Rain Or Not – Birds Flock to Bitterroot
So far this year, 199 species of birds have been reported in Ravalli County, according to E-Bird data. Bob Danley of the Bitterroot Outdoor Journal said that the highest count of bird species in the Bitterroot Valley was 278. Just in the last weeks, another 26 species were noted.
Bob provided a nice photo of the Lazuli Bunting (photo above). He also suggests you listen for bird calls, and in this case, listen for a "wee-wee-wee-wee-wit-chew-chew-chew-wit." The 6-inch-long bird has a turquoise head and orange chest and likes open areas with scattered trees. Other small birds you can easily find in the valley this week include the Bullock's Oriole (photo below) with a whistling call that includes "goo-gidoo-go-peeka-peeka." And the Black-headed Grosbeak is flying around (photo below) with a preferred perch near the top of deciduous trees. Bob's description of its call is "Oh what joy, I'm bubbling over with bubbling joy." The other description is that is sounds like a robin, only more song-like.
Bob saw a Common Ringlet butterfly (photo below). The overwintering butterflies are
passing away and many of the summer butterflies haven't emerged from their cocoons yet. But, they're coming soon.
Bob added more wildflower species this week, including three types of Pussytoes - the Rosy Pussytoe (photo below), the Umber Pussytoe (photo below) and the Tall Pussytoe. The Rosy Pussytoe has red flowers, as you might expect. The Umber Pussytoe has dirty white flower heads and the Tall Pussytoe can be 20 inches in height with 3 to 5 veins in lance-shaped leaves. Then, in the shrub category, there's the Ninebark shrub (photo below), with maple-shaped leaves and whiteflower petals circling a brownish-yellow cup-like structure with lots of stamens.
A reminder from Bob on this Memorial Day weekend that American Service members have also served as scientists/naturalists in collecting baseline information about plants and animals in the American West, including the Lewis and Clark expedition. The Bitterroot Outdoor Journal is heard Wednesdays at about 7:45 a.m. on KLYQ 1240 AM Radio and on klyq.com, along with your KLYQ cellphone app.