Dona and I recently took a course in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) at the University of Montana. We should have taken the course about the time we got married, as it would have been a big help when we were teaching in Namibia; better late than never. As part of the course we had to do a practicum which involved student teaching and/or tutoring.
Dona did part of her practicum working with visitors in the Humphrey Fellowship program. The University of Montana helps the Humphrey Fellows through a Long-Term English program when they first come to the United States.
A few of the fellows were particularly interested in wildlife, so one day we took two of them on a visit to Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge.
We hiked around the refuge with Hlaing Hlaing Htoon, from Myanmar, and Alain Georges Moukoko, from Gabon. We were there mid-day, so it wasn't the best time, but we saw some good stuff anyway.
Whenever we were near the Bitterroot River we found evidence of beavers, but we didn't see any actual beaver. No big surprise there, since it was the middle of the day and they are generally nocturnal. Fortunately, the visitors' center was open and they had a stuffed one in there Alain and Hlaing Hlaing could look at up close.
Dona was looking for wildflowers as well as birds; she found a few but not as many as we had hoped.
One of the first birds we saw was a Yellow-Rumped Warbler. We don't see them at our place and they are always a treat since they are so colorful. There were some Northern Flickers around; they are a bit shy and if the light isn't right it's hard to get a good picture of them.
The first Canada Goose we found was nesting; later on we found some with goslings sticking tight like glue. We were surprised at how green the goslings were; others I have seen always appeared more yellow. Then there were the inevitable grouchy ones.
As usual, there were quite a few different ducks around. We found Common Mergansers on the river; the rest were on various ponds within the refuge.
There were quite a few California Quail wandering around. We don't have them up where we live and they are such cool-looking birds! It's pretty amazing that something would evolve like that.
If anyone can identify the left-hand bird below, please let me know. I've been through our Sibley's guide twice and can't find it.
There were Great Blue Herons at the margins of the marshes, looking for their next meal.
There was an osprey nest with some chicks in it; mom or dad was busy looking for food; we didn't get very close and s/he didn't give us much of a fly-by.
It was a warm spring day, and the painted turtles were out basking in the sun. The one below was pretty laid back — he let Alain and me get somewhat close to take a picture.
When we stopped by the visitors' center there were Columbian Ground Squirrels running all over.
On a short walk from the visitors' center we found the remains of a deer, maybe killed during the winter by a coyote. Back at the visitors' center, Alain enjoyed seeing some geese up close.