Monday, August 4, 2014

Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge–Stephenville, MT

This is a short story on a bird trip up the highway from where we were staying. It is near the town of Stephenville, MT.

Not a huge National Wildlife Refuge but has some interesting residents. It has a river running through it, some ponding areas, lots of large trees and many many mosquitos!

The most numerous bird was the American Robin. This was seconded by the Western Wood Pewee.

We saw two Great Horned Owls. Both look quite different based on where they were sitting and the sun was spotting them or not.

Our first Great Horned Owl appears to be a young bird. Note the fluffy feathers, it is very light colored, on the ground and the feathers have not reached the adult plumage coloring. A very nice bird. One of the pics shows a side view and you might think it was a Bob Cat sunning itself as it has the right coloring and ear tufts.

This appears to be an adult Great Horned Owl.. A real beauty. Male and female look a lot alike. There are many variations in size and coloring depending on where they reside. The GHO lives year round throughout the North America. Primary food is skunk, rabbits, your kitty if it is out prowling as well as small dogs out after dark or early morning. Basically anything small unprotected that has meat on it an owl will attempt to take.

The Western Wood Pewees were calling but we did not see young.

We saw and heard Cedar Waxwings. Now try as I may and knowing those birds on their winter territory, I am amazed that they fly-catch. Yes! Fly-catch. Amazing to me! Tried to catch the Chickadees but they were too quick as were the White Breasted Nuthatches. As you see, ‘what bird? where?’ Oh, the oriole on the left. Let's see if we can get her closer up.

Female Bullocks or a young? Your guess is as good as mine!

There were ducks in the ponds, but I passed on photos. We also had a calling Osprey. He was having no luck fishing that morning. Spotted Sandpiper was on the river and some other small peeps that flew past too quickly for me. Near the entry were some sparrows one of which looked, sounded and acted like a Song Sparrow. However, remember, I normally see these birds in winter plumage and acting like nothing’s happen. During the summer they are dressed up, singing, primping, feeding young and just not acting like the birds that I know. I should have been traveling north in the Spring/Summer a long time ago. Of course, some sparrows and peeps are hard to ID for me anyway.

Caught this butterfly.

All in all a nice NWR.

1 comment:

  1. Great owl pics.....the longdogs would not be out after dark!