Overview of Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge

This is a list of the images and their descriptions found in the Overview Photo Gallery. The images were photographed by James N Perdue and any usage of these images should credit Mr. Perdue and his website: http://WildAndScenicPhotos.com.

This gallery presents an overview of the Refuge from images in the other more specific galleries. The other galleries have more images and cover more detail in the refuge but this gallery will give an overview of the natural attractions of the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in Lakeview, Montana. Red Rock Lakes NWR is primarily a high elevation mountain wetland-riparian area. Red Rock Creek flows through the upper end of the Centennial Valley, within which the Refuge lies, creating the impressive Upper Red Rock Lake, River Marsh, and Lower Red Rock Lake marshlands. The rugged Centennial Mountains border the Refuge on the south, catching the snows of winter that replenish the Refuges lakes and marshes.
Image Name Caption
Map of Refuge The refuge is dominated by Upper and Lower Red Rock Lakes. These very shallow lakes are fed by several creeks that serve as a wetlands ecosystem for many birds, mammals and fish.
Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) Sandhill cranes meet in the Refuge in fall to migrate thousands of miles to warmer climes and can fly up to 12 thousand feet high, gliding for hundreds of miles.
Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) Sandhill cranes are a familiar bird in the Refuge from Spring through Fall. Mated pairs of cranes engage in unison calling. The cranes stand close together, calling in a synchronized and complex duet. The female makes two calls for every single call of the male.
American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana) Seen most frequently on Lower Red Rock Lake, Avocets feed together in both saline and fresh water habitats. Groups like this often advance in shallow water, moving their heads back in forth in a unison manner pulling their prey out of the water.
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) See over most of the Refuge waterways, It mainly eats fish and hunts by swimming and diving.
Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) The Trumpeter Swan is the reason that our refuge was established in 1935. The small number of swans then required extraordinary means, like winter feeding to further continue this species. The effort has been very successful and winter feeding is no longer needed. A pair can often be seen in Shambo Pond along the road.
White faced Ibis (Plegadis chihi) These interesting birds breed in the tules in Lower Red Rock lake and are often seen flying along Red Rock creek below the dam. Ibises are related to the flat-billed Spoonbills.
American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) During breeding season in early spring these birds can be seen in great numbers on Upper Red Rock Lake. Except from the difference in size, males and females look exactly alike.
Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamalcensis) Ruddy ducks often swim with their stiff tails high. Their blue bills are a giveaway to their identity.
American Coot (Fulica americana) fighting Coots are very numerous on most waterways in the refuge during the spring, summer and fall. On Widgeon pond, these two Coots were fighting. The Coots are extremely territorially and will fight to defend a small area they have claimed as their own.
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) Robins form monogamous bonds that last throughout the breeding season.
Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana) The Tanager is often seen in the Upper Red Rock Lake campground area. The red pigment in the face of this Tanager is rhodoxanthin, a pigment rare in birds. It is not produced by the bird, as are the pigments used by the other red tanagers. They acquire it from their diet, probably from insects that get the pigment from plants.
Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides) Look for the brilliantly colored bluebirds in the bird houses along Red Rock road in the spring. These birds hover over the ground and fly down to catch insects, also flying from a perch to catch them.
Black-billed Magpie (Pica hudsonia) in tree. These large birds can be seen throughout the refuge along the roads.
Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta) This beautiful bird can be found along the roads in the refuge, often perching on a fence. They have a very distinctive and beautiful song. They like the open and grassy meadows we have here.
Pine Siskin (Carduelis pinus) These small birds eat small seeds, especially thistle, birch, and spruce seeds, which make up the majority of the Pine Siskin's diet. In summer, they will eat insects, especially aphids, which they feed to the young, but seeds dominate their diet.
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) Although not in great numbers, the Bald Eagle is a bird you'll often see circling overhead near the lakes. This Eagle stares intently at water's edge near Lower Red Rock Lake dam for fish.
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) Bald Eagle juvenile flying near his nest that is at least 100 feet in the trees along Culver Pond.
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) This small falcon can often be seen perching on a fence along Red Rock road. This bird migrates south from the refuge in the winter.
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) The Osprey is only occasionally seen in the refuge. It has a diet that is 99% fish. Ospreys usually mate for life.
Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) Sitting along Elk Lake road. This owl migrates to the south during winter for a better supply of insects.
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) Probably one of the most numerous of the hawks in the refuge, the Red-tailed hawks will often hunt while hovering while actively flapping their wings. Here the hawk has found an insect and is inspecting it in mid-air.
Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) Seen on power lines along western part of Red Rock Road. These are fairly rare in the refuge.
