Where Have All the Little Birds Gone?
One of the last migrating songbirds still in the Bitterroot Valley is the Yellow-rumped Warbler (photo above). Bob Danley of the Bitterroot Outdoor Journal says you will often hear them, but they are hard to see this time of year. They stick around a little longer because they eat berries, along with the diminishing insect population. Their migration route takes them to the southern U.S. and into Mexico.
Bob noted that the Bullock's Oriole's migration takes that little bird to northern Mexico for monsoon season and then the little birds fly to central America for the rest of the winter season.
Butterflies can still be found in Western Montana. The California Tortoiseshell, the Green Comma, Hoary Comma and Mourning Cloak (Montana's State Butterfly) can be found around the still-blooming Rubber Rabbitbrush shrub. But soon, the little fliers will be hibernating in caves or on canyon walls in the valley.
Dragonflies are around in the sunny days and that includes Black Meadowhawks, which have been around since mid-July. They're only an inch long with a two-inch wingspan, and are black with yellow markings. They were first discovered in Germany in 1776 and you can still find them there, too.
On the ground, Bob has been not having much luck seeing fungi. But he is expecting to see the Black Elfin Saddle, which is appropriate for Halloween. It's about 10 inches tall and is gray and black, waxlike and usually has holes in it. It resembles a human brain. (see below) By the way, it's poisonous.
The Bitterroot Outdoor Journal is heard Wednesdays at 7:45 a.m. on 1240 AM KLYQ and at www.klyq.com. And, of course, it's on that free cellphone app. Download it today.