Montana Outdoors

March 19, 2008

Don’t overlook the little ones

Filed under: Montana, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures, Wildflowers — montucky @ 6:31 pm

During a leisurely stroll down by the river yesterday, this came by on the tracks above.

Rail Link

It’s either brand new or someone did one heck of a job washing and waxing it. Either way it just had to be photographed, and standing 12 – 15 feet tall, fifty feet long and weighing in at what, maybe 50 tons, it just had to be noticed.

These however, growing just 100 feet from the tracks, on the river bank below, would have been very easy to overlook. They are only an eighth of an inch across and an inch tall, and personally I greatly prefer them to the locomotive, even if I have absolutely no idea what they are. They are only the second flower I’ve seen in bloom here this spring. (Revised after some great sleuthing by Winterwoman, theseflowers are Whitlow Grass draba verna)

March 18

March 18


  1. Okay, where is our local flower expert. The petals in pairs are interesting here. Much better than the locomotive, too.



    Comment by knightofswords — March 19, 2008 @ 7:01 pm

  2. Started looking in one of my wildflower books and came up a photo of field chickweed that looks sort of like these flowers.



    Comment by knightofswords — March 19, 2008 @ 7:30 pm

  3. I saw some chickweed information too, and I’m thinking it must be one of those species. The only photos I found though had 5 sets of 2 petals, and these had only 4 sets. I understand that there are perhaps a hundred sub species, and it is likely one of them.


    Comment by montucky — March 19, 2008 @ 8:08 pm

  4. That’s one nice looking train! If someone did wash/wax it, they did a great job! 🙂
    Those little flowers are adorable. The petals are quite interesting. I’ve never seen anything like those before.


    Comment by AK_Adventurer — March 19, 2008 @ 8:12 pm

  5. Yes, they are really pretty little blossoms. They’re so small though that without some kind of magnification it’s hard to get a good look at them. That’s one of the times when I wish I had a better lens.


    Comment by montucky — March 19, 2008 @ 8:41 pm

  6. Those little flowers give me hope that spring truly is around the corner.


    Comment by Sandy — March 19, 2008 @ 10:23 pm

  7. What a beautiful shot of the little flower…..yes, it is the season for chickweed. Must be some Montana variety I have never seen. My flower beds are full of the Southern variety right now. It is a weed for sure but it is the first thing that really takes off with vigor.
    Anyway your photos are just excellent. Thank you. What a treat! You have a great eye. The train juxtaposed with the delicate spring flower was a nice touch.


    Comment by nouveaufauves — March 19, 2008 @ 11:51 pm

  8. That locomotive is impressive and in blue! I really like the blue. All I have seen and photographed where I live in Kansas are yellow locomotives. Lovely photos of the little flowers. Wonderful perspectives and captures of large and small.

    I’ve really enjoyed all your photos here at your blog… and those of the locomotives as well. Wonderful. 🙂


    Comment by Anna Surface — March 20, 2008 @ 4:34 am

  9. What a contrast – mighty blue steel and the tiniest of flowers. Isn’t the detail amazing in nature. I mean really – petals that tiny split in halves. A mystery.
    Happy first day of spring – the flowers will really start popping soon.


    Comment by barbara — March 20, 2008 @ 6:59 am

  10. Sandy,

    Me too! It was a pleasant surprise to see them greeting the new spring!


    Comment by montucky — March 20, 2008 @ 8:46 am

  11. nouveaufauves,

    Your plants must be quite a bit ahead of ours now. I remember the beauty of spring in North Carolina!


    Comment by montucky — March 20, 2008 @ 8:50 am

  12. Almost looks like somebody spent some time washing and waxing the little guys as well.


    Comment by wolf — March 20, 2008 @ 8:56 am

  13. Anna,

    The blue engines are from Montana Rail Link. They do local runs within the state, but keep pretty busy. Most of the others running the rails through here are from Burlington Northern – Santa Fe. We see lots of traffic headed for the coast, including aircraft bodies, I imagine coming from your area to Boeing in Seattle for final assembly.

    Thanks you for visiting and commenting!


    Comment by montucky — March 20, 2008 @ 9:00 am

  14. Barbara,

    It’s kind of funny: I was trying to get a decent shot at the blossoms when I heard the train coming up river and took a break for that, then had difficulty finding the small patch of flowers again.
    Yes, happy Spring!


    Comment by montucky — March 20, 2008 @ 9:03 am

  15. Wolf,

    I’m glad nature takes care of them and I don’t have to. They’re so small it would be a real task! Amazing little things, too. The past few mornings they’ve had a light coat of snow over them and yet they are doing just fine!


    Comment by montucky — March 20, 2008 @ 9:05 am

  16. Hmm! Those flowers are interesting but have me stumped.

    Speaking of things we often overlook … there’s a pro landscape photographer named Carr Clifton who once wrote that he always likes to include (in the foreground) those things that most of us just walk on without noticing. I agree that it’s important to include “the small things” in our photos that too many folks just miss.

    Great photos! (And I love that shiny locomotive.)


    Comment by Janet Wilkins — March 20, 2008 @ 9:41 am

  17. Janet,

    I think Carr has something there! It’s also interesting to consider what we see and what we don’t. Personally, I tend to see much, maybe even most, of what’s in the wild country, and the knees are worn out of most of my jeans from getting down to examine small things, look into caves, etc. On the other hand, although I haven’t tested it lately, I’ll bet I miss a lot of things when I visit a city. An anomaly stands out in what are familiar surroundings.


    Comment by montucky — March 20, 2008 @ 10:10 am

  18. Thank you for giving me an excuse to practice using my Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide. Here’s what I came up with: Whitlow Grass (Draba verna)


    Comment by Jennifer — March 20, 2008 @ 10:15 am

  19. Jennifer,

    Thanks for the ID! Great job!

    I hope you’re starting to feel better!


    Comment by montucky — March 20, 2008 @ 11:09 am

  20. Both are wonderful subjects but my butt would be up in the air and my nose on the ground photographing the wildflowers, beautiful shots Terry 🙂


    Comment by Bernie Kasper — March 20, 2008 @ 8:46 pm

  21. Yup, that’s about the way I do it too, although I also find myself in the prone position a lot. Fortunately there’s never anyone around or they’d probably think of me as some species of large snake with only one eye!


    Comment by montucky — March 20, 2008 @ 9:21 pm

  22. wow! I’m lodging that into my peeky little brain. Very cool. (Thanks to both you and Winterwoman)


    Comment by aullori — March 21, 2008 @ 5:35 pm

  23. When you look for them, Lori, remember they’re really, really small. I also noticed today that they close up if there’s no sun.


    Comment by montucky — March 21, 2008 @ 6:40 pm

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