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)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Vision Thing

Deepak Chopra introduced a mantra to me "Om Daksam Namah" (My life unfolds in divine order) in an online meditation course sponsored with Oprah that ended about a week ago. The meditations are really good and powerful, but have also found online life coaching advice from Marie Forleo that is a little less passive. A recent Marie TV episode visits 'Life Vision'; Marie in her whimsical, pithy fashion breaks down "is this all there is?"  She emphasizes "the world needs that special gift that only you have". Right on :-) My's all about adventure, discovery, learning while wildlife watching. Research has identified many 'restorative' benefits of being outside. Try to make it part of your vision even if it does not intersect with your career/doings directly; you can be outside at some point in time in your day. Plant and animal life can be found in the most urban of environments. Discovery and adventure is waiting for you...where you are. Here are some of my recent discoveries in the Bitterroot Valley (video taken at Willoughby 40).

Cous Biscuitroot

Moss (Polytrichium sp.)

Diploschistes  scroposus (Lichen)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Lichens Growing on the Ground

Finally decided to have a go at identifying lichens growing on the ground, especially those in a non-forested habitat. Have been reluctant to do so because these lichens are not macrolichens for the most part, and are therefore harder to identify. Acquired a great reference, A Field Guide to Biological Soil Crusts of Western U.S. Drylands, to make the challenge easier (thanks to Judy Hoy for heads up). The place of choosing, State Trust School Land at the very east end of Willoughby Lane east/southeast of Stevensville, MT. Here's a video giving you some context of the place...great landscape aesthetics:

Can't believe how I obvious some species were (have been to this site many times).
As Henri Bergson stated: “The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend". Found the genus Xanthoparmelia and Diploschistis numerous. Here are three lichen photos with tentative identification (no chemical tests).
Xanthoparmeila norchlorochroa

Diploschistes muscorum

Fulgensia bracteata
Do you agree with the identifications :-) Can't wait to go back for another look now that I have broken the ice.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Exploring just like a kid...

Just finished the online 21 day meditation series from Deepak Chopra and Oprah; it was great. Decided to engage the Day 17 centering thought "Through rest and play I open my creative channel". So, I spent 7 hours and driving 93 miles wildlife watching (my idea of play) today. Found 49 species of birds, the highlight being a pair of Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus) foraging in an ag pasture (they gave their ethereal song/call on a couple of occasions).

Long-billed Curlew
As the day progressed temperatures got to about 67 degrees; as a consequence butterfly activity picked up. Found seven species of butterfly (six were first of the year for me); three species of tortoiseshell, three species of comma and the state butterfly, the mourning cloak. All overwinter as adults and are brilliantly colored; a rainbow palette for the drab vegetation at this time of year: 
California Tortoiseshell
Compton Tortoiseshell

Milbert's Tortoiseshell
Green Comma
Mourning Cloak
Hoary Comma

Satyr Comma

My experience seemed to unfold in 'divine order'. Yes, in the words of Deepak Chopra "all is perfect, all is well". Namaste.