The appearance of what is called either Fairy Barf or Candy Lichen is an odd-looking species that Bob Danley noticed this week in our Bitterroot Outdoor Journal. The lichen is thin, looking like it was spray-painted on the surface of well-rotted wood in the forests. It is lime green with pink spots (see photo above). And, no, we don't know who named it, but we can be sure it wasn't Lewis and Clark.

Other natural scenes around Western Montana include a few Sand Hill Cranes (photo below), Horned grebe, Yellow-headed Blackbirds and double-crested Cormorant (photos below). Your best chance to see some of these birds is always the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge near Stevensville. By the way, the huge spectacle that is the Freezout Lake snow goose and tundra swan migration has probably reached its peak, but is still a sight to behold over by Choteau.

Back on the ground, wildflowers are appearing, including Yellowbells and Cous Biscuitroot (photo below). The explosion of wildflower blooming is near. And near the ground, Bob has been seeing butterflies on these occasional sunny, warm days. They can been found fluttering around mudpuddles and include Mourning Clock, Green Comma, Hoary Comma and Stayr Comma butterflies (composite photo below). Look at the photos, but get outside and see them for yourselves.

The Bitterroot Outdoor Journal is heard on Wednesdays at about 7:45 a.m. on Newstalk KLYQ 1240 AM in Hamilton, online at and on that free cellphone app.

Sand Hill Cranes. (Mike Daniels Photo)
Double-crested Cormorant. (Bob Danley Photo)
horned grebe
Horned Grebe. (Bob Danley Photo)
yellowheaded blackbird
Yellow-headed Blackbird. (Bob Danley Photo)
biscuitroot wildflower
Cous-biscuitroot wildflower. (Bob Danley Photo)
Yellowbell wildflower. (Bob Danley Photo)
Spring butterflies. (Bob Danley Photo)

LOOK: Stunning vintage photos capture the beauty of America's national parks

Today these parks are located throughout the country in 25 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The land encompassing them was either purchased or donated, though much of it had been inhabited by native people for thousands of years before the founding of the United States. These areas are protected and revered as educational resources about the natural world, and as spaces for exploration.

Keep scrolling for 50 vintage photos that show the beauty of America's national parks.

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