Notes from 14-25 August, as compiled by Matthew Lloyd, our resident photographer and wildlife advisor.

Monday 14th August
Rosetown, Val Marie, Grasslands National Park
Birds: American robin, killdeer, western kingbird (one with dragonfly in beak), eastern kingbird, American coots, mallards, Swainson’s hawk, mourning dove, sharp-tailed grouse, barn swallows (nesting in campsite building)
Mammals: Bison, black-tailed prairie dogs, coyotes (heard)
Butterflies: Juba skipper?

Tuesday 15th August
Belza, Broken Hills (note lots of gypsum and buffalo rubbing stones)
Birds: Swainson’s hawk (dark morph), horned lark, barn swallows, eastern kingbird, American robin, sharp-tailed grouse, vesper sparrow
Butterflies: clouded sulphur, common checkered skipper?, juba skipper? (mating pair), grey hairstreak?, purplish copper?
Plants: creeping juniper, silver sagebrush, wolf willow, skeletonweed
Mammals: plains bison, moose (cow and two calves), black-tailed prairie dogs, coyote, thirteen lined ground squirrel (aka striped gopher)
Skin of prairie rattlesnake

Wednesday 16th August
70 Mile Butte, Top Dog Town (with bison burgers for dinner in Val Marie)
Birds: sharp-tailed grouse, western meadowlark, Swainson’s hawk, American robins, barn swallows, eastern kingbird, burrowing owls, swifts, vesper sparrow
Mammals: swift fox (sadly as roadkill), pronghorns, mule deer, plains bison (bull very close), white-tailed jackrabbit, black-tailed prairie dogs
Reptiles: greater short-horned lizard
Butterflies: Melissa blue?, fritillary in genus Speyeria?, clouded sulphur (dead)
Dragonflies: band-winged meadowhawk (female), cherry-faced meadowhawk (male)
Plants: trembling aspen (probably clonal colony)

Thursday 17th August
Larson’s Ranch, Otter Coulee (featuring some beautiful bison rubbing stones)
Birds: American white pelicans, western meadowlark, northern harrier (juvenile), sharp tailed grouse, common nighthawk, eastern kingbird, mourning doves, barn swallows, clay-coloured sparrow
Mammals: white-tailed jackrabbit or mountain cottontail (presumably young as easily approached), plains bison, mule deer, black tailed prairie dogs, American badger, coyote
Butterflies: clouded sulphur, Melissa blue?, pearl/tawny crescent?

Friday 18th August
Belza, Fort Benton (Montana), Pelican Point nr Cascade
Birds: two common nighthawks resting on fence (male and female), mourning doves, black billed magpie, American white pelican, osprey, European starling, American coot
Mammals: pronghorn, swift fox, dead skunk
Butterflies: clouded sulphur

Saturday 19th August
Pelican Point, St Peter’s Mission, First Peoples’ Buffalo Jump
Birds: American white pelicans, sandhill cranes, great blue heron, common mergansers, red-winged blackbirds, eastern kingbird, yellow warbler, mourning dove, Canada geese, American goldfinch (female), double crested cormorant, European starlings, American kestrels, prairie falcon, osprey (carrying fish in talons), common nighthawk, black-billed magpie, sharp-tailed grouse, chipping sparrow (mix of juveniles and adults), clay-coloured sparrow
Mammals: mule deer, pronghorn antelope, white-tailed jackrabbit, black-tailed prairie dogs, porcupine (dead on roadside), white-tailed deer
Butterflies: clouded sulphur, cabbage white, woodland skipper, red admiral

Sunday 20th August
Pelican Point, rafting on the Missouri
Birds: common merganser, killdeer, double crested cormorants, black billed magpie, American white pelican, common tern, northern shoveler, female mallard with ten chicks, California gull, cedar waxwing, belted kingfisher, bald eagle, ospreys, wild turkeys, spotted sandpiper, rock doves, yellow warbler, common nighthawks, great blue herons
Mammals: beavers (several individuals, feeding and making very loud tail slaps), mink, bighorn sheep, white tail deer, hoary bats (probably, based on Ella’s ability/my inability to hear echolocation, indicating frequency around 20 kHz)
Butterflies: common sulphur

Monday 21st August
Pelican Point, Fort Benton (ft solar eclipse!), Denton, Billings KOA
Birds: wood duck, common mergansers, American white pelican, sandhill cranes, American coot, black billed magpies, European starlings, golden eagle, osprey, black-capped chickadees
Mammals: white-tailed deer, pronghorn, coyote

Tuesday 22nd August
Billings KOA, Pictograph Cave State Park, Little Bighorn Battlefield, Devil’s Tower
Birds: belted kingfisher (female), spotted sandpipers, pair of common ravens mobbing red-tailed hawk, American kestrel, black billed magpie, cliff swallows, western meadowlark, mourning dove
Mammals: coyote, black-tailed prairie dogs, pronghorn antelope, whitetail deer
Butterflies: woodland skipper, common sulphur
Plants: ponderosa pines

Wednesday 23rd August
Devil’s Tower National Monument, Deadwood (ft Deadwood Dick’s famous Indian tacos), Crazy Horse, Mt Rushmore, Rapid City
Birds: mountain bluebird, lark sparrow, chipping sparrow, Townsend’s solitaire, white-throated swift, tree swallow, American crow, European starlings
Mammals: whitetail deer
Butterflies: fritillary? (on car grill)
Plants: chokecherry

Thursday 24th August
KOA Badlands (White River), Badlands National Park, Standing Rock Reservation, Bismarck KOA
Birds: bald eagle, Eurasian collared doves, killdeer, western meadowlark, great horned owl, great blue heron, red-headed woodpecker, common grackle, turkey vulture (both soaring over Badlands wall and dead on road in North Dakota), barn swallow, black-capped chickadee, house finch
Mammals: black-tailed prairie dogs, grey squirrel
Plants: prickly pear

Friday 25th August
Bismarck KOA, driving through North Dakota and southern Manitoba
Birds: American robins eating fallen fruit, collared doves, house sparrows, European starlings, great blue heron, Canada goose, red-tailed hawk, double-crested cormorants, red-winged blackbirds, mallards, American coot, American white pelican, great egret, osprey, black-crowned night heron
Mammals: grey squirrel


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