA SA8 / SU8 Basin Creek This trip will explore mostly riparian and pondtype habitats adjacent to the Missouri River, and impoundments within Canyon Ferry Wildlife Management Area. It includes grassland, shrublands, agriculture, and cottonwood bottomlands. Pond areas harbor large breeding colonies of White Pelicans and several gull species. Caspian Terns may also be seen in one area, and Sandhill Cranes are common throughout. Many waterfowl species can be observed, along with grassland sparrows, swallows, orioles, and many marsh birds and other common riparian and water-associated species. Driving between shorts walks on mostly level terrain. Will return about noon both days. SA6 / SU6 Helena North Hills Departure time: 8 a.m. This trip will explore the ponderosa pine forests-grasslands interface along the northern end of Helena Valley. We will likely see Vesper and Savannah sparrows, Mountain Bluebird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Common Raven, Horned Lark and maybe Long-billed Curlew. In the pines we should find Yellow-rumped Warbler, chickadees, and possibly all three nuthatch species (Red-breasted, White-breasted, and Pygmy); also expect to see Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Townsend’s Solitaire, and Cedar Waxwing. Mostly driving, with frequent stops and short walks along gravel roads. This late start and easy terrain make for a family-friendly trip. 4 This trip begins at the Bernice Exit along I-15 south of Basin, Montana. It follows Basin Creek from its confluence with Bison Creek and proceeds to near its headwaters along a generally good gravel road. Expansive willow bottoms rimmed with ponderosa pine meadows and sagebrush uplands round out the vegetation. At the upper end near the campground the forest is dominated by lodgepole pine and douglas-fir. Sparrows abound; at the start expect to see Chipping and Lincoln’s sparrows, along with Vesper and Song sparrows as we head upstream. At the upper end White-crowned Sparrows are likely. We will also be looking for Common Yellowthroat, Yellow and Yellow-rumped warblers, Northern Waterthrush, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Gray Catbird, and American Goldfinch. Minor exertion; walking along mostly flat gravel roads, but occasionally through grass and sagebrush adjacent to riparian area. SA9 / SU9 Grizzly Gulch to Lump Gulch Trip starts on the outskirts of Helena along Grizzly Gulch, which is characterized by dry shrubby hillsides at the edge of town. We will then proceed through willows and aspens and into conifer woods, before descending down Lump Gulch and Cottonwood bottoms into Clancy. On the start of the trip expect to see Rock Wrens, Spotted Towhees, Green-tailed Towhees, Lazuli Buntings, Warbling Vireos, Cedar Waxwings and Black-headed Grosbeaks. Farther up into the pine forests we will have a good chance to see Lincoln’s and White-crowned Sparrows; MacGillivray’s, Yellow, Yellow-rumped, Orange-crowned and Wilson’s warblers; Evening Grosbeaks, Cassin’s Vireos, and Rufous Hummingbirds. Cordilleran Flycatchers are often seen along this route as well. Moderate walking along gravel roads, with some walking in fields and forest groves. SA10 / SU10 Spring Meadow Lake and Fairgrounds Ponds Departure time 9 a.m. This family friendly trip on the outskirts of Helena will appeal to small children and adults alike. At Spring Meadow State Park a graveled trail circles the lake for roughly ½ mile and passes through cottonwoods, grassy areas and brushy thickets. At the Fairground Ponds (5-minute drive from the Park) shrubby and marshy areas surround cottonwood stands. Expect to see Mallard, Canada Goose and hopefully the beautiful Wood Duck on the water, along with Ring-billed Gulls. In the trees we might see Bullock’s Orioles, Western Wood-pewees and Warbling Vireos. With luck we might see a Clay-colored Sparrow. Other birds to expect are Cedar Waxwings, Red-winged Blackbirds and Eastern Kingbirds. This is a great trip to see a variety of common (and a few not so common) birds up close. Expect leisurely walking along a flat improved trail at Spring Meadow, but unimproved trails at the Fairgrounds. SA11 / SU11 Elkhorn Mountains/ McClelland Creek This tour will explore along McClelland Creek and the northern portion of the Elkhorn Mountains. It will entail driving plus short