HERE - Montana Audubon

June 5–7, 2015
Red Lion Colonial Hotel
Helena, Montana
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.
1:00 p.m. Registration
4:30 p.m. Welcome and Evening
Program, Keynote Speaker
8:30 Field Trip
5:00 a.m. Breakfast with field trip
groups and leaders, Field Trips
1:00 p.m. Speakers Vince Yanonne,
Dan Ellison, Andrea Silverman,
Scott Weidensaul
4:30 p.m. Poetry contest winners (see back page)
5:30 p.m. Banquet
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.
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
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
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
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
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
• 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
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.
SA4 / SU4 Helena Regulating
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
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.
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
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
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
longer walks
on flat to
slightly hilly
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,
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
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.
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
Non-Profit Org.
U.S. Postage
Permit #151
Great Falls MT
PO Box 595
Helena, MT 59624
June 5–7, 2015
Red Lion Colonial Hotel
Helena, Montana
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.
Register by mail:
Send completed form and check to
Montana Audubon,
PO Box 595, Helena MT 59625
Or register online at
Chapter Affiliation
field trips
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!
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 _______
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)
Full refund through April 30, 2014.
50% Refund through May 22.
NO refunds after May 22.
Saturday Night Banquet
(included in all except opt-out)
Stuffed Pork Chop
Cheddar Crusted Chicken
Black Forest Wellington
Saturday Sack Lunch
Sunday Sack Lunch
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
*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.