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Lee Metcalf

Glacier NP

Garnet Ghost


Wild Walk


Blackfoot Recreation

Birds Near our


Lee Metcalf
National Wildlife


Seeley Lake
Ranger Station

Snowshoeing at
Lee Creek

Blodgett Creek

Pattee Canyon

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Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge

September 5th, 2005

We took a day trip to Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge for Labor Day. We stopped to watch the nesting Osprey and the few remaining ducks and geese in the wetland area. A Red-Tailed Hawk was circling high overhead and I managed a couple of frames before my neck demanded alternative subjects.

Lee Metcalf
Geese Convoy

Lee Metcalf
Osprey with fish

Lee Metcalf
Immature Red-Tailed Hawk

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Glacier National Park

September 4th, 2005

I finally got a few photos processed from our sprint through Glacier NP. The crowds caused us to plan a future off-season trip...

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park
Mountain Light

Glacier National Park
Lake McDonald Sunset

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Garnet Ghost Town, Garnet, Montana

July 30th, 2005

Garnet Ghost Town 1
Fireweed along road to Garnet

Garnet Ghost Town 2
Fireweed in Garnet

Garnet Ghost Town 11
Indian Paintbrush

Garnet Ghost Town 3
Garnet Ghost Town

Garnet Ghost Town 12
Miner's Homes

Garnet Ghost Town 6
Three Miner's Cabins

Garnet Ghost Town 8
Hotel Door Closeup

Garnet Ghost Town 19
Blacksmith's Door

Garnet Ghost Town 9
Hotel Porch and Doors

Garnet Ghost Town 7

Garnet Ghost Town 17
Wall of Prison

Garnet Ghost Town 13
Mining Bucket

Garnet Ghost Town 4
General Store Counter

Garnet Ghost Town 14
Box in the General Store

Garnet Ghost Town 16
General Store Wall

Garnet Ghost Town 5

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July 6th, 2005

We are finally moved into our house and I took a moment to shoot some photos of the roses blooming on the side of the house.

Rose 1

Rose 2
Inside a Rose
Rose 3
Pair of Roses
Rose 4
Large Bloom

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Wild Walk - Kickoff for the International Wildlife Film Festival

April 30th, 2005

We attended the Wild Walk parade last Saturday and took some pictures of the event. It marks the beginning of the International Wildlife Film Festival and includes adults and children who dress up for the event. It concludes with events under the covered park in downtown Missoula. It was a lot of fun.

Wild Walk 1
Start of the parade

Wild Walk 2
Tiger suit
Wild Walk 7
Aboriginal dancers
Wild Walk 6
Bear Aware demonstration
Wild Walk 4
Flying lizard costume
Wild Walk 5
Giant squid
Wild Walk 3
Frog on a bike
Wild Walk 8
Sleeping piggie
Wild Walk 9
Kids making animal track casts

Wild Walk 10
African dance routine

Wild Walk 11
Wind River Karelian bear dogs
with trainers

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Springtime in Montana

April 28th, 2005

Wildflowers are making their attempt to take over the slopes in and around Missoula. Below are just a sample of flowers we saw on Blue Mountain just south of our apartment.

Sled Hill
Blue Mountain looking north

Pasque Flower
Pasque Flowers

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Blackfoot Recreation Area

April 12th, 2005

We visit the Blackfoot Recreation Area every couple of weeks to simply hike along the river and observe the diversity of ripairan life going on there. We have seen two juvenile Bald Eagles, Common Mergansers, Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatches, as well as Douglas Fir, Juniper, Ponderosa Pine, and Lodgepole Pine. Several types of lichen and bryophytes are found along the trail. One of the most amazing parts of the trail are the rock outcrops that show the evidence of the Blackfoot River going back in geologic time. The photos below show the ripples and strata evident in the rock and are simply amazing.

Blackfoot Recreation Area 8
Blackfoot River
Blackfoot Recreation Area 7
Blackfoot River
Blackfoot Recreation Area 5
Colorado Rock Frog
Blackfoot Recreation Area 2
Alpine Star-Moss (left) &
Golden Star-Moss (right)
Blackfoot Recreation Area 1
Ripple Marks in Stone
Blackfoot Recreation Area 6
Ripples in Stone
Blackfoot Recreation Area 3
Stone Strata
Blackfoot Recreation Area 9
Stone Ripples

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Birds Across the Street from Our Apartment

Red-winged Blackbird
Agelaius phoeniceus

Red-Winged Blackbird
Red-winged Blackbird
Agelaius phoeniceus
Red-Winged Blackbird 2
Red-winged Blackbird Chipping
Agelaius phoeniceus
Red-Winged Blackbird 3
Red-winged Blackbird Calling
Agelaius phoeniceus

Song Sparrow
Melospiza melodia

Savanna Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow
Melospiza melodia
Savanna Sparrow 2
Song Sparrow Closeup
Melospiza melodia

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Easter Weekend

March 24th-27th, 2005

Manito Park, Spokane, Washington

We went for a nice vacation over the Easter holiday. We started out in Spokane, Washington, where we visited Manito Park and saw some blooming crocuses. I'm not big on planted flowers, but these were the real flashes of brilliant color we have seen growing in a few months. On our walk through the park, we were pleased to see some naturally growing flowers along the paved path. The Early Blue Iris and Blue-Eyed Mountain Grass were really pretty. We stopped for the night in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho.

