Last Chance Audubon Society offers birding trips lead by experienced birders to local areas around the Helena valley. Trips are free and open to members and nonmembers. Participants at any level of skill and experience are encouraged to attend. Trip leaders provide information on bird identification, natural history and conservation. Bird trips are most commonly scheduled between March and June. Trips are a half day or longer depending on the area visited and usually involve car pooling among trip participants.
Each trip participants needs to have binoculars. Bring snacks or lunch if appropriate, water, and dress for the weather. A bird identification field guide is useful. Please contact trip leaders to let them know your interest in attending their trip.
*PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL LEADERS TO MAKE RESERVATIONS. BRING BINOCULARS, SCOPE IF APPROPRIATE, FIELD GUIDE, SNACKS AND WATER. DRESS FOR THE WEATHER.
April 28, Saturday: EAST SIDE CANYON FERRY RESERVOIR
Leader – Amy Seaman Meet 8:00AM
Amy Seaman will lead a trip to the foothills area on the east side of Canyon Ferry Reservoir. Highlights will include lots of opportunities to see Long-Billed Curlews, Western Meadowlarks, Horned Larks, and hopefully Northern Harriers, American Kestrels, and possibly even Ferruginous Hawks. Raptors in general can be a real treat in
this area, and there may be some pelicans by then. The trip will also include a visit to the reservoir at the end of Lower Confederate Road. Call Amy at 406-210-9449 to reserve a spot on the trip. Meet at the Albertson’s parking lot (on 11th Avenue) at 8 a.m. Expect to return to Helena by 2 or 2:30 p.m.
May 19, Saturday – WARM SPRINGS PONDS
Leaders – Brian Shovers & Jo Lace Meet: 7:30AM
Brian Shovers and Jo Lace will lead a trip to the ponds in the Deer Lodge valley. On recent trips, they have counted 65 species. Highlights include 13 species of ducks and grebes, a Black-Crowned Night Heron, a Sora, Semiplamated Plover, 9 species of shorebirds, and a Lazuli Bunting. Contact Brian or Jo at 406-443-6640 by May 14 to reserve a spot. Meet at the west end of the Lundy Center (on Euclid) at 7:30 am and expect to return by 3:30 p.m.
June 2, Saturday – BIRDING 101 for Adults
Leader – Stephen Turner – Meet: 8 AM to 11 AM
Last Chance Audubon in cooperation with Montana WILD Education Center, is pleased to announce an adult education class for the birds! Get hands-on experience identifying birds through observation, both in the classroom and in the field. Learn about feathers and flight, bird song, migration and conservation. Best of all, start your own life list of feathered friends! Adults wishing to learn about birds through identification and natural history are welcome to this workshop. Class size will be limited to 12 participants. Everyone must register in advance to attend. There is no cost for the workshop and coffee and a snack will be provided. Binoculars will be provided for those who do not have them. All registrants should have the ability to navigate a one mile walk around Spring Meadow Lake. We will meet rain or shine; please dress for the weather. Meet at MT WILD, 2668 Broadwater. To register, contact Stephen Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ryan Schmaltz at email@example.com
June 8, Friday – BIRDING 101 for Kids
Leader – Stephen Turner – Meet: 8 AM to 11 AM
Last Chance Audubon in cooperation with Montana WILD Education Center, is pleased to announce a unique opportunity for students to learn about birds! Get hands-on experience identifying birds through observation, both in the classroom and in the field. Learn about feathers and flight, bird song, migration and conservation. Best of all, take an evening walk and start your own life list of feathered friends! Students entering grades 5-8 during the 2018-2019 school year are welcomed to this workshop. Class size will be limited to 12 participants. Students must register in advance to attend. There is no cost for the workshop. Binoculars will be provided by Montana WILD. All registrants should have the ability to navigate a one mile walk around Spring Meadow Lake. We will meet rain or shine; please dress for the weather. Meet at MT WILD, 2668 Broadwater. To register, contact Stephen Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ryan Schmaltz at email@example.com
June 8-10, 2018 – Wings Across the Big Sky Bird Festival, Kalispell MT
Come join Montana Audubon and co-host Flathead Audubon Society, for Montana Audubon’s Annual Bird Festival June 8-10, 2018, at the Kalispell Red Lion Inn in Kalispell. All festival activities will take place Friday through Sunday at the Red Lion Inn, including registration, field trip departures, guest speaker presentations, meals, banquet festivities, our 40th Anniversary barbecue, and much more. Details regarding the festival can be found at montanaaudubon/birdfestival. Register early to get your first selection of Field Trips!
June 16, 2018: RICE RIDGE BURN near Seeley Lake
Leader – Dick Hutto
Join Dick Hutto as we visit a recently (2017) burned forest, with the hopes of seeing post-burn
specialists like the Black-backed Woodpecker, American Three-toed Woodpecker, Olive-sided
Flycatcher, Western Tanager, Mountain Bluebird, Tree Swallow, and others. Trip will involve a
leisurely walk along well-maintained roads and trails. Meet at the Seeley Lake Ranger station at 8 am,
and return by 1 pm. Call Dick at 406-543-4827 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any
June 23, 2018: ROCKIN’ Z RANCH on Little Prickly Pear Creek
Leader – Coburn Currier
Coburn Currier will lead a trip to a ranch on Little Prickly Pear Creek. Meet at 6 am in the Albertson’s
(11th Avenue) parking lot. Expect to be back by noon. The owners (Zach and Patty Wirth) have
graciously permitted us to visit their ranch and view the many riparian species along this mature
cottonwood bottom forest. It should be an exciting morning. Please note that no dogs will be allowed.
Call Coburn at 449-2574 or email email@example.com to reserve a spot.
