Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas Bird Count...25 Behaviors for Success

Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Just finished another Christmas Bird Count (CBC); our "team" established another record species total for our piece of the Circle. Nope, the total is nowhere close to what south Texas or California CBC's get. Doesn't matter, as the greatest conservationist President said: "Do what you can with what you have where you are" (Theodore Roosevelt Autobiography, Chapter IX, page 336). The longer I go at this birding thing (or wildlife-watching in general), the greater pleasure I get from doing it close to home. But, no matter how close to home, you should be prepared not to double-back for something forgotten, misplaced, unstudied, etc. Here are 25 actions to embrace for present and future success:

  1. Keep celebration of key finds short-lived
  2. Resist assumption of identities; remain mindful
  3. Use your ears
  4. Look up frequently
  5. Get everybody on the bird
  6. Find the feeding it thoroughly
  7. Don’t be embarrassed with initial misidentifications; it happens
  8. Insist on securing documentation (audio, written, photographic)
  9. Record notes/sightings/numbers to the best of your ability
  10. Have a smartphone or tablet with loaded “apps”
  11. Birds may not respond vocally to playback, but can approach stealthily
  12. Know your habitat, know the expected bird your homework
  13. Dress warm in layers, snack often
  14. Have a zoom point and shoot at hand for documentation
  15. Know how to digiscope
  16. Cover everything (habitat) once not too fast or slow, then go back for misses
  17. Not all human development is “bad”, think plantings and water features outside of feeders
  18. Have multiple spotting scopes available for waterbodies; the more the better
  19. Be aware of weather forecasts...especially predicted, dramatic changes in wind, temperature...plan accordingly
  20. Have vehicle thoroughly prepped
  21. Peruse Count Area during Count Week
  22. Remain optimistic and intuit strategy
  23. Working hard is the basis for serendipity and the unexpected
  24. Keep looking when other team members are distracted, eating, or whatever
  25. Give your all though you will never find everything; try to relax and have fun

Oh, find something great!!!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Mistletoe...About It

I've been working on my photo collection and came across this mistletoe image (below) I'd taken about a year and half ago. It took quite a while to identify this plant (had some help). Since I know of, but never decorated with mistletoe during the Christmas season, I did some investigating to discover some natural history and culture behind this plant.
American Dwarf-mistletoe (Arceuthobium americanum)

My photo is of an American Dwarf-mistletoe (Arceuthobium americanum); it's not the species that folks traditionally associate with Christmas. In Europe, it's European mistletoe (Viscum album...the only species there) or here in North America, American Mistletoe (Phoradendron one of ~240 species in North America!). Tropical and subtropical areas of the planet have many more "mistletoe" species. All mistletoe species are parasitic on shrubs and trees; they are dependent on moisture and minerals from the host. They are photosynthetic and produce seeds. Many species are specific to a certain species as host.
The species I photographed is usually only found on Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta). The four species of Dwarf-mistletoe in Montana are all very small, only 1-8 cm in length, as the name implies, and each occur on different species of conifer (USFS publication on conifer mistletoes). Conversely, American Mistletoe is not tied to a specific species of deciduous or coniferous plant for a host and it is much bigger, basketball sized in some cases. It can really be evident in winter when going through a leafless, oak forest. In cases it looks very unhealthy for the tree. According to references most trees are not killed outright by mistletoe, but productivity of the tree suffers. A pdf leaflet from the University of Georgia Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources has extensive information on mistletoe infection in trees.
David M. Watson (publication title: MISTLETOE—A KEYSTONE RESOURCE IN FORESTS AND WOODLANDS WORLDWIDE) found that mistletoe may in fact be a keystone species: "Species from 66 families of birds and 30 families of mammals have been recorded consuming mistletoe, spanning 12 and 10 orders..."  Over 240 species of Australian birds nest in mistletoe. So, it does not appear to be so bad ecologically.
For people, mistletoe has real and/or mythic properties. According to Wikipedia, herbalists use mistletoe for circulatory and respiratory ailments. Vitality and fertility are ascribed to the plant because it was once not understood how the plant spread, i.e. it would "magically" sprout on different trees without a seen process. It is guessed this is how the cultural tradition of "kissing" under the mistletoe evolved...this behavior noted in a 1808 newspaper ad!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Winter Power Pole Birding...How-to and Photo Salon

