Bitterroot Outdoor Journal – Summer Slipping Away
The summer season is winding down and migrations are underway. Bob Danley of the Bitterroot Outdoor Journal noted a migration of Common Nighthawks in Minnesota recently, where birders counted 27,000 birds. Birds in Western Montana are migrating or getting ready to fly away, while others are fattening up for winter. Bob saw 21 wild turkeys in his Lolo neighborhood this week. There are also family flocks of Mountain Bluebirds (see the one munching a grasshopper in photo above), and Chipping Sparrows. For the summer, Bob has seen 85 bird species this summer. Right now, the best place and time of day for birding - early morning sunlight at the edge of forests.
A good place to visit is the Willoughby 40 area, directly east of Bell Crossing. You will see warblers, finches, sparrows and hawks. They are taking advantage of an abundance of grasshoppers (see photo above). Fun fact - there are 55 species of grasshoppers in Western Montana. Wildflowers are pretty much done for the year, but you can still see Rubber Rabbitbrush (photo below) which is a good nectar source for late season butterflies. Not as many butterflies in the area this year, but you can still see Coppers, Commas, Fritillaries and Woodland Skippers (photos below) up at Willoughby 40 (photo below). Dragonflies you might see at the Chief Looking Glass Fishing Access near Florance include Shadow Darners (photos below). Wrapping up the views around the Bitterroot Valley, there are a few mushrooms like the Wooly chanterelle (photo below), which Danley saw along the Bass Creek trail. The Bitterroot Outdoor Journal is heard Wednesday mornings during the 7:30 a.m. Bitterroot Morning newscast on 1240 AM KLYQ and on klyq.com.