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.
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...
July 30th, 2005
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pattee Canyon is about a 15 minute drive from our apartment and is truly a wonderful trail to which to have easy access.
Last Update: October 7, 2010
Copyright © Rich Adams 2005