Shorebirds Visit Bitterroot Valley, Wildflowers Are Sprouting
Only one new bird species was added to the Bitterroot Valley list by Ebird this past week. Bob Danley of the Bitterroot Outdoor Journal said the cold temperatures are holding back some usual spring activities. However, we're only five species behind last year's bird varieties.
At the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge, you can see shorebirds...along the shore. Pond 5 (the large pond south of the road near the headquarters) has been a good place to see Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs (photos below). The Greater Yellowlegs are about 14 inches in length and have a slightly dark bill that is longer than its head width. The Lesser is about 10 inches in size and has a darker bill.
The black-necked Stilt is wading in the ponds, too (photo above). It has long hot-pink legs and a black bill. All these birds are looking for insects in the water. There are different ways they search, too. Watch for a while and you'll notice the differences. By the way, at Ponds 5 and 6, just stay in your car and look. The birds are so close, that when you get out of the car, it spooks them.
Wildflowers are only sprouting leaves so far, but early spring arrivals will be Western Growmwell, Wyatt's Lupin, Meadow Death Camas (Don't touch!), Arrowleaf Balsamroot, Rosy Pussytoes and Heartleaf Arnica. When the temperatures moderate and the sun decides to stick around, watch out! The wildflowers will be...wild! (Photos below)
A reminder from Bob - Earth Day is Friday, April 22. But don't celebrate the planet just one day a week. Get in the habit of regular activities - as easy as picking up trash along trails or roads. You help the Earth and it will help you.
The Bitterroot Outdoor Journal is heard Wednesdays at 7:45 a.m. on KLYQ 1240 AM radio and at www.klyq.com. Bob has some fun websites, too. Check imagewildlife.com, for instance.