Monday, December 5, 2011

Seeing the Forest for the Trees

Three days ago visited Lolo Creek Campground, west of Lolo, Montana by 16 miles. Target for field trip was to discover/photograph lichen species or a serendipitous encounter with other 'wildlife'.

Within minutes of leaving car and approaching creek bridge encountered group of chickadees in creekside shrubbery. Several were chesnut-backed (Poecile rufescens):
Forested hillside






They were vocalizing quite a bit, sounding like this (credit xeno-canto webpage and Tayler Brooks):

Also in the shrubs were Steller's Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) making their harsh call notes (credit xeno-canto and Chris Parrish):
 
After observing the chickadees and jays to satisfaction, made it across bridge/creek into the campground proper. Trees here are impressive, have never really looked at or identified them properly. Here are trunk photos of all:
Douglas Fir
Lodgepole Pine
Engelmann Spruce
Subalpine Fir
Western Larch

Looking at tree trunks is also profitable for finding lichens; here is a photo of 'lattice tube lichen' (Hypogymnia occidentalis):
Positioned near a rivulet attracted another member of this community, gray jay (Perisoreus canadensis). Quite stealthy in approach usually:
Go out and make your own discoveries...it is great fun!