Have been enjoying traveling in Montana. The scenery along the I-15 from Idaho was incredible. Went through Helena and then the Great Falls area, where I visited the Benton Lake Wildlife Refuge. With fresh supplies and a full water tank in my trailer, headed on to Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge in northeast Montana. The refuge helps protect the area around the Missouri River so the landscape is much like what Lewis & Clark saw (sans the buffalo, Indians, etc). It’s isolation reminds me of the Big Bend area in Texas. No internet access here. Miles and miles of rolling prairie.
Stayed at James Kipp Recreation Area run by the BLM. It is just off US Highway 191, where it crosses the Missouri River. The no-hookup campsites are in a large grove of old cottonwoods that were full of birds. A 20 mile auto tour route through the west end of the refuge starts on the other side of the Missouri. The dirt road is seen on the right side of the picture above.
Cliff swallows and an eastern kingbird seen along the tour route. The bird in the bottom picture was seen in the campground. Finally identified it as a yellow-breasted chat. Also saw some cedar waxwings.
View of the Little Rocky Mountains in the distance, as seen from the tour route. They are an “island mountain range” that allow wildlife uncommon in eastern Montana to live. After leaving the James Kipp Campground, headed to the tiny village of Zortman to stay at Camp Creek Campground, also run by the BLM. It is filled with aspen and pine trees along a stream. Again, the trees were filled with birds. Just beautiful. Saw a wild turkey as I was leaving.
A catbird and a flycatcher.
A beautiful church in Zortman.
Meadolarks are the state bird of Montana.