Swainsons Hawk (Buteo swainsoni) These hawks commonly sit on the fence posts that line Red Rock or Elk Lake road in the refuge.
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) The Red-tailed Hawk hunts primarily from an elevated perch site, swooping down from a perch to seize prey, catching birds while flying, or pursuing prey on the ground from a low flight.
Moose (Alces alces), Cow and calf This moose cow actually had twin calves with her, a somewhat unusual occurence. She's getting a drink from Culver creek.
Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) Pronghorn are hard to miss in the refuge. The male pronghorn grow prominent horns that shed and regenerate each year. Females have smaller horns that are barely visible.
Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) running. The pronghorn is often referred to as an antelope, but there is no relation to the antelope of Africa.
White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) When startled and bounding, this deer conspicuously displays its large white tail.
Elk (Cervus canadensis) Grazing in Willow bog during spring. The Elk or wapiti is one of the largest species of deer in the world and one of the largest mammals in North America and eastern Asia.
Badger (Taxidea taxus) This badger was found near Lower Red Rock road. Badgers breed in summer and early fall, but have delayed implantation, with active gestation beginning around February and they give birth to as many as 5 young in early spring.
North American River Otter (Lutra canadensis) North American River Otter (Lutra canadensis)" caption="The River Otters move between the lakes along the creeks in the refuge. Fish is a favored food among the otters, but they also eat various amphibians, turtles, and crayfish. There have been reports of river otters eating small mammals as well such as voles, and even muskrats and beavers.
Yellow-bellied Marmot (Marmota flaviventris) The marmots like to live on rocky slopes, hiding under and in-between the rocks. Thus he is also known as the Rock Chuck. The marmot is an omnivore, eating grass, leaves, flowers, fruit, grasshoppers, and bird eggs.
Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) This large rodent hangs around Lower Red Rock Lake dam. Muskrats spend much of their time in the water and are well suited for their semi-aquatic life, both in and out of water. Muskrats can swim under water for 12 to 17 minutes.
Wyoming Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus elegans) Adults can live up to three or four years but only one out of four juveniles survive their first year.
Nokomis Fritillary Butterfly (Speyeria nokomis) female The caterpillers overwinter in the stems of grass after hatching.
Dorcas Copper Butterfly (Epidemia dorcas) This butterfly is one of many that spend their lives in the refuge (in one form or another).
Ladybug (Hippodamia species) There are more than 500 types of ladybugs in North America. Ladybugs produce a chemical that is a defense mechanism against insectivores, creating a bad odor and bitter taste.
Blanketflower or Gaillardia (Gaillardia aristata)
Rocky Mountain Iris (Iris missouriensis) This species of Iris is toxic, causing breathing problems, vomiting, etc.
Bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva) The roots of this beautiful Montana state flower were consumed by local tribes such as the Shoshone and the Flathead Indians as an infrequent treat. It likes to grow on gravelly and dry soils like is found on the northern boundry of the refuge.
Shooting Star (Docecatheon pulchellum)
Mealy Primrose (Primula incana) This rare plant likes to grow in moist areas like those found within the Refuge.
Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii subspecies glauca) and sagebrush This lone tree is growing on the northwest side of a hill north of Culver Pond. It is surrounded by sagebrush. June 2010.
Douglas Firs, aspens and willow line Upper Red Rock Lake. Pseudotsuga menziesii dominates the tree canopy up to about 7000 feet on south facing slopes of the Centennial Range. These trees give birds and small mammals protection from predators and the weather.
Aspen Trees (Populus tremuloides) Aspen trees line the forest on the south side of the refuge.
Broadleaf Cattails (Typha latifolia) Growing along Widgeon pond these cattails provide a habitat for ducks like the Coot.
Foxtail Barley (Hordeum jubatum) and Baltic Rush (Juncus balticus) Lower Lake view Foxtail barley, Baltic Rush and the Madison Range.
Lichen Many lichen on this rock on hill above Culver Pond, northeast side of the refuge.
Rabbit Brush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus) On dryer sections of land, this is an aromatic chrub that contains latex. Indians burned the branches to smoke animal hides and to cover sweat lodges and floors.
Willows and Sagebrush Wetland willows form a stark contrast between the sagebrush regions of the refuge.
Elk Creek and Centennial Mtns Elk creek flows out of Elk lake and into Upper Red Rock lake.
Looking east over Lower Red Rock Lake Cumulous clouds form over Taylor Mountain. Notice high grasses on lake shoreline.
West Centennial Mountains and Wetlands Culver creek meanders in the foreground with marshes and wetlands stretching to the Centennial Mountains in the distant.
Red Rock Road A portion of Red Rock road passes in front of the West Centennial mountains for a beautiful scenic drive.
Forest meets Upper Red Rock Lake Conifers, willows and aspens converge on Upper Red Rock Lake here.
Part of Culver Pond and Upper Red Rock Lake In the distance is Upper Red Rock Lake. Culver Pond is an elongated pond seen here from above.
Mountain snow in spring This snow provides spring flow to maintain the refuge wetlands. Notice the hanging ledge of snow at the top.
Willows in early spring with Snow-capped Madison Range Willows prior to gaining leaves in early spring are red-orange and contribute to the beauty of the refuge scenery.
Lakeview and Headquarter Buildings. Lakeview Montana is the headquarters of the refuge. There is a small visitor center. This small community has no commercial services available other than primitive public toilets.

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US Fish and Wildlife Service, Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, Montana USA