A late-arriving Ruddy Duck (see photo above) has been spotted this year in the valley. Bob Danley of KLYQ's Bitterroot Outdoor Journal said it is just one of many species coming into western Montana with the warmer spring weather. As always, listen for the bird calls and then look in that direction to find fliers like the Savannah Sparrow and House Wrens. He said hummingbirds are arriving, with Rufus Hummers on their way. One new butterfly for Bob this week - the Sara Orangetip (see photo below). Wildflowers in bloom include Glacier Lilies, Springbeauty, and Western Trillium. He noted at least a dozen different wildflower species blooming both on the open grassland and in the open pine forests of the Bitterroot Valley.

Celebrate Earth Day's 50th anniversary this week with a bit of bird-watching. Some tips - listen for the bird and let your ears guide your eyes. When you see the bird, keep your eyes on the bird as you bring your binoculars or camera (or phone) up to your face. Often, people take their eyes off the bird and when they look back, it's gone. Identify the bird in steps - check the size, note distinctive markings (eyelines, stripes), check the bill shape (long or stubby) and, of course, general colors. The Bitterroot Outdoor Journal is heard Wednesdays about 7:45 a.m. during the Bitterroot Morning newscast on 1240 KLYQ AM, www.klyq.com and on the KLYQ cellphone app.

Sara Orangetip butterfly. (Bob Danley Photo)