Montana Outdoors

January 31, 2010

What’s in a phrase…

Filed under: Spring, Trees — Tags: , , , , , , — montucky @ 10:49 pm

I suppose to remain semantically correct, the objects in these photos are correctly called “catkins” and not “pussy willows”. Technically, pussy willows are catkins but not all catkins are pussy willows. Now that I’ve managed to make that uncomfortably difficult, here are a couple photos I took today of brand new catkins just beginning to form on a Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides) just up the road.

Catkins of an Aspen

Catkin of an Aspen

Another name for this tree is “Trembling Aspen” which refers to to its leaves which flutter in the slightest breeze. I probably shouldn’t mention that an aboriginal name for the trembling aspen translates as “women’s tongue” or “noisy leaf”… no, I knew better than to mention that.


January 30, 2010

Ready for spring?

Filed under: Spring, Wildflowers — Tags: , , , , , — montucky @ 9:40 pm

Today at the very crest of a small ridge in a sheltered place completely exposed to the sun (when it’s out) this little messenger of spring was all ready to burst into bloom.

Sagebrush Buttercup

Sagebrush Buttercup

(The Sagebrush Buttercup, Ranunculus glaberrimus, is the earliest of our spring-blooming wildflowers.)

The next time the sun comes out, I will visit this place again.


January 29, 2010

Club lichens

While I was walking this afternoon in a deep canyon the sun came out very briefly and illuminated the firs and cedars on the south side of the trail, showing off their greenery in a splendid fashion. Being a little slow on the uptake, I got the camera out just a tad too late for the colorful shot. However…

On the other side of the trail, growing among the ice clumps on the steep, north-facing slope of the canyon in a place that never, even in mid summer, receives the direct rays of the sun, was a large patch of lichens, with bright colors of their own: I tentatively identified three of them as club lichens.

Club lichen
Devil’s matchstick (Pilophorus acicularis)

Club lichen
Sulphur cladonia (Cladonia sulphurina)

Club lichen
Horn Cladonia (Cladonia cornuta)


January 28, 2010

The Coeur d’Alenes 1/28

Coeur d'Alene Mountains

It was so good to see a bit of blue sky today over the Coeur d’Alenes. January has largely been a dark gray month here. There was blue sky on the 6th and 8th and a little blue showing through a week ago.


January 27, 2010

Canarygrass, perhaps?

Filed under: Montana — Tags: , , , — montucky @ 10:59 pm

Winter grass


January 26, 2010

On a calm day

Filed under: Flathead river — Tags: , , — montucky @ 10:35 pm

The Flathead River on a calm day

The Flathead River on a calm winter day.

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