Idaho & Western Montana: Spring and Summer of 2018

Spring and Summer of 2018, Mar. 1 – July 31

David Trochlell

Recommended citation:
Trochlell, D. Idaho & Western Montana: Spring and Summer 2018. <> North American Birds.


Bucky Ballou, John Battalio, Jeff Brough, Steve Butterworth, Kathleen Cameron, Jay Carlisle, Brian Carrigan, Darren Clark, Josh Covill (JCo), Roger Coucet, Jon Curd (JCu), Stoddard Davenport, Todd Deininger, Kas Dumroese, Kathy Ecklund, Paulette Epple, Sheri Foote, Fred Forssell, Tom Forwood, Jackie Girouard, Terry Gray, Andrew Guttenberg, Brandi Henry, Alec Hopping, Denise Hughes, Cheryl Huizinga, Mike Hunter, Mary Korkor, Carl Lundblad, Mike Ingram, Kathy Lopez, Kim Marchwick, Ruth Mayer, Peter Murray, John Parker, Kendall Purser, Jordan Ragsdale, Tempe Regan, Talina Richards (TRi), Ceredig Roberts, RL Rowland, Bill Scheiss, Mike Schlepp, Eric Schoenbord, Craig Sklarczyk (CSk), Clinton Stonich (CSt), Shirley Sturts, Charles Swift, Jason Talbot, Dale Toweill, Hilary Turner, Chuck Trost, Cliff Weisse, Arthur Wilson, Robin Wolcott, Poo Wright-Pulliam, Austin Young, Will Young.

Waterfowl through Woodpeckers

Idaho Eurasian Wigeons were notable finds in Kootenai 11 Mar (WY), Latah 13 Mar (TG), and near Troy 31 Mar (CL). If accepted, a Tufted Duck in Elmore 11-12 Mar (ph, CH, DH) will represent Idaho’s fifth record. A count of 37 Greater Scaup at Ennis Lake, MT 14 Apr (TF, AG) was extraordinary for the Region. Two other Greaters near Moscow, ID 5 May (CL, CS) were also notable. Long-tailed Ducks are seldom reported in spring in Idaho, so one below the A.F.R. Dam 21-30 Mar (ph, AY) and one at Lake Walcott 27 Mar (ph, TD) were interesting. White-winged Dove may have made its best showing ever in Idaho, with one in Boise, ID 23 Apr-27 May (ph, JB, JCu), one in Bonneville 16 Jun (ph, KP), and one in Jefferson 22-27 Jun (SB, DC). The documentation of a Sandhill Crane with a colt 8 Jul (ph, MS) in Kootenai, ID provided a first confirmed local record of breeding. Local early Montana records were toppled by reports of two American Avocets at Three Forks 31 Mar (RW) and a Long-billed Curlew near Twin Bridges 31 Mar (BB). The only reported Black-bellied Plover of the season was in Jefferson, ID 16 May (JB). Not annual in Idaho, a Snowy Plover was a fantastic discovery in Owyhee 26-27 May (ph, MI, RLR). A Whimbrel was an excellent, rare find in Twin Falls, ID 15 May (ph, AY). Dunlin are unexpected in spring, so one in Owyhee, ID 26 May (RLR) was noteworthy.

