Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Medicine Lake, Montana

Chestnut-collared Longspur. It looks like it was created by a demented anime artist. They know how to light up a prairie.

In June I got the hell out of North Dakota for a day and hung out at Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge, in eastern Montana. It was a very birdy place with a lot of good access to prairie, lake and slough habitat and I was blinded more than once by some of the avian goodness there. If you get the chance, go! Here's a few of the birds there.

Grasshopper Sparrow, another grassland obligate. Grasshopper and Baird's Sparrows easily outnumber Savannah Sparrows in parts of the refuge. 

American White Pelicans have a big nesting colony at the lake, although I wonder if its not doing well this year due to high water levels.

Said pelican colony.

Brewer's Blackbird in butterfly disguise.

Medicine Lake has Lark Buntings! Yet another awesome prairie bird with a crazy flight display.

This Eastern Kingbird goes by "The MULE". He even trademarked it. What a badass.

Double-crested Cormorants nest on the lake as well. This adult was lacking any breeding plumes, but was still pretty sharp-looking.

A modest male Wilson's Phalarope upsets traditional gender-roles.

Franklin's and Ring-billed Gulls.

Birders don't pay a lot of attention to Western Meadowlarks, but between their golden voices and sweet outfits I think they're winners. They're also North Dakota's state bird, which is totes appropes.


  1. Lame, that's the Oregon state bird too. Seems like it wouldn't be too hard to come up with a different bird for every state. Those are all awesome birds up there... The Mule and the butterfly disguise are pretty hilarious.

  2. @Lisa Yeah, kingbirds can be pretty stubborn, I can see the comparison.

    @Jen Meadowlarks are the state bird for hella states. Not cool. I didnt know Oregon was one of them though...pretty unimaginative.