Field Trips

Great gray Owl by Bob Martinka

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.

*The field trip schedule for 2021 has been impacted by COVID-19.  Please watch the website for cancellation updates or contact the field trip leader for updates.

2021 Last Chance Audubon Society Field Trips and More

*PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL LEADERS TO MAKE RESERVATIONS. BRING BINOCULARS, SCOPE IF APPROPRIATE, FIELD GUIDE, SNACKS AND WATER. DRESS FOR THE WEATHER.

June 5: BIRDING 101
Leader: Stephen Turner

In cooperation with Montana WILD Education Center, LCAS is pleased to host a workshop on bird identification and natural history. The workshop is open to ages 12 and up and will run from 8:00-10:00 a.m. Due to COVID, the indoor portion of the workshop has been cancelled, and we will only be meeting for a bird walk around Spring Meadow Lake. The size of the group will also be limited to 10 people. There is no cost for the workshop. LCAS has a few pairs of binoculars for use, but if you have your own, please bring them. All participants 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 Ave. To register for this field trip, please contact Stephen Turner, turnstonest@gmail.com.

*Participants in this workshop are also invited to attend a follow-up field trip on Sunday, June 6. The field trip will be held at K-Mart Wetlands beginning at 7:00 a.m. Additional information will be provided during Saturday’s workshop.

June 5th: Canyon Ferry WMA
Leader: Bob Martinka

*Please note: This field trip is part of the Montana Audubon Wings Over the Big Sky virtual festival. Registration for this field trip must be made through Montana Audubon. Please visit Wings Over the Big Sky 2021 for more information.

The location of this trip is mostly on the east side of Canyon Ferry Wildlife Management Area just north of Townsend. We may make at least one other stop to view some grassland birds including Thick-billed (McCowan’s) Longspur. There will be some walking, no more than a mile, on level ground. Driving distance to the area will be about 40 miles each way. Typically, this tour will record about 75 bird species: waterfowl, breeding pelicans, swallows, sparrows, flycatchers, grebes, warblers, orioles, woodpeckers, and several other bird species. There will be a bathroom break stop just before we begin walking.

June 19: SEVENMILE CREEK POST-FIRE
Leader: Shane Sater

In early September 2020, most of the Sevenmile Creek stream restoration site, a few miles outside of Helena, burned in a rapidly moving grass fire. In previous summers, the grassland and riparian habitats here have provided rich habitat for a wide diversity of breeding birds. This year, however, following the fire, it is completely unknown what we may find here. This site remains closed to the public as stream restoration work is completed, so this field trip is a unique opportunity to check it out. Participants should plan to dress for bumpy terrain and any weather. Group size is limited to 10. We will meet in Helena at 6:00 a.m. and plan to be back around 12:00 p.m. To register, contact Shane Sater, shsater@gmail.com.

September 5: WORLD SHOREBIRDS DAY
Leader: Stephen Turner

World Shorebird Day 2019 Photo by Janice Miller

LCAS will again participate in World Shorebirds Day by surveying shorebirds and other bird species at Canyon Ferry WMA. Several shorebird ID experts will be on hand. The field trip will meet at the northeast end of the Costco parking lot at 7:00 a.m. Please plan to arrive a few minutes early. The trip will return from the WMA no later than 1:00 p.m. This field trip is free to current LCAS members and has limited space availability. Members are encouraged to register for the field trip as soon as possible. Non-members are also welcome. The cost of the field trip for non-members is $15, which includes a one-year membership to LCAS. To register, contact Stephen Turner at turnstonest@gmail.com. The survey requires an approximately 1.5-mile round-trip walk on dirt roads. Participants are reminded to wear sturdy foot wear and to dress for any type of weather.

ONGOING FIELD TRIPS:

BIRDS & BEASLEYS SATURDAY MORNING BIRD WALKS – CANCELED for the Season

Meet at Birds & Beasleys, 2 S. Last Chance Gulch at 7:30am each Saturday 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.