Rare Mew Gulls made an unusually good showing in Idaho, with singles discovered in Power 25 Mar (AY), Ada 1-3 May (JT), Kuna 7 May (JR), and Owhyee 26 May (RLR). A Lesser Black-backed Gull, rare, but now annual in Idaho, was found in Canyon 14 Mar (ph, RLR, CH). A count of 191 Common Loons at Ennis Lake, MT 22 Apr (JP) established a local spring record. The Snowy Egret near Belgrade 23 Jun (PE) was only about the eleventh record for sw. Montana. Idaho Green Herons, not annual, were discovered in Bingham 4-8 Jul (ES, CSk) and Power 28-31 Jul (KE). Single Idaho Glossy Ibis stopped near Stone 20-22 May (ph, SD) and in Ada 9 Jul (ph, HWC, JC); the species is now rare, but nearly annual in the Gem State. A Red-shouldered Hawk was a good find near Twin Falls, ID 31 Jul (ph, AY). Broad-winged Hawks are very rarely documented away from hawk watch sites, so one in Twin Falls, ID 29 Apr (ph, BH) was exciting. Near-record early was a Burrowing Owl in Park, MT 25 Mar (PM). The only reported Barred Owl of the season was one in Boise, ID 27-28 May (ph, MK). A wayward Lewis’s Woodpecker in Boundary, ID 18 May (RC) was unexpected and noteworthy, as were three in Gallatin, MT 27 Jun (TF, JP).

Flycatchers through Buntings

At least two singing Alder Flycatchers were documented in Boundary 12 Jun-31 Jul (ph, JC, FF, AH, m. ob.), which is expected to garner Idaho’s long-anticipated first record. Interestingly, another singing Alder Flycatcher was reported at a different site in Boundary 24 Jul (JCu). A wandering California Scrub-Jay, not annual, stayed in Eagle, ID 30 Apr-21 May (ph, CSt, DT). Reports of rare-but-annual Northern Mockingbirds included singles in Owyhee, ID 28 Apr-9 Jul (ph, KL, m. ob.), near Cardwell, MT 12 Jun (TF), and in Ada, ID 5 Jun-5 Jul (JCu). Two vagrant McCown’s Longspurs discovered in Custer, ID 9 May (ph, JC) were an incredible find; the Gem State currently has only two accepted records. A Clay-colored Sparrow was documented in Ada, ID 30 May-10 Jun (ph, CR). The only Lark Bunting showed up in Twin Falls, ID 3 Jun (JG). A LeConte’s Sparrow discovered near Belgrade, MT 23 Jun (JCo, TF, AG) provided an exciting first record for southwest Montana. Rare Golden-crowned Sparrows were unusually prevalent in Idaho, with one in Boise 29 Mar (CR), one in Elmore 1 Apr (DT), and two near Moscow 28 Apr-1 May (KD). If accepted, a Baltimore Oriole photographed at Kootenai N.W.R. 19 May (ph, TRi) will provide a first record for Boundary and a fifth for Idaho. Another Baltimore east of Bozeman, 29 May (ph, KM) provided a fourth record for southwest Montana. Always unexpected in southwest. Idaho, a Common Grackle was a great find in Boise 26 May (ph, SF). A Great-tailed Grackle near Cardwell 26 Apr (TF) was Montana’s sixth.

The bird of the summer season was a Louisiana Waterthrush in Blaine 16-22 Jul (ph, TR, m.ob.) that provided a first record for Idaho and the Region. Idaho reports of other extralimital warblers included a Black-and-white Warbler in Jefferson 3 Jun (MH), a Northern Parula in Ada 9-10 Jun (JC), a Chestnut-sided Warbler in Jefferson 24 May (ph, DC), and a Blackpoll Warbler in Jefferson 20 May (HT). A Blackburnian Warbler seen near Bozeman 6 Jun (JP) was only the fourth record for southwest Montana. If confirmed, a Black-throated Green Warbler in Elmore 10 Jun (ph, RM) will be Idaho’s second. A Summer Tanager in Jefferson 2 Jun (CT) will add to about ten accepted records. Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, rare-but-regular visitors to Idaho, came through Blackfoot 23 Apr (BC) and Bonner 10 Jun-31 Jul (ph, FF). A pair of rare Blue Grosbeaks in Jefferson, ID 21 Jun-31 Jul (ph, DC) was interesting, and may have indicated local breeding. An Indigo Bunting was a great find in Madison, ID 26-27 May (ph, BS), as was one in Canyon, ID 12 Jun-16 Jul (ph, AW).

Photos–Idaho & Western Montana: Spring and Summer of 2018
Hover or click on each image to read the caption.