We saw quite a few different birds, mammals and insects, in fact more than we anticipated considering we were only there for a short amount of time! My Auntie Ruth lent me her book on Birds of North America which was a huge help and I spent a fair amount of time studying it in the car etc! James and his girlfriend Chloe did a great job driving myself, my mum and my Auntie Clare to Yellowstone and around the Park and stopping when we yelled that we had seen something!! We often saw birds of prey, but was fairly tricky to identify on the move!
Anyway, in this post I will share some of the nature and landscapes we saw around Billings!
The first bird we saw was .... a house sparrow!! James showed us around the college campus and outside his room we saw our second bird... a common flicker of which there are a few different races. These are distinguishable by identification of the colour of their underwing and the colour of their moustaches!! I believe that the bird we saw was a red-shafted/gilded race hybrid as it has a red moustache, yellow under surface of the wing and tail which is characteristic of the gilded race, however they are usually seen further south, which is why I think it must be a hybrid.
|Common flicker (Coláptes aurátus) red shafted/gilded race hybrid
There were many trees which seemed to have fallen over years and years ago, they looked rather lovely, like lots of natural sculptures, and they looked perfect for many creepy crawlys!
Whilst exploring we saw our first American robin which we soon realised was a very common sighting! Nonetheless a very handsome bird and one which I took many a photo of on this walk!
|American robin (Túrdus migratórus)
|Red crossbill (Lóxia curviróstra)
Saw a few insects and spiders. We were on the lookout for rattle snakes as a sign had pre-warned us! We heard a kind of rattling sound so were constantly on guard, however we realised they were either crickets or grasshoppers. We did catch a glimspe but it jumped off too quickly for a photo. The only mammals we saw, other than dogs were Mountain cottontails which look fairly similar to our rabbit, but are more rusty red.
|Mountain cottontail (Sylvilagus nuttallii)|
The next day (Saturday 4th) was James' graduation which was lovely! A great day to remember!
Sunday we watched Chloe's 'soccer' team play in the final of a tournament and in the evening we planned our next couple of days. We set off for Yellowstone on Monday!!
Stay tuned for the next instalment of this brilliant trip! :)