Dry Near the Rockies but Bright Spot Found Near Lewistown

Written by Rob Spangler
Friday, May 20, 2016

Rob SpanglerWe finished stratum 42 in the southeastern portion of Montana and overall things are pretty dry. For the last couple of years the ponds and wetlands near the Rockies have been very low. Any ponds with decent water levels have many ducks crowded into them. After droning on for hours hardly seeing any ducks it gets fast and furious for a few seconds as we pass these hotspots. Then it is over just as quickly and we go back to observing habitat devoid of water or ducks. The exception is found near Lewistown, where recent rain and melting snow has filled wetlands and we have observed quite a bit of surface water in the fields as well. The water came a bit too late for birds migrating north, but it should allow late or repeat nesters in the area to spread out, increasing the probability of nesting success.

Dry conditions near the Rockies and Choteau, Montana. Photo Credit: Rob Spangler, USFWS.

Dry conditions near the Rockies and Choteau, Montana. Photo Credit: Rob Spangler, USFWS.

Conditions improve near Lewistown, with visible surface water and filled wetlands. Photo Credit: Rob Spangler, USFWS.

Conditions improve near Lewistown, with visible surface water and filled wetlands. Photo Credit: Rob Spangler, USFWS.