A drive up Highway 12 west of Lolo brought Bob Danley to a favorite trail into the woods. In this week's Bitterroot Outdoor Journal, Bob reminds you that you can often hear birds before you see them, especially in the woods. Chickadees are a prime example. When you hear the birds, be patient and quiet. The birds are actually quite active and you'll notice the motion. Then look at the head of the small bird first to try to identify it. The flock will keep moving, so you should have more than one opportunity. The best time for birds to be feeding is in the morning or early afternoon.

On his drive up the road, Bob had to stop and turn around to see some Pine Grosbeak along the highway. Winter finches are known to come to road edges for salt and grit. Just be careful as you pull off the road safely to see them.

Lichen is all around and Bob noted the Pitt's Rock-shelf this week. It is found on rocks and is colored in different shades of green, depending on moisture (see photo below). It is circular and can be up to 8 inches in diameter. Bass Creek Trail has some examples. Bob also saw some tube lichen (photo below) on the branches of Douglas Fir trees. The Douglar Fir can be up to 180 feet tall and has thick grey bark with reddish-brown furrows. The leaves are green, blunt-tipped, with white stripes underneath. The cones have 3 pointed bracts sticking out from the scales. Get outside and explore our Western Montana world.

Tube Lichen on Douglas Fir tree in Lolo National Forest. (Bob Danley Photo)
Pitts Rock Shield Lichen. (Bob Danley photo)

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