The Continental Divide runs diagonally through Montana, and Missoula is on the other side. Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, it’s conveniently placed to experience some of the most spectacular nature in the Continental U.S.

Golden Eagles. Prairie Falcons. Four species of grouse, four species of hummingbird, and fourteen species of owl! Mountain Chickadees, Canyon Wrens, and American (ohmygodIamsopsychedaboutthis) Dippers. To say nothing of the mammals. And the reptiles (I found an ad for a rattlesnake wrangler on the Missoula Craigslist).

They have never, alas, had a Western M&*&*^$%^%^#%ing Reef-heron in Missoula. Which is a shame, because I believe I owe that illustrious bird an apology.

You win some, you lose some, of course. Pelagic birds tend to be in short supply in the Rocky Mountains, and they haven’t got the warblers that NYC’s got. But I think the thing I’ll miss most of all is the people: wacky characters like this, boon companions like this, and, perhaps most importantly, a certain Inimitable owl fan. Yes, sadly, tragically, yet inevitably, I’m going to have to learn how to take my own photos while I’m in Montana.

Still, it’ll be an adventure. And what is life without adventure?

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