Nothing beats a winter drive in the country, especially with the goal of hawkwatching in mind. Driving "backroads" in the warmth of your vehicle and leisurely scoping out the high points of the landscape in anticipation....well of whatever is not on your checklist or the spectacle at times. High populations of small rodents are the determinant for hawk density; I've seen over 100 hawks over a 50 mile circuit.
The habitat for mice and voles can be a mix of CRP (farmland set aside for conservation), cropland (plowed and unplowed), ranchland and hopefully some native sod. Just as important as habitat are power poles along the roadside; most buteo's are perch hunters and these provide the perch substrate. For you beginning birders, these perches will allow you excellent, numerous views to study the birds and photograph at times.
Sometimes having poles and habitat in abundance (think North Dakota) is not a good thing because bird distribution can be very spotty due to immense amount of habitat available. Then again, that is exactly what a Gyrfalcon (Falco rusitcolus) requires. Perhaps most of you reading this live in large urban areas; a day trip of several hours (guessing 70 miles or so one way) should get you into some kind of promising habitat. I remember taking a day trip downstate with several Chicagoland birders many years ago to see Prairie Falcon (Falco mexicanus) at the Lawrenceville (believe that is correct) airport. It was successful!!
Being a good birder means homework and preparation (excuse the preaching, experts). Embedded are several photos for you to identify and age; hands-on work usually equates with better learning and retention. In fact, it may be a cake walk with the wide spectrum of field guides, hard coy and digital, (think Crossley and Sibley guides) available. Oh, there are 2 photos of birds not on a pole...uncooperative for a photo and a bit of a bonus :-)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Technology and Birding

Nicholas Lund, in an online Slate post (The High-Tech Future of Staring at Birds in the Woods), overviews wonderfully in both serious and tongue-in-cheek tones the evolution of birding field guides. Have you noticed the recent published offerings, e.g.The Warbler Guide and The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors. Wow...great visuals, incredible pieces of work. Both have taken field guides to a new level thanks to technology, specifically digital cameras.
My real concern, as strange as this may sound is, the 'language of birding'. The language I refer to is loosely based on the Peterson identification system of how big, what shape, what behavior, and what field marks? Birding (really, all kinds of wildlife watching) it seems is really about the underlying process and joy of learning.
Nicholas Lund thinks there are no worries:..."the actual business of birding remains between you, the bird, and your binoculars. That is until our Google Glass can ID birds on the wing or our phones can scan a molted feather and report the subspecies. I give it a year." Great take, isn't it? Now find something great...digitally or otherwise :-)
Digital photo (what else?) of Steller's Jay

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Science of Happiness Applied to Wildlife Watching...Patterns and Progress

Already 13 years ago David Niven published 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People in which he distilled happiness research into "easy-to-digest nuggets of advice". I especially like Advice #92 Know What Makes You Happy or Sad; a Professor Hamler is quoted: "All science is noticing patterns". Patterns come into play when something goes really right or wrong; hopefully you have been paying attention and you realize what happened wasn't random, there was a cause and effect. Niven's take: "People feel worse if they are unhappy but have no idea why."

Studying patterns in 12,000 diary entries from corporate employees led Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer to write a book titled The Progress Principle Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work. The authors discovered that small events (basically progress towards a goal or objective) can "trigger big reactions". They cited additional research that found participation in small, regular events (e.g. working out or church attendance) could yield cumulative increases in happiness. To the authors, this reflects on the "inner work life" of a person, their definition: "the confluence of perceptions, emotions, and motivations that individuals experience as they react to and make sense of the events of their workday". They further tease out that just "making progress" on a project or goal doesn't mean it will lead to a good inner work life. The work you do must be "meaningful". Work is meaningful if "you perceive your work as contributing value to something or someone who matters (even your team, yourself, or your family)". Bottom line: employing a checklist or a journal (so you can measure incremental progress) while doing meaningful work ignites joy, engagement and creativity. Amabile and Kramer employ video game playing as an example; you become addicted playing these games because the designers employ a) constant progress indicators and b) achievement markers.

