Monday, March 8, 2010

Mount Jumbo and Snow Buntings

Climbed Mount Jumbo (elevation ~4600') on Sunday, March 7. Started at 11:30 am on a beautiful sunshiney day of 40+ degrees. Went up the Cherry Street trailhead in Missoula using the steep "L" trail for a gain of 1100 feet with the target being a group of snow bunting at the summit. Immediately spied horned lark in the grazed areas of native grasses. After 10 minutes or so heard a single snow bunting call. Walked closer to origination of sound, sat down near fenced pen area for sheep, and waited. Within 15 minutes a group of 10 snow buntings flew by (within 50 yards) calling real good looks at the birds...stunning black/white pattern. It is incredible to get these birds without going to the windswept frozen plains and serendipitously finding them in amongst swirling longspur or lark flocks feeding on minute seeds. So my thanks go to Paul Hendricks who posted his sighting of these birds on the Yahoo site of MOB.

Great views from on top. Wildflowers should be good in a while...some are greening up well. Thanks also to the citizens of Missoula for acquiring this land as open space not only for people, but for a great variety of wildlife also.

Get outside and take it all in...