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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Benton Lake

September 29th, 2013 · No Comments

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Before leaving the United States on my road trip to Alaska, I had one more American wildlife sanctuary to visit. Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge on the western edge of the northern Great Plains and 12 miles north of Great Falls, Montana, has a well-deserved reputation for its abundance and diversity of birdlife. The American Bird Conservancy designates it as a Globally Important Bird Area. After a morning there, I know why.

Despite its name, Benton Lake is actually a 5,000 acre shallow wetland created by glaciers thousands of years ago. It is an oasis for water birds.

A Black-necked Stilt Hunts for a Breakfast Bite

A Black-necked Stilt Hunts for a Breakfast Bite

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A Black-crowned Night-Heron Forages at Water's Edge

A Black-crowned Night-Heron Forages at Water's Edge

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A Yellow-headed Blackbird Roosts at the Edge of the Marsh

A Yellow-headed Blackbird Roosts at the Edge of the Marsh

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Juvenile Trumpeter Swans Rest at the Shore

Juvenile Trumpeter Swans Rest at the Shore

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At exactly noon on June 17 I entered Canada. Then, en route to Banff National Park I skirted Calgary, the biggest city in the province of Alberta, in heavy rain.

Two days later, the worst flood in Alberta’s history forced 75,000 people to leave their homes in Calgary, the largest evacuation in the city’s history. Southern Alberta is east of the Canadian Rockies, a semi-arid region that seldom gets a lot of rain. But in two days the province got almost as much rain as the 9.08 inches that on September 12 fell on my hometown of Boulder, Colorado, which is just east of the American Rockies and is also in a semi-arid region. In my travels I barely missed each of these freak storms that undoubtedly resulted from global warming.

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