Falls and Birds
Sunday, July 3, 2005: I skipped the falls last night, so they were the first item on this morning's agenda. The five waterfalls that impeded Lewis and Clark's journey have been been turned into hydropower sites, but there is still some water that goes over the other falls. The river had a variety of ducks, geese, and other waterbirds. Birds were also active in the trees and fields along the shore so I combined my falls viewing with some early birding. The first stop was Black Eagle Falls, followed by Rainbow Falls (with Crooked Falls in sight downstream). A tree near Rainbow Falls was particularly birdy with Juncos (Oregon), Bullock's Oriole, Spotted Towhee, Brown Thrasher, and other birds.
|Black Eagle Falls|
I decided not to head further downstream for the other falls, but go directly to Benton Lake NWR.
Benton Lake NWR was great! It had White-tailed Jackrabbits and lots of Richardson's Ground Squirrels. It also had lots and lots of birds. I'd heard Ring-necked Pheasant near the river. Here one was in the road. Shorebirds present included Upland Sandpiper, Marbled Godwit, Long-billed Curlew, Avocet, and Wilson's Phalarope. There were also White-faced Ibis, Eared Grebes and a variety of ducks. I was pleased to find a couple of Burrowing Owls. Yellow-headed Blackbirds were abundant and Chestnut-collared Longspurs and Horned Larks were frequently seen in the road.
|White-tailed Jackrabbit||Benton Lakes NWR||Eastern Kingbird|
|Richardson's Ground-Squirrel||Eared Grebes||American Avocet|
|Horned Lark||Yellow-headed Blackbird||Marsh Wren|
Rocky Mountain Front
The plan was to visit Freezeout Lake NWR next, but I missed the turnoff. Since I was behind schedule, I decided to proceed to Glacier and settle for viewing some of the ponds from US-89. Further along US-89, I took some photos of the Rocky Mountain Front.
|Rocky Mountain Front|
Two Medicine & Running Eagle Falls
It was about an hour and a half before I arrived at the Two Medicine entrance to Glacier National Park (reached by taking US-2 at Browning). I visited Running Eagle Falls, where I saw a family of American Dippers. I also spotted my first Mountain Bluebirds of the trip. Before leaving Two Medicine, I stopped at the store and got a canister of bear spray. Now I'm prepared to go hiking alone in bear country. My life Columbian Ground Squirrel posed outside the store.
|Approaching Two Medicine||Crossing Dry Fork||Running Eagle Falls
|Running Eagle Falls
|Running Eagle Falls||Columbian Ground-Squirrel|
On the Road to Waterton
MT-49 is a nice mountain road that runs from Two Medicine back to US-89, which I followed to MT-17 north of Babb. This is another mountain road that takes you to the Canadian border and Waterton Lakes National Park. I had to stop several times for cattle on the road. The scenery on all of these roads from Two Medicine to Waterton was spectacular.
|Two Medicine Lake||Approaching Waterton Lake||Waterton Lake|