walks along roads and trails. Habitat will be mostly coniferous, with some grassland and agriculture toward the end of the tour. Birds likely to be encountered include: 3 nuthatch species, several flycatcher species, including Olive-sided Flycatcher, Red Crossbill, junco, Clark’s Nutcracker, up to 5+ species of woodpeckers/ sapsuckers, Pine Siskin, various raptor species, and many more. Mostly driving, with some short walks along roads/trails in mountainous habitats. SA12 / SU12 Lake Helena Southwest This will be a walking tour through pastures, wetlands, and riparian/willow habitats southwest of Lake Helena. Species likely to be seen include: Bobolink, Yellow-headed and Red-winged blackbirds, Marsh Wren, Great-horned Owl, several waterfowl species, Sandhill Crane, Savannah and Vesper sparrows, Wilson’s Snipe, Red-tailed Hawk, Bald Eagle, Sora, Eastern Kingbird, Yellow Warbler, and many others. Walking along a two-track road with some possible off road jaunts –about 2+ miles roundtrip. SA13 / SU13 Missouri River Canoe Float This canoe trip will be on the Missouri River below Holter Dam. This section of the Missouri is a calm, scenic stretch with no whitewater areas. Habitat is mostly riparian and agricultural, with shrubby shorelines, rock formations, and a few conifers in the upper reaches. Birds likely to be observed include Common Merganser, Canada Goose (with broods), Bald Eagle, Osprey, Spotted Sandpiper, Eastern and Western kingbird, Rufous-sided Towhee, White Pelican, and many other species. ALL PARTICIPANTS MUST PROVIDE THEIR OWN CANOES. Physical activity includes launching and reloading canoes plus paddling. Participants may head home at conclusion of Sunday float trip. SA14 Elkhorns / Casey Meadows This tour will be primarily hiking into a beautiful mountain meadow in the northern Elkhorn Mountains, with views of many mountain conifer-associated bird species such as Dusky Grouse, Gray and Steller’s jays, Clark’s Nutcracker, several woodpecker species including American Three-toed Woodpecker and Williamson’s Sapsucker, Townsend’s Warbler, Swainson’s and Hermit thrushes, and Olivesided and other flycatcher species. Moderate walk on mountain trail with perhaps 500-foot elevation gain and 3–4 mile roundtrip. If there is interest, an option to walk to Casey Peak will be offered. This will include over a 1,000-foot elevation gain and longer walk.Those not interested in Casey Peak may return to vehicles for return to festival. SA15 Black Sandy / Hauser Dam This tour will explore the Hauser Lake and dam areas. Habitats will include lake and river types, scattered conifers, and rocky canyon slopes. Birds likely to be encountered: 3 species of Nuthatches, Canyon Wren (a specialty of this area), possibly a nesting Bald Eagle pair, White-throated Swift, several swallow species, American Dipper, Belted Kingfisher, Common Merganser, Clark’s Nutcracker, and many other conifer-associated species. Driving between short walks, plus a longer walk of perhaps one mile across Hauser Dam and along a rocky trail with some ups and downs. SA16 Tenmile Creek Environmental Trail Departure time: 8 a.m. The short hike along the Environmental Trail is through mature Douglasfir and lodgepole pine forests, with small aspen groves mixed. We may see Yellow-rumped Warblers, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Mountain Chickadees, Common Ravens, Red-naped Sapsuckers, Cassin’s Finches, and Hammond’s Flycatchers. With luck we might also see Cassin’s Vireos and Pileated Woodpeckers. The second hike is along the old railroad grade at the nearby Forest Service Campground through aspens and willows; we will look for MacGillivray’s Warblers, Willow and Dusky flycatchers, Goldfinches, and Northern waterthrushes. The 1.1 mile Environmental Trail hiking loop is suitable for families, but probably not young children, because some portions of the trail are steep. The walk along the railroad grade is about 0.5 miles and flat. SA17 Helena Area Nature Photography Meet at 8 a.m. at the Colonial. Learn from a veteran wildlife and landscape photographer how to take better photos, including photos of birds. Also included will be how to get the best performance from your camera and what to look for when buying a new camera. Selection of tripods will also be discussed, technical issues such as manual vs. fully