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Smith Lake & West Valley Wetland Birds Tour, Saturday, March 22, 1 PM

Tundra_Swan_The bird guideJoin us on Saturday, March 22, from 1 – 4 p.m. on a bird watching tour around Smith Lake and West Valley with bird expert Dan Casey. Learn about birds that use some of the beautiful wetlands found in the valley and how landowners’ conservation efforts help maintain these local gems.

The tour starts at 1 p.m. at the Smith Lake Fishing Access Site. Space is limited so please call to confirm. To reserve a space or for more information call Laura Katzman at 752-8293.

Directions to the Smith Lake Fishing Access Site: Go 7 miles west of Kalispell on Highway 2 milepost 221, then 3 miles on County Road. We will carpool from there.

What to bring: Binoculars, water, snacks, sunscreen. Dress for the weather.

Some birds we might see (click on blue ones to see a photo and information):

Smith Lake: Red-necked, Eared, and Pied-billed Grebes, Black Tern, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Bald Eagle, Sandhill Crane, Wood Duck, American Bittern, Willow Flycatcher, Mountain and Western Bluebirds, among others.
West Valley: Pectoral Sandpiper, Black-bellied and American Golden Plover, Stilt Sandpiper, and Long-billed Dowitchers. Red-tailed Hawk and Rough-legged Hawk, Bald Eagle and Prairie Falcon. Eared and Horned Grebes, Barrow’s Goldeneye, and Cinnamon Teal. Sandhill Crane. Snow and Ross’s Geese (in spring) and Bonaparte’s Gull. Savannah and Vesper Sparrow, Western Meadowlark and Gray Partridge.

2013 Wetland Birds Tour

5-4-2013 Wetland Birds Tour (5) Last May, 2013, over a dozen folks, from beginners to bird experts, enjoyed an afternoon learning about migratory ducks and other birds that depend on wetlands for nesting and feeding.

The bird tour was led by Dan Casey, with the American Bird Conservancy, around Smith Lake and the West Valley area.

Folks saw a variety of ducks, although landowners around Smith Lake joined the group to tell us about all the great sightings we missed by a week, or two, or three.

With that in mind, we are planning to get out earlier in 2014 with the hope of catching some of these great flocks of ducks that visit Smith Lake and surrounding wetlands in the Spring.Birdwatching tourWValleystop050413b compressed

The last wetland stop took people’s breath away with the diversity of ducks, plus six Swans, four Sandhill cranes, and numerous other birds, all enjoying the same wetland.

5-4-2013 Wetland Birds Tour (2)The tour was organized by Flathead River to Lake Initiative partners, including the Flathead Land Trust, the Flathead Lakers, and the American Bird Conservancy.

Group organizers discussed the importance of protecting these wetlands so these birds have a place to stop, to feed, and to breed on their migratory routes.

The Flathead Land Trust discussed the land trusts’ role in protecting wetlands and surrounding farm lands and options available to landowners.5-4-2013 Wetland Birds Tour (3) The Flathead Lakers discussed the role of wetlands in protecting clean water, both surface and groundwater.

Check the following local guides for birding in the Flathead:

Click here to learn What You Can Do or contact one of us to discuss your interests.

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