Snowies on the Move - December 2011

My son's friend, a vet tech in Billings, reports that an injured snowy owl was brought to her clinic in last week. The owl was sent to the Montana Raptor Conservation Center in Bozeman for rehab. The juvenile bird had tangled in a barbed wire fence near Broadview, MT, seriously injuring its wing (found this on Facebook along with a photo!).Could this be a signal of a more southerly push by snowies this winter? Call me if you see one.   

Natural thinning at Craters of the Moon

The long winter has caused die-off in some shrub communities at Craters.  Areas where snow laid the longest (especially north and east facing slopes and lava cracks) were affected the most. Bitterbrush and fernbush branches and some very young limber pine are showing significant partial dieback. Some shrubs have failed to break bud and may have died. 

dandelion seed feast

a lazuli bunting feasts on dandelion seeds: on a rainy day last spring, several lazuli buntings found our weedy yard very much to their liking and stopped to gorge on dandelion seedsa lazuli bunting feasts on dandelion seeds: on a rainy day last spring, several lazuli buntings found our weedy yard very much to their liking and stopped to gorge on dandelion seeds

Moose near Coffeepot rapids from last spring

Do you know that herbavores can get greater amounts of the calcium they need from aquatic plants, as it is rare in terestrial plants? Moose in RiverMoose in River

Moose/Elk Tracking

   This is not really a rundown of last Sunday's outing (on 11/14) in Island Park, but I can give you the following rough details. As we were broken up into sections, with the Piscitellas and Olsens north of us and the Petersons and me on the south end, we ran transects along the highway for two-mile sections. There was 4-5 inches of wet snow on the ground with continuous light snow all morning. The group to the north reported seeing about 15 sets of moose/elk tracks, in addition to numerous smaller(probably rabbit and/or coyote tracks.

Bear River Refuge

    Mary  Dolven, Theresa Lloyd, Gloria  and Evan visited the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge on Friday, Oct. 28.  We were helped a great deal by Kathi Stopher, Instructional Systems Specialist, who organized our time and explained things to us. She explained to us what they were able to accomplish with the initiative and help from their Friends of the Bear River Refuge group. We then watched a 27 minute video about the refuge, featuring marvelous color wildlife photography.

"Be Outside" Cub Scout Outing at Camas NWR, October 7, 2010

This is from our visit to the Camas Refuge today, Oct. 7. Mary Dolven, Gloria and Evan teamed up to provide cub  scouts from three combined packs a tour of the refuge. We had 13 boys and their leaders. The group was given an overview of the Camas National Wildlife Refuge and its importance to migrating waterfowl and many species of songbirds. This refuge is a vital link along the Pacific Flyway, providing a place where migrating birds can find nesting sites, shelter, food and water as they travel during fall and spring migrations.

"Be Outside" Program at Camas NWR

Just to give you an update on things - Evan led a small group of cub scouts (5 boys, with ReAnne Otley and one other leader) at Camas NWR Saturday afternoon in connection with Be Outside. We met at 1:30 at the refuge parking lot, where the tour began with a discussion on the purpose of the Camas NWR and how it is a vital part of the Pacific Flyway. The afternoon was very warm - mid 80's. From there, we took a tour along the paved pathway along Camas Creek, which is completely dry this time of year.

Woods Creek Fen Tour

On Saturday,Sept, 18, about 40 people gathered for a tour of the
Woods Creek Fen, near Driggs in the Teton Valley. The 60 acre section that
the group toured has been set aside with educational signs and a park-
ing area along the Bates Road, 2 miles west of town. Part of a larger,
4,000 acre fen area, this unique example of the diversity found in the
eastern Idaho region and the Teton Valley itself, its preservation is
due, largely, to the generosity of former Teton Valley resident, Fred

Bear Fair at Condon ("On the Road" continued...)

    There was another phase of this trip, maybe I should have mentioned, that might have a more direct connection with the interests of our group. I happened to arrive at my friends' place on the weekend they were having a Bear Fair, as it was advertised, on the grounds of the Hungry Bear Restaurant. We all went over and took in the booths and festivities, which included a demonstration in the use of bear spray. This would be a good thing for anyone anticipating hiking or camping in bear country.