Montana Outdoors

February 13, 2009

Them thar groundhogs don’t know what they’s talkin’ about!

The first of the season.


(On a rocky slope 500 feet above the river, watered by night-time frost and nourished by the droppings of Big Horn sheep, there was exactly one Buttercup in bloom today, most likely a Sagebrush Buttercup, Ranunculus glaberrimus Hook. )



  1. Hello from New York! I can’t wait for the warmer weather. I think the snow is over for this winter here though.


    Comment by mike — February 13, 2009 @ 5:20 pm

  2. Wow,…. spring has arrived for you. We’re still under lots of snow. Here in the east we have buttercups, too. But they are a different flower.


    Comment by Cedar — February 13, 2009 @ 5:20 pm

  3. I dearly hope you are right Montucky!…great find and capture regardless.


    Comment by Ann from Montana — February 13, 2009 @ 5:44 pm

  4. Mike,

    I’m getting anxious for spring too, but we’ll have many more winter days before then. Hopefully most of the snow will be at high elevations though.

    Thanks for visiting!


    Comment by montucky — February 13, 2009 @ 5:50 pm

  5. Cedar,

    I wouldn’t exactly say that spring is here yet. Those are pretty hardy little plants! The first I found last year was on March 6, and those had lots of snow on them before it was over.

    I’ll look forward to your photos of the eastern variety of Buttercups when they bloom.


    Comment by montucky — February 13, 2009 @ 5:55 pm

  6. Ann,

    I think this is just a brief reprieve, but who knows!


    Comment by montucky — February 13, 2009 @ 5:56 pm

  7. Wow, you don’t have to post summer photos for a dash of color! You have the real thing.


    Comment by Bo — February 13, 2009 @ 9:00 pm

  8. All I could find was just the one, Bo. Sure was nice to see that spot of color though!


    Comment by montucky — February 13, 2009 @ 9:34 pm

  9. OMG! No freaking way…!!!! we still have a foot and a half of snow on the ground. A snow buttercup.. Right ON! (I believe in this shot a lot more than the infamous rodent I can tell you that!) I cannot explain how happy this shot makes me! Thank your for sharing it!


    Comment by aullori — February 14, 2009 @ 12:41 am

  10. I echo aullori: OMG! No freakin’ way!

    It’s so not fair that you get buttercups so much earlier than we do. You’re only an hour away!


    Comment by Patia — February 14, 2009 @ 2:00 am

  11. Ah! How lovely, and lovely for you to find this sunny burst of color. The trees are heavily budded where I live. I’m going to take a walk-about to see what may be springing out even though it is still winter time. 🙂


    Comment by Anna Surface — February 14, 2009 @ 8:27 am

  12. Lori,

    Yes, isn’t it wonderful how much cheer one little yellow face like that can bring this time of year!


    Comment by montucky — February 14, 2009 @ 9:07 am

  13. Patia,

    Well, this one is very early. They seem to come out sooner on the steep slopes well above the river where the sun hits early and stays late. I’ve seen other wildflowers appear earlier than they usually do in those locations too.

    Used to be, way back when, the earliest wildflowers in your area came up where the Trempers shopping center now is.


    Comment by montucky — February 14, 2009 @ 9:12 am

  14. Anna,

    A walk-about is probably a good idea. When I climbed that slope I certainly wasn’t looking for wildflowers. It just happened to be one of the only places around here where I could get up above the valley without being blocked by snow and ice. It was a very steep climb, but worthwhile.


    Comment by montucky — February 14, 2009 @ 9:17 am

  15. How lovely! A dash of yellow in February! Hope springs eternal!


    Comment by Maureen — February 14, 2009 @ 8:33 pm

  16. It does, Maureen! I’ve been so ready for a sign of spring this year!


    Comment by montucky — February 14, 2009 @ 8:55 pm

  17. It is hard to imagine wildflowers ever growing where Tremper’s is now. I’ve heard that bitterroots once grew on the valley floor, too.


    Comment by Patia — February 15, 2009 @ 2:16 am

  18. It’s precious! It brings to mind that song, “Sunshine On My Sheep Droppings Makes Me Happy” 😉 he he he


    Comment by Tabbie — February 15, 2009 @ 7:04 am

  19. […] in Montana found one perfect Buttercup, a beautiful hint of spring. I decided to do a walk-about in search of anything that may be pushing […]


    Pingback by Leaves-Still Winter « Surface & Surface Photography — February 15, 2009 @ 7:39 am

  20. Patia,

    Bitterroots grew in that location too. Each year Indians would come in and harvest some roots. WHen I was a boy I would make it point to go help them: they were fascinating to talk to and be around. This year I want to be sure to look for the bitterroots in Camas Prairie: I missed them last year and there aren’t very many left around here.


    Comment by montucky — February 15, 2009 @ 9:01 am

  21. Tabbie,

    I didn’t know you were aware of that old Montana song! By the way, here’s a photo of my pack on the hillside where I stopped for a break: there happened to be sheep droppings spread all over the hillside and you can see them in front of the pack


    Comment by montucky — February 15, 2009 @ 9:10 am

  22. Wow, what a wonderful story, to have had that experience in your boyhood. And Camas Prairie — one of my favorite places on Earth.

    I find bitterroots on a rocky ridge in the hills where I live.


    Comment by Patia — February 15, 2009 @ 2:27 pm

  23. Patia,

    You’re fortunate to be able to find bitterroots any more. There are so few around. I missed them last year and almost missed the camas blooming until I ran into a lot of them in a big meadow up on Thompson River.

    I really miss the way Missoula and the surrounding area was during the time when I grew up there. What a wonderful place it was!


    Comment by montucky — February 15, 2009 @ 3:07 pm

  24. it’s really been spring like for us already!


    Comment by silken — February 15, 2009 @ 5:30 pm

  25. Silken,

    We get a little news of your weather here. You have had an interesting weather year! At the moment we’re slicing a bit back toward winter, with last night at 18° and today’s high at 34°. I like even the previews of spring though.


    Comment by montucky — February 15, 2009 @ 5:50 pm

  26. Oh wow!! Good spotting!! That’s beautiful!! I’m not quite ready to let go of winter yet (I’d really love more snow) but the harbinger of spring is just *gorgeous*!


    Comment by gradschoolsara — February 15, 2009 @ 6:22 pm

  27. Sara,

    I still think we’ll have more snow before we’re through and certainly hope so. This time snow is so enjoyable, knowing that it won’t last another 5 months, and I really love the rapid changes of weather during the spring.


    Comment by montucky — February 15, 2009 @ 7:06 pm

  28. Don’t do this to me Terry, I am still 5-6 weeks away from my first wildflower, I am sooooo jealous !!!

    Beautiful work !!


    Comment by Bernie Kasper — February 15, 2009 @ 9:07 pm

  29. Bernie,

    I probably won’t see another one for the next month either. It was a great sight though!


    Comment by montucky — February 15, 2009 @ 9:28 pm

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