If you know where to look, you can see the Montana State Flower blooming. The Bitterroot has dropped its leaves for its white and pink blooms, in the sandy, rocky soils it prefers. The Ravalli County Museum has its annual Bitterroot Day this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., which celebrates the historic plant and its importance to the Salish, who will be dancing, drumming and singing at the event.

Bob Danley of the Bitterroot Outdoor Journal said the Bitterroot is one of over 70 wildflowers that are currently blooming throughout Western Montana, including Mountain Lady's Slipper and Blanketflower (photos below). Shrubs that you might notice out and about include the Bristly Black Currant, which can be about 3 feet tall in wet forest habitat (photo below).

Flying around in the sunshine are more and more butterflies. The large Two-tailed Swallowtail is the second largest butterfly in North America and when it flutters by, you'll notice it...bright yellow and black with small red and blue spots. The dragonflies are popping up as it gets warmer, including the Four-spotted Skimmer, which is yellow and black with a fat abdomen (photo below). It also feeds on other smaller, unlucky dragonflies.

Bob had some camera tips this week. For wildflowers - avoid bright sunshine or use a wide-brimmed hat to shade the plant. Take the photos from different distances, because the focus is different on the flower's petals. Use a tripod or even a bean bag to get a steady shot. The Bitterroot Outdoor Journal is heard Wednesday mornings about 7:45 a.m. during the Bitterroot Morning newscast at 1240 KLYQ AM in Hamilton or on www.klyq.com.

Four-spotted skimmer dragonfly. (Bob Danley photo)
Blanketflower. (Bob Danley photo)
Bristly Black Currant shrub. (Bob Danley photo)
Two-tailed Swallowtail, about to take off. (Bob Danley photo)
Mountain Lady's Slipper wildflower. (Bob Danley photo)

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