Surveying Malmstrom Air Force Base

The security forces were alerted.  Saturday morning 9 curious “birders” took to the fields and residential areas and “industrial” areas to take a fall survey of birds present on Malmstrom Air Force Base.  We noticed the security vehicles and some stopped to check and see what we had been seeing.  There was a lot of walking – we each walked from 5-7 miles in the 4 hours we were searching.  The conditions were far from ideal – cloudy and windy with winds steady at 25 mph gusting to at least 35 mph.  We learned a lot about how we can improve the process for subsequent surveys – we all agreed one fall survey is not enough.  We hope to coordinate to complete at least seasonal surveys.  It was fun to explore an area infrequently accessed by birders.  We could have used more people and more time to do a more thorough survey but we still had an impressive list of birds seen.
In no particular order:  Brewer’s Blackbirds and Starlings (close tie for the highest number), White-crowned Sparrows, Vesper Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Mallard, Western Meadowlark, Northern Flicker, Barn Swallow, House Sparrow, Black-billed Magpie, Rock Pigeon, English House Sparrow, House Finch, Horned Lark, Common Raven, American Crow, American Goldfinch, Mourning Dove, Dark-eyed Junco, Ring-necked Pheasant, Northern Harrier, Great Horned Owl, Sharp-shinned Hawk, American Kestrel, Killdeer, Black-capped Chickadee, Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Mountain Bluebird.
​Stay tuned for a winter survey!

Thain Creek Field Trip Report

It was sunny and calm on the 13th of August – quite a change from some of our recent field trips. We set out for Thain Creek after visiting with some gentlemen that were driving a nice looking Ford Model T out to Monarch for the opening of the restored train station. It holds 10 gallons of gas. Trips have to be planned carefully. It didn’t take long before we were pulling off to the side of the road to check out “bird!”. Along the Highwood highway it was primarily Swainson’s and Red-tailed Hawks. One Swainson’s was a dark adult – according to Sibley’s the combined dark and intermediate morphs are less than 10 percent of the population, more in the far west. Once we hit the gravel road the real fun began. From this point it was another 2 hours before we reached the Thain Creek trailhead – a lot of stops to get out and take closer looks.

August 13 Field Trip

After a busy week at the State Fair we will celebrate with a field trip. On Saturday we will do a hiking field trip from Thain Creek in the Highwoods. It will also serve as a scouting trip for a couple bird walks UMBA is guiding for B.O.W. (Becoming and Outdoor Woman) the following weekend. We will explore up the creek and up a hill starting from Thain Creek. We will be walking through several different habitats. We did this walk earlier this year – before any leaves were out. It will be nice to compare the two trips.
We will meet in the 4B’s parking area, between 4B’s and Conlins. Be ready to leave at 7 AM. Dress for the weather, for some walking along mountain trails and possibly some wet ground. Return is anticipated to be early to mid-afternoon (2-3 PM). Bring drink and food accordingly. We’ll try to find a scenic lunch spot.
Make your reservation by sending an email to umbaudubon@