And no, I haven't purposely and knowingly been applying this wisdom for a decade; I just discovered this. It's powerful. I know there have been times when I have discounted (sometimes using stronger terms) "listing" by birders. Now I discover that listing is good (at least on one level) for your joy, engagement and creativity. Below is some of my meaningful work...a video documenting my listing of two uncommon species of dragonflies (Lake Darner and Subarctic Darner) heretofore not seen before September 2013 (I believe my 7th try)! May your patterns and progress intersect with...what floats your wildlife boat :-)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Orange Butterflies...Not Halloween Scary to Us, But...

Most of us know that Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) are "toxic/unpalatable" to birds because of chemicals their larval stage ingest from milkweed plants. These butterflies exhibit warning coloration in the form of bold orange and black striping; this mechanism is referred to as "aposematism". This term was coined by W.B. Poulter in 1890 in his book The Color of Animals. Aposematism isn't just about color; it can also be about smell (think skunk).
Dennis Hoffman in his Your Sensory Desktop essay in This Will Make You Smarter (edited by John Bronkman, Harper Perennial 2012) states: "Our perceptions are neither true nor false. Instead, our perception of space and time and objects-the fragrance of a rose, the tartness of a lemon-are all part of our "sensory desktop", which functions much like a computer desktop...A graphical desktop is a guide to adaptive behavior...The graphical desktop guides useful behavior and hides what is true but not useful...Grasping the distinction between utility and truth is therefore critical to understanding a major force that shapes our bodies, minds, and sensory experiences...This leads to the concept of  a sensory desktop. Our sensory experiences-such as vision, sound, taste, and touch-can be thought of as sensory desktops that have evolved to guide adaptive behavior, not report objective truths...Space, time, and objects might just be aspects of a sensory desktop specific to Homo sapiens. They might not be deep insights into objective truths, just convenient conventions that have evolved to allow us to survive in our niche. Our desktop is just our desktop."
So for your sensory desktop, below are a series of orange-colored butterflies. Some are truly "toxic/unpalatable", like the Viceroy (Limenitis archippus...absorbs chemicals from willow) and Western checkerspot species (genus Euphydryas...feed on plants of the Figwort family). Surprisingly, the literature (a cursory search of Google Scholar) doesn't have a lot of material on the spectrum of butterflies (are all butterflies somewhat "toxic/unpalatable" ?) i.e. specific species being truly aposematic or mimics. Find something good :-)
Colon Checkerspot (Euphydryas colon)

Northern Checkerspot (Chlosyne palla)

Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)

Edith's Checkerspot (Euphydryas editha)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Bumping Up Quality of Blog/Social Media Content...Attended YouTube Creator Academy

I recently finished all the requirements for a MOOC (massive open online course) from the YouTube Creator Academy. It was a very good experience on many levels. Visuals/multimedia are especially important when blogging about wildlife...this course provided me with the big picture knowledge to qualitatively improve my YouTube Channel "Filmy Nest".
YouTube stats indicate that YouTube video traffic is not coming from Blogger sites (a relatively small percentage) so the opposite is probably true (my take). Of course this means I will continue and more likely increase video content (higher quality, of course :-) of this blog...who doesn't want more readership? This is only logical because my stated mission is to inspire/motivate people to participate in's my latest video for experiencing living fall colors via dragonfly watching:

Thanks for visiting and find some time to do some "it's a great day" wildlife watching.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Evolving Skills and Equipment Wildlife Watching

Yep, the things I used to do...take photos using a Canon G1...then a Canon SX100. Both good cameras that got me hooked on wildlife photography...beyond just birding. Here's an action photo (immediate below)...trying to capture a flying Mountain Emerald (Somatochlora semicircularis) digitally using the SX100. The next photo below is a close-up (Dot-tailed Whiteface) using the SX100. Well, can't very well identify plants or animals with fuzzy images. So, a mere three years ago upgraded to a Canon T1i with kit lenses. Immediate jump in quality. Discovered that the images were still not as sharp as needed. So, acquired a 100 mm macro (Canon, of course). Whew, much better (American Emerald shot below). Since then added the 70-300 mm for longer reach. Goals: capture wildlife as lifelike as possible (given budget, hardware constraints). Right now doing great (okay, not exactly National Geographic standards) and having great fun!!! You should give photography a go if you have not. It will broaden your horizons maybe in ways you will not envision. Check out +Stephen Ingraham evolving camera work on G+ with the Canon SX50HS. Finding something cool with today's found just about anywhere :-)
Photographing Mountain Emerald (end of red arrow)
Dot-tailed Whiteface (Leucorrhinia initacta)