Crocus 1
Crocus 2
Crocus 3
Crocus 3
Early Blue Iris
Early Blue Violet
Viola adunca
Blue-Eyed Mountain Grass
Common Blue-Eyed Grass
Sisyrinchium montanum

Yaak, Montana

We drove through Yaak, Montana on Friday and really enjoyed the wild feeling of the place. Having been an avid fan of the author and environmental activist Rick Bass for quite a number of years, it was a neat feeling to see the place he has written about so passionately for the last few years. We didn't take any photos and in a way, I think that is appropriate.

Denton Slough - 1000's of Birds

Denton Slough
Denton Slough, Idaho

Just inside the Idaho border on US200, there is a bay of Lake Pend Oreille which is the home of literally thousands of waterbirds. We stopped at 4 separate places along the slough (pronunced "sloo") to view them through the binoculars. The birds were used to being hunted and were very shy of us. In the hour and a half that we stopped, we saw eight separate water birds including: Canvasbacks, Redheads, American Coots, Great Blue Herons, American Wigeons, Common Mergansers, Northern Pintails, and Buffleheads. We were totally blown away by the diversity of birds. It was impossible to make an accurate count of the birds, but I sampled a small group of 20+ or so birds and made a rough guess that there were well over 700 birds in just one of the 3-4 clusters of the same size. It was definitely a perfect spot for the birder.

McCay Creek, Montana

We left Sandpoint and drove along US200 back towards Missoula. The first stop we made was in McCay Creek. The diversity of trees was amazing. We drove up some Forest Service roads to a nice snow-covered slope where we hiked up the gated road. We saw a Varied Thrush and what appeared to be a Winter Wren, although the tiny little bird evaded our focused attention almost perfectly.

McCay Creek 1
Rock Outcrop
McCay Creek 2
Western Red Cedar
McCay Creek 3
Grand Fir
McCay Creek 4
Western White Pine
McCay Creek 5
Western Hemlock

Thompson Falls, Montana

We stopped at the bridge over the Clark Fork River, just north of Thompson Falls, Montana. The photos I got don't really do justice to the intense beauty of the area. The river is a deep green color that is complimented by the deep, placid flow of the river. The river is fairly deep here but large rocks stewn along the riverbed give it a lot of subsurface interest.

Thompson Falls 2
Thompson Falls Bridge
over the Clark Fork River
Thompson Falls 1
Clark Fork River
from bridge
Thompson Falls 3
Clark Fork and Rocks
Thompson Falls 4
View downstream on the
Clark Fork River

Colt Killed Creek, Clearwater National Forest, Idaho

Just over Lolo Pass, west of Missoula, there is an amazing transformation of the landscape that occurs. Instead of the dry, lodgepole and douglas fir forest of western Montana, there exists a relative rainforest. The rain shadow effect that protects Missoula from the northern Rockies' angiest winters also produces a rain-soaked forest on the other side. We hiked in a steady drizzle that was made even wetter by the rain dripping from the trees. A partial list of the species we saw that day is rather staggering (the one-mile hike was just filled with new species).

We hiked for just over a mile along the trail and came across an elk kill site. There was a rocky outcrop just uphill from the trail which would have made a perfect spot for a mountain lion ambush.

Western Red Cedar
Grand Fir
Douglas Fir
Ponderosa Pine
Lodgepole Pine

Golden-Crowned Kinglet
Blue Grouse
Winter Wren
Varied Trush
American Dipper
Stellar's Jay
Gray Jay

Lichens & Bryophytes
Ragbag Lichen
Common Rock Moss
Roadside Moss
Rock Tripe

Gray Squirrel
Elk Scat
Elk Kill Site

Colt Killed Creek
Colt Killed Creek
Colt Killed Creek 2
Colt Killed Creek 2
Colt Killed Creek 4
Hiking Partners
Colt Killed Creek 5
Some Kind of Orange Fungus
Colt Killed Creek 3
Lungwort Lichen
Colt Killed Creek 6
A Tree-Hugger's Paradise

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Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge

March 19th, 2005

We immediately noticed some white swans that we identified as Tundra Swan based on the flatter backs than the Trumpeter Swans and the similarity between the male and female birds. Although they were at the edge of binocular range, we were fairly confident in our identification.

