This week's Bitterroot Outdoor Journal takes us to the Bass Creek trailhead, northwest of Stevensville, where, as an observing exercise, Bob Danley saw three different types of life in one location. First, he saw in the snow, the tiny tracks of a Red Squirrel, which are active during the winter. Instead of sleeping, they are breaking open pine cones and checking their food caches and making noise. The tracks are relatively parallel with the forefoot behind the hind print.

red squirrel
Red squirrel and lunch. (Bob Danley photo)

Looking closely at a Douglas Fir tree, Bob saw Green Stubble Lichen, one of five types found in Montana. Look closely at the green moss-like patches and you'll see a black "stubble." (See photo below)

Green-stubble lichen - close up. (Bob Danley photo)

You can hear a tiny songbird at the Bass Creek trailhead. It's the 4-inch Golden-crowned Kinglet. If you held five of those birds in your hand, it would only weigh an ounce. They look for sleeping insects in the winter. Stand still and look around, and you'll see things you may not have noticed before. Good advice from Bob!

golden crowned kinglet
Golden-crowned Kinglet in a tree. (Bob Danley Photo)

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