American Emerald

Monday, September 23, 2013

Solar Power...Necessary for Late Season Dragonfly Watching

The dragonfly-watching (all bugs really) season is winding down, fewer species of lesser numbers are extant. The Bitterroot Mountain peaks have snow and daytime highs are only reaching low 60's F. Yes, time of year impacts watching these colorful insects. But, so do clouds blocking the sun in the heat of the summer; this can dramatically reduce dragonfly activity. The reverse is true in the spring/fall, solar power is the magic component for observing late season dragonflies and may be required for habitat occupancy (research). Conditions today close to acceptable, partly cloudy and about 60 F. So I made a quick trip (second time lately, visited on September 3) to Chief Looking Glass Fishing Access Site to find/photograph Shadow Darner (Aeshna umbrosa); need a good flight shot for my G+ Dragonfly-'Darner' album. Waited several minutes at arrival for large patch of blue sky to effect dragonfly activity; yep, it worked had a Autumn Meadowhawk (Sympetrum vicinum) perch on a rock in the shallow river.
Autumn Meadowhawk
Shortly thereafter had a darner fly past about a foot above the water. Followed and got a shot of a female Shadow Darner laying eggs in or near tree branch in river. Had success in finding a male Shadow, but the resulting photo not exactly National Geographic quality. Nature and Photography website has some good advice for photographing dragonflies. I'm going to try again, maybe multiple times if we have a typical 'indian summer' this fall. Find something cool yourself.
Shadow Darner (female)
Shadow Darner (male in flight)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Contributing to the Cost of the Journey...

Talented thinkers/writers have touched on contributing to the journey. I highlighted Robert Fulghum on this theme in a previous blog post and took a small action today...I bought two Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps.
I'm into wildlife and believe conserving the natural resources that shaped Americans and this country is a great investment for future generations. Here's a stamp buying testimonial from Cornell Lab of Ornithology at their AllAboutBirds Blog. If you look at wildlife as "living art" as I do, do not forget to mark the date September 27 & 28 for watching a stream of the judging of this years Federal Duck Stamp entries at Maumee Bay State Park, Oregon, Ohio. Thanks for your consideration.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Wading for Dragonflies...Not Required, but Still Fun

Still learning about dragonflies; however have come a long way since my last dragonfly-centric post Watching Dragonflies...Learning How. My Flickr site is my visual checklist for species I've found/identified. Made a quick trip this afternoon to Chief Looking Glass Fishing Access Site/Campground (Florence, MT) to photograph Shadow Darner (Aeshna umbrosa)...simply want a better quality photo to post online. So, this dragonfly, true to its name likes shadowy areas, especially the Bitterroot River "braids" that have slower moving water...Chief Looking Glass has been a reliable spot. Brought along the Nexus 7 along with my Canon DSLR to capture the action.

Clouds and rain cut my adventure down to about fifteen minutes but, in that time found, photographed and video'd a female Paddle-tailed Darner (Aeshna palmata) laying eggs in the river bottom. Dennis Paulson has authored two excellent field guides to assist/mentor you in your wildlife watching of these ephemeral, colorful animals. There is still enough summer to find some dragonflies near your home...go out and find something good!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Closer Wildfire and Smoke...

Just when I thought we would get lucky and escape the wildfire season without a local large fire...well two fires 10 miles west of Lolo, MT "blew up" yesterday thanks to high winds. It is very eerie driving home from work seeing a large smoke column towering over the Bitterroot Mountains 8,000 feet plus in elevation somewhat close to your residence. It's also personal  because I have been to the areas burning for wildlife watching field trips.Quickly, it has become very addicting finding and reading internet coverage...what's happening? This morning conditions are very smoky (video). Not exactly feeling distress, however what will the day(s) bring?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

July...Wildfire Season Begins in Montana

Yesterday, smoke appreciably increased in the Bitterroot Valley. The video catches the line of smoke as it pans to the right (looking southward in the Valley). This activity is part of living in Montana.

