An article, by Radd Icenoggle, in Birder's World Magazine covers some of the birding opportunities on the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.
"As I drive over Red Rock Pass at sunrise, spread before me is the expanse of the Centennial Valley and Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Montana, about 45 miles west of Yellowstone National Park. Stopping for a moment, I hear the scratching of claws - a Williamson's Sapsucker climbing an aspen trunk. A Williamson's for the tick of the day, not too bad!
"A gentle breeze carries the aroma of arrowleaf balsamroot and sage. The first thing I notice about the basin is its apparent lack of habitation. The remote, high mountain valley is one of the few remaining places where you can go to get away from the crowd. It's about as far as you can go from any urban area in the United States. . .No wonder the American Bird Conservancy lists it as an Important Bird Area (globally significant habitat for birds)! . . .
"Sage Thrashers blast into their varying-tempo warbling song. . .a pair of Sandhill Cranes walks across the fen. . .Dawn on Upper Red Rock Lake comes with a cacophony of sound. . .Yellow Warbler and Common Yellowthroat. . .Willow Flycatcher. . .Western and Eared Grebes. . .Great Blue Herons. . .The forms of Gadwell and American Wigeon come in view. . .The first American White Pelicans of the morning glide by. . .the Trumpeter Swan. . .the familiar slurred chip of Wilson's Warbler. . .Yellow, MacGillivray's, and Orange-crowned Warblers, Common Yellowthroat, and American Redstart. . .The zzz notes of a Pine Siskin and the alarm calls of the Dark-eyed Juncos. . .A Hairy Woodpecker. . .a Great Gray Owl. . .Peregrine Falcon. . .Song Sparrow and many Tree Swallows. . .Franklin's Gulls. . .Ring-billed and California Gulls and Forster's Terns join in. . .White-faced Ibis, Black-crowned Night Heron, and Double-Crested Cormorant feed. . .Redheads dive for the bottom. . .Eastern Kingbird takes full advantage of the feast. . .Mountain Bluebirds crisscross the road as the sun dips below the horizon, and the fading sunlight bathes the landscape in orange and red hues. . ."
Radd, author of "Birds in Place: A Habitat-based Field Guide to Birds of the Northern Rockies", journals about his day in the Centennial, the birds he encounters, the beauty of the area, and the wonder of a day spent 'back to nature' in this article in Birders World Magazine. No wonder Montana Audubon Society considers Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge one of the premier Montana birding locations!