The hawk migration can still be seen as the stragglers make their way out of the Bitterroot Valley. Bob Danley of the Bitterroot Outdoor Journal saw a Ferruginous Hawk (photo above) and a Swainson's Hawk (photo below) this past week. Other large birds in the air - an Osprey at the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge this weekend and a couple of Golden Eagles by the MPG Ranch east of Florence. Of course, some of these birds will be overwintering here in Western Montana. There are some songbirds to be seen (and heard) including the American Pipit, which sounds like its name, and the Horned Lark. At the Metcalf, a late migrating American White Pelican was seen. However, arriving for the winter will be Tundra and Trumpeter Swans.

Believe it or not, Bob says the Purplish Copper butterfly can still be found along the dry irrigation ditches of the valley. The little flier has an upper wing that's orange-purplish with black markings and the underwing is light pink with black spotting (photo below). It's looking for knotweeds as host larval plants.

Recent rain is bringing out a mushroom called the Tamarack Jack, which can be found near Western Larch groves. It is a typical-looking mushroom with 5-inch cap and reddish brown colors with a yellow rim. (photo below)

Bob says the cool fall weather is a reminder to be ready for changing conditions when you are out in the woods. Keep an eye on the clouds, dress warmly, have good cell phone coverage and bring along some emergency supplies. There's always something to see in the natural Bitterroot Valley. The Bitterroot Outdoor Journal is heard Wednesday mornings at 7:45 a.m. on 1240 AM KLYQ, Hamilton, and online at

Swainson's Hawk over the valley. (Bob Danley Photo)
Purplish-copper Butterfly. (Bob Danley Photo)
Tamarack Jack is a typical-looking mushroom. (bob Danley photo)

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