This week's Bitterroot Outdoor Journal was a lesson in smart observing. Bob Danley figured the forecast temperature (in the upper 50s) might allow him to see a Milbert's Tortoiseshell butterfly (see photo below). However, he didn't count on the strong winds, which reached hurricane speeds at the tops of the mountains around here. After being stopped by a wind-tossed semi, he headed home. However, the next day, he did find some insects that are active throughout the year - the Midge (see photo below). It looks like a mosquito, but it doesn't bite. Instead, the thousands of them fly in clouds and become meals for birds. They hatch almost year-round and are found near water. Bob recommends a book about insects - A Guide to Common Freshwater Invertebrates of North America by J.R. Voshell Jr. There are birds out there, including the Dark-eyed Junco (see photo above), but breeding songbirds are not expected back in the valley for a couple of months. The Bitterroot Outdoor Journal is heard Wednesday mornings during the 7:30 a.m. Bitterroot Morning newscast on 1240 KLYQ, and that free KLYQ app on your cellphone.

A butterfly that might appear on the first warm days around here. (Bob Danley Photo)
The little Midge, which can be found year-round. (Bob Danley Photo)