Bitterroot Outdoor Journal – Coneflowers and Pine Whites
The heat is taking its toll on hummingbird feeders this week. If you haven't checked on the sugar water supply, do it! If it's cloudy, change it and clean off the whole feeder once in a while, too. Bad things can grow on them and that's not good for the hummers. If you're having trouble identifying the hummingbirds at your feeder, buy a book. Bob recommends "Hummingbirds of North America" by Howell and a similar titled field guide by Sheri Williamson. George West has a good guide book, too.
The wildflowers in bloom right now on the valley floor include Asters, Goldenrod, Gumweed, Sweet Clover and, of course, mustard, thistle and knapweed. The asters can attract butterflies, but in the woods, the Pine White is flittering around and it is one of two species that the larvae feed on conifer needles, and occasionally, on each other! Up on the foothills, you might see Western Coneflowers, about 24 to 80 inches tall with a purplish brown flower head. Around Lolo Pass you might find some on Elk Meadows Road.