automatic modes, choices of software for photo management, and general photo composition and exposure issues. Meet at the Colonial at 8 a.m. for a discussion session prior to the field trip. At 9 a.m. the group will depart for the fairgrounds, primarily to photograph waterbirds. Participants are welcome to bring their own equipment, but this is not a pre-requisite for attending. SA18 Historic Helena Tour (non-birding tour) 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Historian Ellen Baumler will guide you through Helena’s colorful history, from mining camps to becoming the state capital in the town that gold built. You will hear stories of the Pioneer Cabin and quaint Reeder’s Alley, see the famous Guardian of the Gulch, the magnificent St. Helena Cathedral, and Montana’s only standing territorial capitol building. We’ll take a leisurely drive through Helena’s beautiful West Side, where wealthy miners, stockmen, and bankers spent their fortunes on fabulous homes. View historic Last Chance Gulch, the far-famed Montana Club, the original Governor’s Mansion, the former temple Emanu-El, and much more. If time allows we might even visit a historic cemetery! SA19 Tour of Archie Bray Foundation for Ceramic Arts (non-birding tour) 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tour the Archie Bray Foundation for Ceramic Arts with Chip Clawson, who has been involved with the Bray for 37 years. In 1951 Archie Bray Jr. transformed the Western Clay Brickyard into a world-class pottery center with the assistance of Montana ceramic artists, Rudy Autio and Peter Voulkos. The tour will include visiting galleries, studios, grounds, kilns and commercial clay-making facilities. Topics of discussion will include the history of the Bray and its historic brickyard, and the mission and functioning of the Bray. Please wear comfortable walking shoes. SU14 Big Belts / Cave and Avalanche Gulches This will be primarily a hiking tour, but diverse bird communities will be encountered. We will traverse several scenic, rocky canyons on the west side of the Big Belt Mountains. Likely species include Rock and Canyon wrens, Western Tanager, several flycatcher species, White-throated Swift, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Warbling Vireo, and other mountain coniferassociated species. Mostly walking along rocky, mountainous roads, with slight inclines. Roundtrip distance covered perhaps 2–3 miles. SU15 Beartooth WMA This tour will explore one of the more scenic areas in the northern foothills of the Big Belt Mountains. It is an elk winter range with open, grassy hillsides, scattered conifers, heavy northslope conifer cover, and excellent cottonwood and willow riparian areas. A number of warbler species, including American Redstart, Yellowbreasted Chat, Orange-crowned and Yellowrumped warblers are likely. Orioles, Lazuli Buntings, wrens, Mountain Bluebirds, several woodpecker species, Warbling Vireo, many sparrow species, Ruffed Grouse, and raptors should all be found in this great birding area. Driving between short and somewhat longer walks on flat to slightly hilly ground. Kestrel 5 SU16 Warm Springs Ponds SU18 Stemple Pass to Lincoln This tour will traverse areas of riparian, wetland, and lake/stream habitats in the Deer Lodge Valley. The focus will be on lake, marsh and riparian habitats. Bird species will include a dozen or more waterfowl species, 3+ grebe species, Black-crowned Night-heron, Great Blue Heron, Wilson’s Snipe, Wilson’s Phalarope, Osprey, Bald Eagle (nesting), Marsh Wrens, Willow Flycatchers, numerous sparrow species, and many more. Driving between short walks on mostly level ground. Participants may head home following the trip. SU17 Blackfoot Native Plants, Potomac Departure Time: 8 a.m. The mission of Blackfoot Native Plants is to promote the preservation and utilization of native plants. Their focus is on species native to Montana and the Rocky Mountain West. The plants they propagate are indigenous to our local environment and thrive in the areas west of the Rocky Mountains. This field trip will include a tour of over 150 species of containerized native plants from western Montana, including hardy native grasses, shrubs and wildflowers. They hand-collect seed to ensure genetic diversity, and grow totally out-ofdoors so you’ll have the hardiest plants available. They