[Tweeters] Great Basin roadtrip 8/11-20: OB Nightingale-Thrush in South Dakota, Black Rosy Finch MT

Scott Atkinson scottratkinson at hotmail.com
Sat Aug 21 13:37:32 PDT 2010


First want to thank the many of you who responded to my original RFI post on BLACK ROSY FINCH. Two birds were
easily located near Beartooth Pass in extreme southern MT on 8/16. Birds were
few along this spectacularly scenic route, but five DUSKY GROUSE allowed easy photos a mile or so prior. Wildflowers
were incredible in this section, and a WHITE-TAILED PRAIRIE-DOG was a surprise near an alpine lake. The boys
managed several trout caught here, including E. BROOK and (European) BROWNS in Yellowstone NP.

Another bonus of this family vacation road-trip was the ORANGE-BILLED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH that has been
loyal to the Spearfish Creek-Iron Creek confluence just south of Spearfish, SD for over a month. Nine of
us were looking early on August 18th. The bird sang just once near dawn, but was heard calling also later,
and allowed fleeting views for several of us. Felt lucky to be there: had planned to do Mt. Rushmore and
just for kicks checked the South Dakota birdingonthe.net site just before leaving home. As it happens, this
great bird (just 3rd for N. America apparently) had been present for weeks. Migrant passerines were already
in evidence here, and two PACIFIC WRENS were heard, puzzling given range maps showing them not supposedly
present. Was happy to find TENNESSEE WARBLER and VEERY here, too.

Yellowstone NP had the usual birds but was happy to find both four GREEN-TAILED TOWHEES and a PLUMBEOUS
VIREO near Mammoth (north entrance). WIldflowers and mammals, along with other attractions, were
more notable: we had an unexpectedly (but safely) close encounter with a young adult GRIZZLY, son Odin
spotted a BLACK BEAR, and my wife spotted a RED FOX on the road at dusk. BISON and ELK were abundant as
expected, the BISON often reluctantly yielding to vehicles along Lamar Valley. We did miss GRAY WOLF although
one was heard. Of wildflowers, four GENTIANS (Gentiana) were memorable.

For the road trip as a whole, found 160 bird species, including some highlights from our state, to be posted separately.

Scott Atkinson
Lake Stevens, WA
mail to: scottratkinson at hotmail.com

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