While scanning the other birds near the swans, we spotted a duck with a long, needle-like tail and a white stripe running up the neck. We checked our Sibley Bird Guide and identified it as a Northern Pintail - a first for us!

Other ducks appeared with strange white stripes up their foreheads, a white patch just below the wing, and a dark back end. These turned out to be American Wigeons another first for us!

A strange bird with a white plume of feathers thrust up from its head appeared, accompanied by a smaller bird with more subdued, reddish swoop of feathers extended back from the top of the head, kind of like the early version of Daffy Duck. We frantically flipped through the field guide and found these to be the male and female versions of the Hooded Merganser. This was the third FIRST for us in just about 15 minutes. Wow!

While watching the mergansers and studying their plumage and diving behavior, we saw a new type of duck fly in behind them and begin diving as well. We focused on the gray belly, dark back, dark chest, and white spur extending upward toward the shoulder. The head was very dark with a lighter band encircling the bill. The Sibley Guide confirmed that this was a Ring-Neck Duck. Yes, this was yet another first for us and we were totally amazed and contented at the same time.

We were amazed at the number and diversity of species in the small pond.

We went for a walk in the wildlife viewing area and were able to positively identify the small sparrow we have seen and heard the last two trips there. It is a small grayish bellied bird with bold stripes extending over its shoulder, converging into a small dark patch in the center of the breast. The song of this sparrow is amazlingly diverse and clear. It certainly lives up to the name Song Sparrow and we look forward to hearing it throughout the coming year.

Sapsucker Holes
Sapsucker Holes in Ponderosa Pine
Early Buttercups Blooming
Ranunculus glaberrimus
Common Garter Snake
Common Garter Snake
Common Tree Moss
Common Tree Moss
Ponderosa Pine Bark
Ponderosa Pine Bark

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Lichens and Bryophytes from Blue Mountain, Missoula, Montana

March 8th, 2005

Lichens are one of the best indicators of air quality. They are an amazingly diverse members of the fungal kingdom, comprising some 1,000 species in the Rocky Mountains alone. They grow on trees, logs, rocks, and soil. The lichen is actually a fungus that has formed a symbiotic relationship with an algae to create a new lifeform.

Three Separate Lichen
on Tree Limb
Wax Paper Lichen
Waxpaper Lichen
a.k.a. Powdered Shield Lichen
Colorado Rock Frog
Colorado Rockfrog Lichen
Wet Rock-Moss
Wet Rock-Moss

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Seeley Lake Ranger Station Trail

Seeley Lake is about an hour north of Missoula and has an amazing diversity of plant and animal life. The lake was formed during the last Glacial period and serves as an attraction for visitors and residents of the area.

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Snowshoeing at Lee Creek

Lee Creek is located just west of the town of Lolo, Montana on the road leading to Lolo Pass. The snowshoeing event was sponsored by the Montana Natural History Center. There were approximately 20 people on the hike and was led by MNHC staff members Lisa Moore and Gabrielle Sivitz as well as naturalist Charles Miller.

Snowshoeing 1
Gearing Up
Snowshoeing 2
Naturalist, Charles Miller
Snowshoeing 5
Lisa Moore and Charles Miller

We hiked for around two and a half miles and it was my first time on snowshoes. I was happy to discover that the technique was no more difficult than walking but made walking through powdery snow much easier.

Snowshoeing 7
Winter Landscape

Snowshoeing 15
Connector trail to the
Lewis & Clark Trail

Snowshoeing 8
View from the Lewis & Clark Trail

After the hike was complete, we were treated to a short hike up to a section of the original Lewis & Clark Trail. One of the members of our group had been involved in the mapping of this section of the trail and gave an insight into how the trail was identified.

Snowshoeing 10
Talk on the Lewis & Clark Trail
Snowshoeing 12
Explaining how the trail
was mapped

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Blodgett Creek

Blodgett Creek is located just west of the town of Hamilton, Montana. The trailhead lies at around 4600' elevation and the trail climbs gradually west into the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area of the Bitterroot Mountains. We hiked about 4 miles up the trail before turning back and the views were simply extraordinary.

Blodgett Canyon
Printz Ridge
Blodgett Canyon 2
Printz Ridge
Blodgett Canyon 1
Printz Ridge
Blodgett Canyon 3
Blodgett Creek

At about the 3 mile marker, we came across some of the largest canine tracks I have ever seen. I am not going to propose what kind of animal made the track, but you can decide for yourself.

Wolf Track
Some Large Prints

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Pattee Canyon

Pattee Canyon is about a 15 minute drive from our apartment and is truly a wonderful trail to which to have easy access.

Pattee Canyon 1
View from Pattee Canyon
Pattee Canyon 2
Exposed Roots

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Last Update: October 7, 2010

Copyright © Rich Adams 2005
All Rights Reserved