are shifting their species selection toward pollinator-friendly and xeric plants, but still have a good selection of shade and water-loving species as well. Many of their plants are birdfriendly, and there will be a diverse selection available for purchase. Walking short distances from parking lot through facility (accessible to all ages). Departure time: 8 a.m. from Helena, arriving for tour at nursery by 10 a.m. Participants travel on their own to the nursery. Best route from Helena is to Avon, north to Highway 200, west past Clearwater Junction to Potomac and south to 33397 Camas Trail. Trip begins and ends at nursery, approximately at noon. This trip will follow Highway 279 toward Flesher Pass, turning off onto Stemple Pass Road, proceeding up Virginia Creek and over the Continental Divide, and then into Lincoln. Willows along Canyon Creek give way to cottonwoods and aspens along Virginia Creek, and eventually into conifer forests near the pass. Coming down Poorman Creek into Lincoln we will go through cottonwoods and ponderosa pine forests, then breaking into grasslands. Expect to see Willow, Dusky and Hammond’s flycatchers, as well as Yellow, Yellow-rumped, and MacGillivray’s warblers. In the grassy areas we may see Northern Harriers and Long-billed Curlews, along with Song and Lincoln’s sparrows. In the conifers expect to see Western Tanagers, Warbling Vireos, Cassin’s Finches, Ruby-Crowned Kinglets, Dark-eyed Juncos as well as Swainson’s and Hermit thrushes. The brushy hillsides will harbor Lazuli Buntings, Spotted Towhees and Vesper Sparrows, and with luck we could spot a Pileated Woodpecker or Cassin’s Vireo. Mostly driving with stops to walk along gravel roads on flat or slightly inclined surfaces. Trip will end in Lincoln no later than noon. SU19 Loons in the Clearwater River Chain of Lakes Departure: 6 a.m. from Helena; 7:30 at Clearwater Junction. This trip will begin at the Clearwater Junction (MT 200 and US 83) Rest Area. The group will then travel to Salmon Lake for a discussion about human-related impacts to nesting loons. Next stop will be the Seeley Lake Ranger Station and a walk along the Clearwater Canoe Trail to the viewing blind. In early June loons may be visible if they are still nesting. Then the tour travels north to Summit Lake, followed by stops at various lakes on the return trip to the ranger station. Aside from guaranteed views of loon families, another highlight is a heron rookery at Inez Lake. Expect the opportunity to see many other birds of the mature coniferous forests, including Pileated Woodpecker, Steller’s Jay, Townsend’s and Yellow-rumped warblers, Fox and Song sparrows, Northern Waterthrush, and Willow and Hammond’s flycatchers. Up to one mile of hiking along roads or improved trails. Trip ends at noon at the Seeley Lake Ranger Station. SU20 Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park Departure: 6 a.m. from Helena, 7:30 at the Park entrance, located along the Jefferson River about 1¼ hours south of Helena. Mountain Chickadee 6 Habitat includes limestone cliffs, Great Basin scrub, Douglas-fir and Rocky Mountain Juniper forests. Species we might see along the cliff/water interface include White-throated Swift, Rock Wren, Canyon Wren and Peregrine Falcon. Cassin’s Vireo, Hermit Thrush, Lark Sparrow and Green-tailed Towhee are also specialties of the area. Common Mergansers are often seen on the Jefferson River, and Yellowbreasted Chats can be found in the riparian thickets. Expect moderate hiking, possibly two miles over uneven trails, with vertical gain in the hundreds of feet.This landscape is typically hot and dry, so be sure to bring plenty of water and sturdy footwear! Trip will end at noon at the Park entrance. SU21 Blackfoot Valley / Browns Lake This tour will be one of several that will travel west of the Continental Divide. It will traverse a variety of habitats, but will focus on riparian forest along the Blackfoot River, wetland/water habitats at Brown’s Lake, and shrub/grasslands in the Blackfoot Valley. Species likely to be encountered include: Western, Red-necked, and possibly Clark’s grebes, many waterfowl species, several flycatchers, many sparrow species, including Clay-colored and Brewer’s, Bullock’s Oriole, Bald Eagle and other raptors, Common Yellowthroat, Eastern Kingbird, and if the weather is