Mudflats, Long-billed Dowitcher in This Week’s Bitterroot Outdoor Journal
The butterflies are out there, but you'll have to be lucky to see them. The sunshine will bring out the little flyers, but the cold temperatures will make them think twice about flying. Bob Danley of the Bitterroot Outdoor Journal saw a Margined White butterfly (photo above) on one of his treks in the Bitterroot Valley. It usually is found in conifer forests. Other butterflies will be more airborne as the temperatures rise.
It's a good time to see shore birds, however. The mudflats at the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge major ponds have been great places for migrating birds needing a little rest stop on their way north. Bob saw a Long-billed Dowitcher (photo above), who uses a back-and-forth "sewing machine" head motion to find insects in the mud. It's brick-red in color.
Another species is the Wilson's Phalarope (photo above) with white, black and orange colors and the bird has a needle-like black bill. It grabs its insect food from the water surface.
Wildflowers are not as colorful as usual, due to the weather, but Bob saw seven new species including Jacob's Ladder, Cutleaf Daisy and Little Larkspur. (photo below) The growth of wildflowers this year has been a little slow, but they are poking their leaves (and some blooms) out of the ground.
The Bitterroot Outdoor Journal is heard Wednesday mornings at about 7:45 a.m. on Newstalk 1240 KLYQ AM radio and on www.klyq.com when you punch the "Listen Live" button. In fact, all our programming is heard on the website and most of our local news stories from our radio newscasts are here, too.