Montana Audubon

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Black Swift Field Work: Team Two Update

After training with the crew at Holland Lake, and a few weeks on our own, technician Danny Stark and I have thoroughly experienced the intricacies and challenges of surveying Black Swifts. We are eager to find some new colonies in our last two weeks. So far, we have struck out – though many waterfalls we surveyed possessed good habitat features used by Black Swifts in other locations. We have completed almost twenty evening surveys, and a few early morning waterfall vigils, but still nothing – these birds really are elusive!

The past few weeks we have been exploring southwestern Montana, where we are headed again soon. Hoping to confirm Black Swift nesting evidence suspected in the Beartooth area in 2018, Danny and I used the East Rosebud Lake trailhead to began our hike on the Beaten Path within the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. On the first day of August, we backpacked, rain and shine, about 9 miles to the Lake at the Falls. Once we got to the campground we were happy that we made the decision to each spend $5 on a mosquito head net. I had never seen so many biting insects in my life. But despite completing an evening and a morning survey, but we had no luck spotting any Black Swifts there or near the handful of waterfalls we surveyed near Cooke City, in the Bitterroots, or on the Rocky Mountain Front. But we are going to keep trying. This week we are hiking back to survey the Beartooth to try again at Lake at the Falls and a few others further down the trail.

Thanks for your support, and wish us luck!
Caroline and Danny

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