Saturday, July 15, 2017

Wildlife Refuges - Montana to Minnesota

Our first stop north of Livingston was Freezeout Lake National Wildlife Refuge.  We had a very nice auto tour route and found free camping on the site so stayed the night.  Abundant Am. White Pelicans, and many ducks and grebes, Marbled Godwits, Am. Avocets, Wilson's Phalaropes, and Am. Bittern.  Hot day, 95, but cooled off for a good night of sleep.

American Avocet

Franklin's Gull

Blue Damselflies 


Sunset over Freezeout Lake

We drove to the northeastern part of Montana enjoying many hawks along the route including this Swainson's Hawk.  We found an RV park in Malta for the night.

You never know what you might see.  Like a moose quickly walking across a cut off field.  Unlikely place, but fun to see, wonder where she was going?

Cliff Swallows on nests

 Next morning we drove the 15 mile auto tour of Bowdoin NWR.  Great Place to see Sharp-tailed Grouse.

Sharp-tailed Grouse poses for close-up

Short-eared Owl up past his bedtime

When we returned, we saw our inner duel tire was flat (good thing there's two).  Couldn't get it fixed until next morning, so relaxed the day in the air conditioning at the RV Park.  It was 104 degrees.  Only bad thing was 2 days of trains roaring close by.
Still downy baby Am. Avocet

Wilson's Phalarope

Orchard Oriole

Common Nighthawk sleeps at the RV Park

After a quick tire repair, we drove on to Medicine Lake NWR.   Best find there were nesting Chestnut-collared Longspurs.  Another 103 degree day so we drove on to North Dakota.  We found a county park with electric hook-ups and were hoping for a good night's sleep minus the trains.  But... we had high winds all night, whistling and flapping through the RV, very noisy.
Chestnut-collared Longspur

Mama duck with brood

Our next stop was Lostwood NWR in ND and a 7 mile auto tour through Prairie Pot Hole country.  Lots of birds and best find was a moose with her twin calves running through the grass and then hid in some bushes till we left.

Wood Lily

There were lots of ducks and grebes, shorebirds and the fields had many species of sparrows including LeConte's and Baird's.  The prairie wild flowers were beautiful.

Belted Kingfisher

Another very hot day as we rode across North Dakota passing many yellow fields of grain.  We stayed at Icelandic State Park that night, thundershowers were moving in.  The rangers came around warning of a tornado watch.  The rains came and the temps dropped and thankfully no tornados.
Look into my eyes, what do you see?

Green-eyed Darner

We drove through northern Minnesota in the cool, drizzle that sometimes turned to heavier showers.  Not finding many birds we drove on to Sax-Zim Bog northwest of Duluth.  In the 40's that night, quite a change for us.  Time to bundle up.  Pretty quiet in the north woods except for the tons of mosquitos, deer flies and gnats.  Best sighting was a young Black Bear running across the road as we headed for Wisconsin.

We are always amazed at the variety in God's creation.  So much to experience.
Love & Prayers,
Ty & Ida Baumann

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