Robins Are All Around – Porcupines, Not So Much – Bitterroot Outdoor Journal
A study in extremes in this week's Bitterroot Outdoor Journal. Bob Danley's home was one of the places where a "fall out" of migrating Robins landed, when a winter weather system disturbed their high elevation flight over the valley. He estimated about 100 robins in the Lolo area (photo below). By the way, Robins' population is pegged at about 320 million birds, the most for any songbird in North America.
A hundred birds is not much, though, when you're looking at migration spectacles. Freezout Lake's latest peaks of Snow Geese were 25,000 with 2,000 Tundra Swans. A lot of birds, and a lot of noise, too, at the refuge near Choteau.
On the other hand, try to find a porcupine in the Bitterroot Valley. The only place Bob finds them is the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge near Stevensville. He usually sees them in a cottonwood tree, where they munch on the inner bark (photo above). They are nocturnal, sleeping through the day. The adults are about 30 inches long with dark brown fur and yellowish quills. How many quills? The estimate is 30,000, with none on the porcupine's underbelly. The oldest known porcupine was 27 years of age and there are 58 species of the animal in the world. But they're hard to find in the Bitterroot Valley.
Wildflowers will kick into gear now. Bob spied some Blue-eyed Mary flowers and Bulbous Woodland-star bloomers in the Bass Creek Recreation area (photos below). With the temperatures into the 60s the week, he also expects to have better luck seeing butterflies.
The Bitterroot Outdoor Journal is heard Wednesday mornings about 7:45 a.m. on Newstalk 1240 KLYQ's Bitterroot Morning newscast at 1240 AM Radio and www.klyq.com.