Memories of The Bitterroot Valley

Bobolink - Dolichonyx oryzivorusIn May of 2015 I was visiting an old chum who’d settled outside of Stevensville Montana in the Bitterroot Valley. While I stayed here, I met two bird species for the first time. The first was a Pileated Woodpecker and later, a Bobolink. When I completed my expedition through the Intermountain West and returned to my San Diego home from my journey of 53 days and 5300 miles in June, my friend Phil asked me which bird meeting was most memorable. I promptly answered with “Bobolink”. Meeting this bird was not the only encounter I had in the Bitterroot Valley, but as it was such an unexpected and intimate meeting, it was the most memorable.

My friend’s place was on the east side of the Bitterroot Valley, and while driving in and out of Stevensville on the west side, I caught sight of an unfamiliar bird flying from the agricultural fields up to the fences lining the road. Once I concluded its identity was the Bobolink, I returned and found a wide area beside the fields and waited on the bird to make an appearance. And appear it did, as well as a bold Wilson’s Snipe at the same location.

The male Bobolink is a striking bird. It is a blackbird to be sure, but with a cottony cape and a fuzzy peach-colored cap on the back of his head. He posed using these features for his dramatic territorial displays. During my brief visit I saw no females, so I believe his arrival preceded hers. I would have enjoyed meeting her, but circumstances due to the time constraints of the trip did not allow it.

The Agricultural fields weren’t the only places I spent hunting birds. My friend’s yard hosted Wild Turkeys and several other creatures I enjoyed spending time with. We also drove into the Sapphire Mountains where my success with bird photography was marginal, but the scenery was exceptional.

For the curious new readers and armchair explorers, I suggest an investigation of the other “Destinations” I’ve shared. Hover your mouse cursor over the menu item “Photo Blogs” and follow the options to find a destination that piques your interest.

I look forward to my next opportunity to travel through Montana and meet more of its inhabitants. The gallery below shows the results of my meetings so far. 

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