June 30, 2018: MISSOURI RIVER IN THE WOLF CREEK AREA
Leader – Dan Ellison
Dan Ellison will lead a trip to locations along the Missouri with a possible stop along lower Little
Prickly Pear Creek. In addition to species that nest in the area such as Bullock’s Orioles, Belted
Kingfishers, Yellow Warblers, and Gray Catbirds, you can expect to see other riparian species. Past
years have provided sightings of Western and Eastern Kingbirds; Song, Vesper, and Lincoln’s
Sparrows; Spotted Towhee, Cedar Waxwing, Red-naped Sapsucker, Northern Flicker, Osprey, Redtailed
Hawk, Bald Eagle, Great Blue Heron, and a variety of waterfowl. If time allows, a detour to the
Tower Rock area might provide a look at White-throated Swifts as well. Meet at the northeast corner of the Costco parking lot off Washington Street at 7 am and expect to return in early afternoon. Contact Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 442-7207 to reserve a spot.
July 8, 2018: LEWIS AND CLARK CAVERNS EVENING BIRDING
Leader – Tom Forwood
Tom Forwood will lead a 3 hour program/walk starting at 7:30 p.m. The nighthawks will be in full
swing and poorwills are vocal off and on all summer. Young owls are usually begging pretty loudly at
this time as well. Starting before dark means the group should see towhees, bluebirds, Rock Wrens and Dusky Flycatchers with little trouble. Bats could be mixed in as well if people are interested in that.
Meet at the Park’s Main Visitor Center. Group size is limited to 12, so be sure to contact Tom ahead of
time at email@example.com to reserve a spot. Keep in mind there is a campground in the Park, which is
a convenient place to stay for people who don’t want to drive home after the program.
July 14, 2018: TELEGRAPH CREEK-MINNEHAHA CREEK
Leader – Don Skaar
Don Skaar will lead a trip that takes you first to Elliston, up the Little Blackfoot and over the mountains
via Telegraph Creek. Expect to see both riparian and montane species, such as Northern Waterthrush,
Willow Flycatcher; Song, Lincoln’s and White-crowned Sparrows; Black-headed Grosbeak, Mountain
Bluebird, Cedar Waxwing, and Cassin’s Finch. Meet at the west end of the Lundy Center at 7 am and
expect to be back by 1 pm. Call Don at 465-6135 to reserve a spot.
July 28, 2018: INTRO TO DRAGONFLIES
Leader – Bob Martinka
Help Bob Martinka look for and hopefully capture – and release – a number of dragonfly and damselfly
species at the K-Mart Ponds just north of what is now the defunct K-Mart store. This has been a
reliable location for finding a dozen to twenty or so species. Meet at the K-Mart parking lot at 9:30 am.
Bring some calf -high rubber boots if you have them, but not necessary. Also, you could bring a
butterfly net if you have one, and a camera for photo opps – of bugs! We will be in the sun for most of
the time so wear sun protective hats and shirts. This session will conclude by no later than about
12:30pm. To reserve a spot, contact Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WORLD SHOREBIRDS DAY – Date TBA (Fall 2018)
Last Chance Audubon is again hosting a field trip to the south end of CANYON FERRY LAKE WMA in support of World Shorebirds Day (WSD). This year the count will take place on Saturday, September 2nd. An alternate date for inclement weather will be Sunday Sept 3rd. We will meet in Helena to carpool to the southeast end of the reservoir and will walk into the area. Shore birding is best done by spotting scope, although many birds can be identified using binoculars. Participants are asked to bring a scope if they have one. Data from the census will be submitted through eBird. Information about World Shorebirds Day is available at worldshorebirdsday.wordpress.com. To participate please email Coburn Currier email@example.com . Group size will be limited. Contact Coburn Currier at 449-2574 for inclement weather related date change.
FALL RAPTOR ID CLASS AND FIELD TRIP – Date TBA
The group will drive to the Golden Eagle Migration Survey (GEMS) site near Duck Creek Pass in the Big Belt Mountains. Carpooling is strongly recommended. High clearance and/or 4WD vehicles are also recommended. We will return by 5 pm. Birders will practice identifying raptors and assist the observers with sighting and recording raptor data. Raptors likely to be encountered: Golden Eagle, American Kestrel, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Red-tailed Hawk, and possibly Bald Eagle. Other species may include: Wild Turkey, Dusky Grouse, Red Crossbills, Clark’s Nutcrackers, Gray Jay and others. Field trip participants can choose to hike either to the main observation area (a 1.4 mile hike with a 900 vertical foot gain), or to the secondary site which is a short walk. There will be capable observers at both sites for the workshop. Dress for hiking and for the high mountain weather conditions at 8,000 ft. elevation. Bring lunch, water, snacks, day pack, binoculars, camera, and possibly a walking stick. Cost of $50/person for classroom and field trip is tax deductible. All funds raised from the workshop benefit the GEMS project. 30 person limit. Registration is required and early reservations are advised. To reserve your place register online at GEMS Raptor ID Workshop or send your $50 check, payable to LCAS to: Janice Miller, 815 11th Ave, Helena, MT 59601. For more information contact Janice Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ONGOING FIELD TRIPS
BIRDS & BEASLEYS SATURDAY MORNING BIRD WALKS – Dates to be announced – Starts soon!
Meet at Birds & Beasleys, 2 S. Last Chance Gulch at 7:30am to enjoy two hours of local bird fun. Locations rotate throughout the summer but include Spring Meadow Lake, Fairgrounds Pond, and the Cement Plant trail along Prickly Pear Creek and anywhere the group decides to go. Trips are led by staff or experienced local birders. Families and beginning birders welcome. Call 449-0904 for more information.