July 23, 2007

Don't move here

166 gray jay
167 Steller's jay
168 western wood-pewee
169 violet-green swallow
170 yellow-headed blackbird
171 lazuli bunting
172 Cordilleran flycatcher
(total on this date in 2006: 134)

JULY 12-19, BOZEMAN, MONT., mostly sunny, 90s—Bozeman is a city that makes you wonder why you don't live there. Not only is it surrounded by mountain ranges and outstanding flyfishing rivers, but the city is highly bikeable, an anonymous donor just paid off the last million on the new green-built public library, and the monthly art gallery walks are happening. And Yellowstone is 80 miles away. Ask a family member to move there if you can't do it yourself.

Over three mornings I went to Sourdough Creek, the East Gallatin River, and Kirk Hill at the foot of the Gallatin Range--plus an afternoon climb to Ross Peak in the Bridger Mountains. Notable birds included redstarts and yellow-headed blackbirds (in the same places as last summer), a spotted sandpiper, and plenty of yellow warblers.

The lazuli bunting, a life bird, was a complete surprise. That made up for zero western tanagers, my top priority. Animal of the week was a fawn that ran the length of a stream, only six feet in front of me. Its mother and sibling, more careful, followed by crashing along the slope above in a wide detour.