Here's what it should look like (at sunset) viewing southward of the Valley:

The state of Montana has a variety of resources online to keep everyone informed of immediate wildfire dangers, but also secondary health concerns. Department of Environmental Quality has a 'smoke' scoring system for health effects:

Here's a map of current wildfire activity in western Montana from the Northern Rockies Coordination Center website: 

You can track the wildfires in your neck of the woods at InciWeb. Personally, have had only one incident in which our neighborhood was threatened by fire (nothing like coming home from work seeing a smoke column near your residence). Firefighters got on this "start", mere .5 mile away, quickly and in force...nothing bad happened. So a big THANK YOU to those who fight fire. Be safe everybody.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Butterflying...Testimonial of Sorts

"Oh, this is the coolest," she said. "I'm loving it." So spoke Katy Duffy, National Park Service interpretive planner. These words described a recent butterfly count at Yellowstone captured by reporter Kristen Inbody as a news story. A testimonial of sorts, still the gist of the story recounts the diversity, challenge, strategy, adventure, ecology of butterflies. It is a well written account capturing a lot of do's/don'ts of butterfly watching. I could identify with many of the participants and experiences. The bottom line for me, beauty and wildlife adventure are all around us, one need not go to Yellowstone to experience it on a pristine basis. Just like the movie Field of Dreams, if you build it (flower garden and/or wet spot in your own yard), these animals will come to you cutting down on some of the challenge. Here's a video snippet of my recent field trips to give you an idea of the action and beauty awaiting you:

So go ahead and dip your toe in the water, you won't regret wildlife watching butterflies :-)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Finding Blue...On Many Levels

Hey, it is great to be alive especially with the color blue in mind. Found a mountain top site accessible by road a mere 25 miles from my front door! Target: wildflowers and butterflies on a beautiful summer day.
Maybe ELO, a Spotify embed, will get you in the mood. If not music, how about video context?

Here are some photos of Blue Copper (Lycaena heteronea), Melissa Blue (Plebejus melissa) and Boisduval's Blue (Plebejus icarioides) butterflies just below the peak in the video above:
Blue Copper

Melissa Blue

Boisduval's Blue
Hoping you are reading this on a blue Monday...or just another bluetiful day :-) Find something good.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Connecting the Wildlife Viewing Dots...What Should Be Obvious

It wasn't until yesterday that I connected the dots in finding Parnassian butterflies thanks to a Northwest Butterflies blog posting on the Gifford Pinchot NF. The author smartly included photos of the habitat visited...and there it was...steep, rocky road cuts. These areas typically are home to stonecrops (the sedum genus or succulent in general) which are the larval host plant for Parnassian butterflies. A mere fifteen minutes from my home is Blue Mountain (Lolo NF), which has windy steep road cuts in places (duh!!!!). So mid-afternoon I went on an adventure of discovery. Sure enough, as I emerged onto a south-facing straightaway I saw three white butterflies soaring Turkey Vulture-like low over the gravel road and vegetation. Quickly parked into the nearest pull-out and chased after the butterflies with camera in-hand. Never did get a "great" photo of the Rocky Mountain Parnassian (Parnassius smintheus), however did manage some diagnostic pics. As a bonus, found and photographed a White Bog Orchid (Platanthera sp.) and a Sinous Snaketail (Ophiogomphus occidentis) along ravine stream. Connect some dots today too :-)
Rocky Mountain Parnassian

Parnassian Habitat

White Bog Orchid

Sinous Snaketail

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Why So Few Green-Colored Butterflies in North America?

In a crude search of the Kaufman Field Guide to Butterflies of North America, I found only 18 species with green or 2.4% of all species. Green-colored butterflies are predominantly Hairstreaks, why is that? Below is a stunning Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus) that I recently photographed (lifer). I did a Google Scholar search of the lepidopteria literature and could not find an answer to my question. Did come across Elements of Butterfly Wing Pattern by H.F. Hijhout which detailed that butterfly spots, stripes do not vary in positions across individuals, quite different than human fingerprints or zebra stripes and leopard spots. Hijhout states that butterfly spots/stripes are an "individuated"character that can be given a name and traced over the phylogenetic tree.
Juniper Hairstreak
Here's a couple of photos of the red/orange butterflies (can you identify to species?) coming to Sawmill creek (Sapphire Mountains of Stevensville, MT) to "mud"... find something great in your own neighborhood!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Wood-Nymph's...No Special Plantings Required

