Wildflowers have had a hard time this spring in Western Montana, but Bob Danley of the Bitterroot Outdoor Journal says we're only a few species behind last year at this time.

What's he seen? Serviceberry shrubs are bringing their white flowers to the forests (photo below) and they're as high as a foot off the ground, while down below you can find Kinnikinnick, which have glossy succulent leaves, showing up along the ground.

serviceberry bush
Serviceberry shrubs in the Bitterroot Valley. (Bob Danley photo)
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Bob added 14 new wildflower species this week. Among them are Heartleaf Arnica, which can be up to 20 inches tall, and Bigleaf Lupine, another tall plant with blue and white flowers shaped like two pistachio hulls. He also saw Roundleaf Violet, down on the moist ground in the forests.

bigleaf lupine
Bigleaf Lupine. (Bob Danley photo)
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In the air, migrating birds are stopping by and you can see lots of them in the morning hours. Another 17 species were reported by EBird this week, which totals 192 species so far this year in Ravalli County. Among those birds is the Yellow-Rumped Warbler (photo below), which is about 5 inches in length with yellow throat and a yellow patch at the base of the tail and it's looking for insects in the conifer forest. The Lazuli Bunting is also in the valley, with its turquoise blue head and back, with a cinnamon band across its chest. The bird's call is interesting. Bob says the call is "pik" with a song that sounds like "fire fire where where here here."

A Yellow-rumped warbler, Looking good. (Bob Danley photo)
A Yellow-rumped warbler, Looking good. (Bob Danley photo)
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Butterflies include the Western White (photo above) and the Mylitta Crescent. But Bob is searching for dragonflies, which should be appearing now. He is looking at two of his favorite dragonfly areas - the Florence Bridge Fishing Access site along the Bitterroot River and, of course, the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge. Coming soon will be the California Darner, the Northern and Boreal Bluet and the Pacific Forktail. Gotta have some heat and sunshine to bring 'em out.

The Bitterroot Outdoor Journal is heard Wednesdays at about 7:45 a.m. on KLYQ 1240 AM Radio and here online with our "Listen Live" button. Bob is also online at www.imagewildlife.com.

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