Bitterroot Outdoor Journal – Winter Watching
The tiny Red Squirrel doesn't hibernate. Instead, it puts up the usual chatter when you get in its territory in the woods. Bob Danley calls it the "killdeer of the conifers" because of the noise it makes when you disturb it. He saw five of them at Maclay Flat recently. It's the smallest tree squirrel - a 7 inch body and 5 inch tail. It eats pine cone seeds and has food caches to make it through the winter. The new babies come in May and June.
Bob says you can identify birds by their plumage. He knows that if you record what you see and compare it to a photo in a bird book when you get home, you can figure out what you're looking at. For instance, the photo above has a couple of ducks. What kind? Check below for the answer. Also during the winter, it's always a great time to see lichen. The Green Stubble Lichen is found on Douglas Fir tree bark. Look closely and see the black "stubble" which look like miniature mushrooms under magnification. (see photo below) Five of the 14 varieties are found in Montana.
Oh, the duck identity - Gadwall. Bitterroot Outdoor Journal is heard Wednesday mornings about 7:45 a.m. during Bitterroot Morning newscasts on 1240 KLYQ AM and klyq.com.