Birds – Just Passin’ Through Montana
The shore birds are coming through Western Montana. Migration of birds such as the Red-necked Phalarope (photo above) are underway, with the fliers heading back to the Pacific coast. Bob Danley of the Bitterroot Outdoor Journal is noticing the increase in numbers, especially in the Mission Valley. He also noted a peregrine falcon nearby. The falcon is a speedy predator, looking for a possible shorebird meal.
Bob recommends the river corridors for birdwatching this month. He saw Eastern Kingbirds (photo below). They were flycatching and munching on berries, too. He also saw a Black Swift, which is usually up in the mountains. Probably the recent cool, wet weather brought it down into the valley. You have to be a little lucky to see one - they're fairly secretive.
Butterflies are wrapping up their flying season, but you can see some overwintering species like the Mormon Fritillary (photo below), which are numerous in the fall when the larch trees are changing color. Dragonflies include the Autumn Meadowhawk in the forests (photo below), which might be seen at the Florence Bridge Fishing Access Site and the Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge.
The recent rain brought out some mushrooms, including the King Bolete. Its cap is between 3 to 10 inches wide and is light brown (photo below). Wildflowers include the Curlycup Gumweed and the White Prairie Aster (photos below), though most wildflowers are done for the season. Our weekly visit with Bob Danley is heard Wednesday mornings at 7:45 a.m. on KLYQ 1240 AM radio and at www.klyq.com.