Celebrate Earth Day – Get Outside In the Bitterroot
Earth Day has been celebrated for 50 years and there are plenty of organized activities you can attend, but Bob Danley of the Bitterroot Outdoor Journal suggests taking some time and just get out and discover what western Montana has in natural Earth Day activities - such as bird migration and blooming wildflowers.
So far this year, Ravalli County birdwatchers have seen 135 species - up nine from last week. Included in that list is the American White Pelican (photo below). A few of them are at the Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge at one of the smaller ponds. Also showing up in the larger ponds are the Black-necked Stilt and the American Avocet. Lake Como has some Common Loons on the waters, and you can easily find them at Flathead Lake, too.
At your backyard feeders, finches like the Pine Siskin and Evening Grosbeak are showing up. Arriving soon are the Calliope hummingbirds, so get your clear sugar water in the feeders. Remember to keep the water fresh through the season.
Bob saw the Mourning Cloak and Green Comma butterflies on the sunny days this past week and also saw Milbert's Tortoiseshell (photo below), which has a 2-inch wingspan and it can be found around nettles. The Spring Azure Butterfly can be found near the streams.
Wildflowers are getting colorful, including Sagebrush Buttercup, Blue-eyed Mary, Bonneville Shooting Star, Cous Biscuitroot, Draba verna, Field Chickweed, Low Pussytoes, Nineleaf Biscuitroot, Waxy Spring-parsley (photo below), Western Springbeauty and Wyoming Kittentail (photo below). The Kittentail is about 10 inches tall and is very hairy with purple stamens and no petals. You can only find it on the eastern side of the Bitterroot Valley in the Sapphire Mountains, or in Missoula by the "M."
The Bitterroot Outdoor Journal is heard Wednesday mornings at 1240 AM KLYQ radio and on www.klyq.com at about 7:45 a.m. during the Bitterroot Morning newscast. Here's one of Bob's websites, too.