Bird populations were a little better in 2021 than 2020 in Ravalli County, according to national EBird's numbers, reported by Bob Danley on the Bitterroot Outdoor Journal this week.

He said there were 230 species observed this year in Ravalli County, which is about half of the entire Montana list of 430 species. And, it's six more species than last year. Missoula County had 247 specieis which is 57 percent of the state's total, too. Of course, we're still awaiting results from the Audubon Christmas bird counts, which shouldn't affect the numbers very much, since many birds have "left town" for the winter. One local bird count is left and it's at Stevensville December 26. If you need information, call Dave Lockman at 406 381-7679.

Bob's personal observations - about 40 percent of species were seen during only three months. He saw 16 species every month of the year, however the best diversity of species were seen in May, June and July - as you might expect. Winter is tough, with only about 62 species seen in December and February.

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Sticking with Bob's personal observations, he saw less butterflies this year. However, there were more California Tortoiseshell, Mourning Cloak and Great Spangled Fritillary butterflies than normal. Dragonfly populations seemed to be down. But Bob found one he hadn't seen before - Brush-tipped Emerald (photo below). It's a dark dragonfly and is along streams in forested areas.

emerald dragonfly
Brush-tipped Emerald dragonfly, trying to hide. (Bob Danley photo)
three butterflies
These butterflies were in Montana this year. (Bob Danley Photo)

He saw less fungi this year, but again, he discovered one he hadn't seen before - Hawk-wing (photo below), which can be 9 inches in diameter. And wrapping up his year-end report, Bob saw more garter snakes than usual and there were normal populations of wildflowers.

hawkwing fungi
hawk-wing fungi. Bob Danley Photo)

The Bitterroot Outdoor Journal's next broadcast will be January 5th at 7:45 a.m. on the Bitterroot Morning newscast at 1240 KLYQ AM in Hamilton MT and on

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