Sneak Up on Birds at Metcalf Wildlife Refuge
You don't even have to get out of your car. In fact, birdwatchers often just park by one of the large ponds at the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge and watch the birds land and float on the spring-fed waters throughout the year.
Bob Danley saw eleven species of waterfowl this week in less than a half hour at the ponds. The county road, Wildfowl Lane, passes right through the middle of the refuge northeast of Stevensville. You can also visit the headquarters for more information about what you can see.
In this week's Bitterroot Outdoor Journal, Bob mentioned a Northern Shrike that passed by while he was at the refuge. It can be found here in the winter and it has small mammals on its dinner menu. It's a little bird, and if it has picked up too large an animal for one meal, it will hang it on a barbed wire fence for a leftover meal later. That's why it is also called the butcherbird. (photos below)
Out in the wilds, you can see the Pacific Yew evergreen shrub. It's a small tree, but can reach a 30-foot height. The bark is smooth, brown and purplish in color and it has red berry/cones and sharp pointed yellow-green needles. (photos below)
If you find any fungi during this late fall, you might see the Strap-shaped Pestle, a club species that looks like a baseball bat. Or your might see an earth tongue species like the Yellow Earthtongue, shaped like an oar and only about an inch tall. Lichen spotlight this week is the Oakmoss Lichen, growing on tree trunks with flattened little branches. It grows one little branch a year, so you can tell the age. It's a perfect Halloween decoration.
The Bitterroot Outdoor Journal is heard weekly on Wednesdays at 1240 KLYQ AM and on www.klyq.com at 7:45 a.m.