Montana Outdoors

March 6, 2008

First blooms of spring

Filed under: Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures, Wildflowers — Tags: , — montucky @ 5:57 pm

As a complete surprise at the destination of a hike today, on a lonely hillside just above a seldom-visited little lake that is still frozen completely across were these first blossoms of our new spring. A most unlikely place for buttercups!



(Photographed March 6, 2008 along Burgess Lake in western Montana.)


  1. Nice! Nothing better than discovering the first flower of spring by accident šŸ™‚


    Comment by engtovo — March 6, 2008 @ 6:19 pm

  2. Gorgeous!


    Comment by Sumedh — March 6, 2008 @ 6:23 pm

  3. engtovo,

    Yes, it is! What a pleasant little treat! The first ones last year were on March 18th. Thank you for visiting!


    Comment by montucky — March 6, 2008 @ 7:14 pm

  4. Thanks, Sumedh!

    They are tiny, but very pretty, especially since we haven’t seen a wildflower since October!


    Comment by montucky — March 6, 2008 @ 7:15 pm

  5. holy moly! Congrats! What a pretty little thing!


    Comment by aullori — March 7, 2008 @ 1:20 am

  6. That is a surprise. I can hardly wait for my first find, though it will be awhile. But since it is so cold still, the bald eagles are still here. Instead of wildflowers, I’m shooting eagles in the morning – I hope!


    Comment by barbara — March 7, 2008 @ 7:50 am

  7. a little bit of sunshine isn’t it?

    we drove by a yard the other day that already had some bluebonnets…

    my son is starting a biology project in which he has to collect 15 different wildflowers (some we thought were just weeds!) he is not really enjoying it, and all he’s done so far is look up photos on the net to id what he’s got to find!! too bad he doesn’t have a nice place to hike to discover them!


    Comment by silken — March 7, 2008 @ 8:24 am

  8. Lori,

    I guess we don’t know what’s happening back in the hills unless we get out there. Getting to this area took a short but tough hike up what was basically a snow-covered rock slide. Who would have thought the first Buttercups of the season would be there?


    Comment by montucky — March 7, 2008 @ 9:13 am

  9. Barbara,

    Good luck with the eagles! I have found them very difficult to shoot here. Of course, if I’m fishing and don’t have my camera handy, they will come right up close. Our weather is varied still. It got up to 50 yesterday, but when I started climbing up to the lake it was around 20.


    Comment by montucky — March 7, 2008 @ 9:16 am

  10. Silken,

    Too bad you don’t live closer to here! In May, I could take him on a hike and find them all in one day, and I bet he’d enjoy that. Either way though, a project to find wild flowers has to be worthwhile!


    Comment by montucky — March 7, 2008 @ 9:23 am

  11. They’re like Spring pioneers…forging the path for the rest of the flora.

    Brave little suckers…and pretty, too.


    Comment by Pinhole — March 7, 2008 @ 9:38 am

  12. They certainly are pioneers. We had some sun yesterday, but the morning before that these little guys had about 4 inches of heavy, wet snow over them. They’re tough and also toxic.


    Comment by montucky — March 7, 2008 @ 10:32 am

  13. Ooh pretty! That doesn’t look anything like most of the buttercups I’ve seen here.


    Comment by Adam R. Paul — March 7, 2008 @ 10:43 am

  14. Interesting! This is the only species I’m familiar with, but I understand there are about 35 species in the West. As you can see, these grow very low to the ground, so they’re probably an alpine variety.


    Comment by montucky — March 7, 2008 @ 11:04 am

  15. How exciting it must have been to discover those little blossoms! They are very pretty indeed.


    Comment by AK_Adventurer — March 7, 2008 @ 11:29 am

  16. Yes, I guess it’s the kid still in me who gets excited about the first wild flowers of spring. I hope I never get over that!


    Comment by montucky — March 7, 2008 @ 11:33 am

  17. WOW! We were down to bare ground then had a pretty fair size snowstorm so I’m lucky now to find snowdrops. What a beautiful flower and so early! At least, it would be waayyyy early here in Massachusetts.

    At least I’ve got Redwing Blackbirds (which are a little bit late, usually arrive in February) and the chipmunks are wicked busy, but no flowers like your buttercups. You lucky devil!!! šŸ˜‰


    Comment by Janet Wilkins — March 7, 2008 @ 5:03 pm

  18. Janet,

    We have Redwings now, and our chipmunks are out already too. The buttercups are about two weeks earlier than usual. This little part of Montana ( a stretch of about 40 miles) is often referred to as Montana’s “banana belt” because our weather is usually warmer than anywhere around here.


    Comment by montucky — March 7, 2008 @ 5:27 pm

  19. Man you live up in the mountains and you are getting wildflowers before I do Terry, not fair at all šŸ™‚


    Comment by Bernie Kasper — March 8, 2008 @ 9:20 pm

  20. Bernie,

    There must be some very unusual combination going on in that spot that I don’t understand because usually the first wild flowers are on the valley floor. It was a big surprise to see them there.


    Comment by montucky — March 8, 2008 @ 9:29 pm

  21. I saw my first buttercup on march 9 this year. Last year it was march 8. In 2005 I had a buttercup february 9. That was early. The latest they came out was april 1. Two years in a row they came out the day after the full moon. I’m at 6700′. I find the buttercups on south facing slopes near the tops of the ridges. An interesting thing I noticed about these little buttercups, is in the heat of the day sometimes they curl their leaf up over their flower. I guess to sheild themselves from the sun. Hard to imagine too much sun this time of year. If you don’t see them, sometimes they bloom under the snow. They keep their blooms even if they get snowed on. So, look for the yellow snow. Follow the grouse. They like them too. No chipmunks yet. Lots of green sprouts where the snow gets blown thin. The race is on. Still a good wind-blown snow pack, above average in depth and dense. Could take longer to melt. Had good october rains the last two years which seems to help get the moisture deep into the ground and benefits the deep rooted vegetation. Doesn’t seem to affect the shallow roots too much. Saw a bald eagle and a woodpecker today and of course the crow family. I’m sure they saw me too. Take care


    Comment by chris — March 10, 2008 @ 10:45 pm

  22. You are at a much higher elevation than I am here. We have had chipmunks out for over a week now, and I saw the first blue birds yesterday, but we’re at 2,500 feet. We also have good snow pack in the higher elevations, for the first time in about ten years, and I’m very happy about that! We have several bald eagles that winter here, but we’re seeing a lot of summer birds starting to return now. It’s a very exciting time of year.

    Thanks for visiting and commenting!


    Comment by montucky — March 11, 2008 @ 10:37 am

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