During my three days in Missoula I had very little time for birding. A couple of early morning hours in Rattlesnake nature area produced only a few American Robins, Cedar Waxwings and Northern Flickers. I must confess, though, that I spent part of my time there looking over my shoulder to make sure there were no bears rather than focusing entirely on looking for birds.
Two early evening hours in a city park didn't produce the number of birds I was hoping for either - except for yet more American Robins, Cedar Waxwings and Northern Flickers.
Things improved when I spotted a Black-capped Chickadee and then a Black-headed Grosbeak.
The highlight came as the light was falling and I was crossing a footbridge on my way out of the park. I looked down to the swirling water.
Was I imagining it or had one of the stones in the stream just moved?
The stone had moved, because it was actually an American Dipper.
I was thrilled! The Dipper was one of my target birds for the trip and a bird that I'd only seen once before, in Utah, many years earlier during my first-ever week of birding. So I watched the bird for 15 minutes as it pottered around in and out of the fast-moving water.