cloudy & cool, Vaux’s Swift. Driving between several short walks, mostly on level terrain. Participants may head home at the conclusion of the tour. SU22 Headwaters State Park and Old Town Road Departure: 6 a.m. from Helena, 7:30 a.m. at Headwaters Park. The state park is located at the confluence of the Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin rivers, an hour drive south of Helena. The riparian forests here are rich with mature cottonwood galleries, surrounded by sagebrush, buffaloberry, and grasslands. Within these habitats we will look for Least Flycatcher, Eastern and Western kingbirds, Bullock’s Oriole, Black-headed Grosbeak and Red-tailed Hawk. Along the scenic cliffs that line the Missouri River expect to find White-throated Swift, Rock and Canyon wrens, Turkey Vulture, Osprey and maybe a nesting Peregrine and Prairie falcons. In the river we might find White Pelicans, Doublecrested Cormorants and Common Mergansers. Along Old Town Road we will search for Sage Thrashers, Western Wood-pewees and Brewer’s Sparrows. Mostly driving, with short stops and some walking along uneven terrain, on gravel roads, improved and unimproved trails. Total walking will not exceed a half-mile. Thank you to our supporters helenamt.com 7 Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PA ID Permit #151 Great Falls MT PO Box 595 Helena, MT 59624 16TH ANNUAL WINGS ACROSS THE BIG SKY FESTIVAL June 5–7, 2015 Red Lion Colonial Hotel Helena, Montana Mountain Bluebird poetry contest A limerick’s not too hard to write If you keep the rhyme sequence in sight; Just let your mind go. The ideas will flow. So you don’t want to try it? You might. This year, in lieu of a bird song competition, Last Chance Audubon Society is sponsoring a Poetry Contest. They are asking for bird and birding themed limericks and haiku. Please submit up to two of each. Haiku is traditionally a 17-syllable poem arranged in 5 – 7 – 5 syllable lines without rhyme. Limericks are five lines with rhyming as illustrated above. Prizes will be awarded. Be sure to keep a copy for yourself and submit your entries to: Jo Lace 210 S California St Helena MT 59601 Or email to Janice and Jo at [email protected] NO LATER than May 1, 2015. registration Register by mail: Send completed form and check to Montana Audubon, PO Box 595, Helena MT 59625 Name(s) Address City Or register online at mtaudubon.org State Phone Zip Email Chapter Affiliation field trips Friday FR1 One trip only Trip # ______ # of persons _______ Indicate number of persons interested in the Friday night field trip, then list your top three field trip choices for Saturday and Sunday and include the number of persons on each trip. Trips are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Please register early! Saturday Choice 1: Trip # ______ # of persons _______ Choice 2: Trip # ______ # of persons _______ Choice 3: Trip # ______ # of persons _______ Choice 1: Trip # ______ # of persons _______ Choice 2: Trip # ______ # of persons _______ Choice 3: Trip # ______ # of persons _______ meals Full Festival includes Friday evening hors d’oeuvres, Saturday & Sunday breakfasts & sack lunches, Saturday noon snacks, and Saturday banquet. (Please indicate number for each choice) payments REFUND POLICY: Full refund through April 30, 2014. 50% Refund through May 22. NO refunds after May 22. Sunday Saturday Night Banquet (included in all except opt-out) Stuffed Pork Chop #_______ Cheddar Crusted Chicken #_______ Black Forest Wellington #_______ Saturday Sack Lunch Sunday Sack Lunch Turkey #_______ Turkey #_______ Ham #_______ Ham #_______ Veggie #_______ Veggie #_______ $ Full Festival Early Bird Rate $145/person (After 5/22 - $160) $ Banquet Opt-Out Rate $135/person (After 5/22 - $150) $ Young Adults 18 & under $30 for meals $ Bucket Raffle $10 each or 6/$50* $ Donation to Energy Conservation at the Center ($10 minimum) $ Additional Donation $ Total Enclosed Western Meadowlark *Raffle tickets have been mailed to in-state addresses only. You may mail your tickets and check to Montana Audubon as listed above. Federal law prohibits purchase of raffle tickets with a credit card, so you may not purchase raffle tickets with an on-line registration. Raffle tickets will be available for purchase at all times during the Festival.
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