It may be smoky in the Bitterroot Valley, but birders have ways of keeping up with their observations. Bob Danley of the Bitterroot Outdoor Journal suggests simply looking out your window. The hummingbirds are still quite active around the feeders and you can spend some time figuring out what you're seeing. He produced some photos to give you tips this week (photos below).

  • Age of the bird - look at the back feathers. Brown-tipped? If so, it's a young one. No brown - an adult female.
  • Look at the throat - note the stippling (spots) on the throat.
  • The flanks or side of the breast - a faint cinnamon color?
  • Wings - compared with the tail, are they longer or shorter?
  • tail - When hovering, are the feathers white-tipped or cinnamon?

We'll give you the answer next week here on the web ... or if you listen at about 7:45 a.m. Wednesday at 1240 AM Radio or here at KLYQ.com.

Dragonflies are zooming around and bob highlights a young Variegated Meadowhawk. It has a harlequin pattern on its abdomen, and males have checkered red markings, while females have brownish-yellow mixed with white splotches. They will migrate out of here in the coming weeks. They can even be found away from water.

You can look for the Lorquin's Admiral butterfly, which has a 3 inch wingspan. It likes willows and has a black wing color above with a white and burnt orange color below. (photo below)

Wildflowers are pretty much done in the valley, unless you head up into the hills. bob suggests Skalkaho Pass, (past the falls) where a Forest Service Road to the north (on the left coming from Hamilton) will take through lots of wildflowers and you don't even have to get out of your car, avoiding the smoke. There are over 20 different species up there. Enjoy, but be careful in the smoke. Limit your time outside.

Compare the list above with the photos. (Bob Danley Photos)
Lorquin's Admiral butterfly. (Bob Danley Photo)
A young Variegated Meadowhawk dragonfly. (Bob Danley Photo)
Lots of wildflowers at Skalkaho Pass. (Bob Danley Photo)

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