Hot weather is really bringing out the dragonflies in Western Montana. Bob Danley of the Bitterroot Outdoor Journal reported seeing one of the large ones - the Eight-spotted Skimmer (photo above), which is about 2 inches long with two large dark spots on each wing, offset by white patches. They can travel far from water sources and they like forest openings. However, even a few clouds will "ground" the dragonflies. They fly in sunshine only.

Butterflies are sharing the same general air space as the dragonflies and Bob reports seeing the Field Crescent. In fact, the photo below shows quite a few by a mudpuddle. Wet spots on the ground are where you can see lots of butterflies, having a snack. If you find large patches of the wildflower Spreading Dogbane (photo below), you might find some butterflies.

Bob reports over 90 wildflower species blooming. And in the hot weather, he has highlighted "hot pink" as a theme for this week's flowers. That includes the Spreading Dogbane, which has small, bell-shaped pinkish flowers. Then, there's the Clarkia (photo below), which can be 20 inches tall with 4-3 lobed hot pink petals. The Pink wintergreen can be a foot in height and has pink flowers that hang downward like street lamps. And the Thin-leaved Owl-Clover can be up to 16 inches tall and resembles the paintbrush type of wildflowers. It has yellow and pink flowers (photo below).

A reminder - if you see a baby bird on the ground, alone...don't approach it. The adult birds are nearby, watching. Don't interfere with the "growing up" process. Nesting activity is very high now and you can hear the singing at the nests all around. A final note, Bob says there are six different species of Woodpeckers in the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge Wildlife Viewing Area. Listen for each of the species' different calls and unique pecking rhythms. The Bitterroot Outdoor Journal is heard on 1240 AM KLYQ Radio or at Wednesday mornings at about 7:45 a.m.

Spreading Dogbane. (Bob Danley Photo)
Pink Mountain Heath. (Bob Danley Photo)
Clarkia. (Bob Danley Photo)
Field Crescent butterflies. (Bob Danley Photo)
Pink Wintergreen wildflower. (Bob Danley Photo)
Thin-leaved Owl's Clover. (Bob Danley Photo)

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