By Alkali Springs Correspondent
We just cannot believe it! Here it is as we write these words, the first day of spring, and Bear Paw bird watcher, Vicki Toth, just called us and excitedly reported that the bluebirds are back in the Sucker Creek Valley.
Bluebirds are a great harbinger that spring is really here, and to have them around before the end of March! Well, gentle readers, that would seem to indicate that this is going to be an early spring in this neck of the woods.
Bluebirds are not native to this area, but thanks to the efforts of folks like Vicki, Ken Myers and Chuck Howard by dotting our meadows and hillsides with bluebird nesting boxes, more and more of these beautiful little birds have been around each year.
But it is strange, that with the ice still intact on both Bear Paw Lake and Beaver Creek Reservoir, that we would be seeing them. So we guess you can just say Hurrah for spring!' and get out and enjoy it before the next blizzard hits.
The last few nights that we have been in the Bear Paws, we have seen the most spectacular display of northern lights that we have seen in many a moon. Strange, too, because we think of them as a winter phenomenon. When the air is cold and still, that is when we usually see them in all their glory streaking across the dark north skies.
These days, they have been a panorama all across the night sky and they have been streaked with green, rather than just the color of light. Amazing and beautiful and it seems to us that when they come out, why, that is the time when the coyotes really serenade. They see the lights too, or so it seems, and not really understanding what they are, really start to scream from valley to valley.
And, of course, the dog, sleeping, wakes up, listens and grows quietly, as if to say that he really would like to see just one of those strange noisy critters up close and personal. But then again, he is glad that his is in a warm and secure house until at least daylight hits the beautiful Bear Paws.
Another sort of sign of spring has been happening a lot these days, and that is the noise of geese traveling overhead on their way to spring nesting places, some as far away as the Northwest Territories.
We may be imagining it, but when they fly over Bear Paw Lake and find it still frozen, it seems that they honk even more loudly than usual. That brings out the wanderlust in us and we watch some of them land on the ice of the lake, rest a few minutes, then take off for strange climes to the north.
The other day we were up in Canada and driving down the highway, and there far above us, were three large groups, all in perfect formation. We wondered if they were the same ones that we had seen on Bear Paw just a few days before and maybe were taking their time getting to the north because things are still frozen there as well.
But, best of all, are the ones that will stay here when the lakes thaw. They will stay here for the summer and raise a gaggle of young all around the shores of Bear Paw and Beaver Creek Reservoir.
Those geese will be here soon because ice time is almost overbearing a good blizzard and freeze. We think those geese are the smartest of all, choosing such a wonderful place to spend their summers.
They are almost as fortunate as the rest of us - being able to share another spring and summer in the beautiful Bear Paws with each other!
Editor's Note: In last week's outdoor story about the Montana FWP Region 6 state parks manager without a park, everyone knows that his name is Woody Baxter and that his office is in Glasgow and that he is looking for recommendations for State Parks in this part of Montana. Contact Woody at 228-3707.