The heat of our summer days has caused many things to bloom, but other things to wilt, according to Bob Danley in our weekly Bitterroot Outdoor Journal. Statewide, 336 species of birds have been spotted this year. Over all the years, folks in Montana have seen 438 different types of birds and about 70 percent of those are seen in the Bitterroot Valley. The top birding spot is the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge near Stevensville. Butterflies have yet to really "take off" this season. They are found low to the ground around extinguished firepits, moist soil, scat and, of course, flowers. Bob found a couple of Zerene Fritillary (see photo below). There 8 local species of fritillaries. Dragonflies are represented this week by the Cherry-faced Meadowhawk (see above). It's a little over an inch long and both sexes have red faces.

What's growing? Everything. The wildflowers this week are in a purple/blue/pink spectrum. You can see Marsh Hedge-nettle, Field Mint, Showy Fleabane, and in the burned areas of the forest, Twinflowers. We have a composite of those three upland wildflowers. Fungi this week show the huge difference a couple of weeks make in a mushroom. Our photos show Zeller's Bolete - fresh on the left and 18 days later on the right (see below). Bob is heard weekly on 1240 KLYQ and klyq.com at 7:45 a.m. during the Bitterroot Morning newscast.

A Zerene Fritillary butterfly. (Bob Danley Photo)
Upland Wildflowers. (bob Danley Photo)
Zellers Bolete - New (left) and Old (right) (Bob Danley Photos)