 Encountered two Wood-Nymph butterfly species, Common (Cercyonis pegala) and Small (Cercyonis oetus) while watering yard plantings early this morning. Both butterflies did not nectar on any of the flowers in bloom. Instead they simply rested on the ground (wood bark mulch) as is their behavior at times. They do nectar more than other related species in the Satyrinae subfamily, but also utilize rotting fruit, dung and mud. Grasses are the host plant for larval development. Identification is dependent on size, shape and location of eyespots on underside of front wing. Both are somewhat easy to find in western Montana (Common is distributed throughout the U.S.), though they are definitely not flashy in coloration. Adults are active during July and August so now would be a good time to check your own yard or neighborhood for these insects.
Common Wood-Nymph

Small Wood-Nymph

Monday, May 13, 2013

Defy Your Default Setting...for Human and Wildlife Interactions

Came across an incredible video (embedded below) of a powerful commencement speech on The Dish this morning. It exposes the part of living which is seldom recognized or talked about. My wife works as a 'checker' at Walmart and faces the ugly 'automatic/default' behavior everyday in spades. Watch the video and make a conscious choice...perhaps one of joy on occasion (thank you!).

 Wildlife watching can also be all about me (a check on the list...I'm guilty). Try to conserve or create something that benefits the plants and animals you enjoy. Here's my conscious choice, my 'lawn', from last year:

Monday, April 22, 2013

Contribute to the Cost of the Journey

Robert Fulghum writing in Words I Wish I Wrote: "I saw a bumper sticker on the back of an old Buick: 'If voting really changed anything, it would be illegal.' I felt like giving the driver a bumper bang from behind. He's typical of those who have a shallow view of history-those who don't understand that nobody has a right to ride on the bus without making some contribution to the cost of the journey. They don't respect the fact that somebody else paid the price to build the vehicle of civilization in the first place. They owe. We owe. It's a moral obligation to participate in the work of society. If you take form the pot, you must put into the pot. Even those who have no money can sing and keep the driver of the bus awake and hopeful."
Today is Earth Day, get involved in conserving mother nature. Plant a flower garden, let a portion of your yard go wild, provide a water source, contribute to a conservation organization, do something everyday (simpler the better) for wildlife no matter how inconsequential it may seem to be. Right now, enjoy these images:
Mourning Cloak

Xanthomendoza montana

Fuzzy-tongued Penstemon

Flame Skimmer

Friday, April 19, 2013

"Resistance is Futile" say the Borg

The Borg in their drive for achieving perfection assimilate different cultures; we do not confront the sci-fi Borg threat in our daily lives. However, we do encounter the "resistance is futile" message from inside of ourselves...when wanting to take action for whatever reason. Borg-like messaging takes many forms especially in detouring you from 'the best you can be' path; internal resistance (especially fooling yourself) is "protean" as Steven Pressfield writes in the War of Art. Fear in the form of self-doubt, paradoxically may not be resistance, but an indicator of love, yes real aspiration for doing something.  Pressfield builds off of Goethe's couplet: "Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it. Begin it now" by recommending "the magic of keeping it going". He believes that there is organizational genius in nature that assists one in doing. So, whatever metaphoric universe you are building (e.g. book, career, recipe, blog, etc.) natures intelligence is assisting you. It works, I keep this blog going by allowing the 'forces'  (yep, had to get a Star Wars reference in here :-) to assist/augment my ideas. The experiences/ideas keep coming and this blog gets published. Below are my latest macrophotographs and tentative (note the self-doubt) lichen identifications. I love wildlife, now go after your dreams.
Massalongia carnosa

Moelleropsis nebulosa

Xanthoparmelia neochlorochroa

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Walking...wildlife watching, quite unlike Patsy Cline reasons. My walking perspective, six days ago on the south side (grassland) of Mount Sentinel (Missoula) and along forested Howard Creek this morning:

Found four wildflower species on Mount Sentinel, all lovely against the greening grasses.
Little Larkspur

Bonneville Shootingstar

Few-flowered Shootingstar

Nineleaf Biscuitroot
At Howard Creek discovered one species of lichen that was a "lifer" and cyanobacteria that resembles lichen:
Psora nipponica or Butterfly scale
Cyanobacteria (rounded balls)