Montana Outdoors

February 28, 2012

Yellow is showing up now on Buttercup ridge.

Filed under: Wildflowers, Winter — Tags: , , — montucky @ 8:52 pm

After so many days and even weeks of cloudy gray skies, there was a little sun today. Our thermometer recorded a low reading of 13°F last night though and even with the sun it didn’t become a warm day. Still, the appearance of the sun warranted another visit to Buttercup ridge, and that resulted in a look at the first wildflower blossoms of 2012! Apparently even temperatures in the teens don’t discourage the hardy little Sagebrush Buttercups: four were in full bloom.

Sagebrush Buttercup

Sagebrush Buttercup

Sagebrush Buttercup

Sagebrush Buttercup

In a shady place on a cliff just down off the ridge top, Nature had arranged a different kind of display too, an icy one, as a reminder that winter hasn’t yet totally surrendered to spring:

Icicles

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61 Comments »

  1. Signs of spring in the midst of winter. I love the hardy little buttercups.

    Like

    Comment by Candace — February 28, 2012 @ 8:58 pm

    • They sure are hardy little things. Probably the most recognizable of all the wildflowers too because they are the first to bloom.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 28, 2012 @ 10:43 pm

  2. You gave each buttercup a photo on your blog. Generous of you and quite equal treatment. I saw a spread of verbena this afternoon near the corral and a flock of Sandhill Cranes flying north. Sure signs of Spring down here too.

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    Comment by Jack Matthews — February 28, 2012 @ 9:12 pm

    • I thought they each deserved some attention. They will not be seen by anyone except through the blog. When spring starts to show up, it makes the long winter worthwhile.

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      Comment by montucky — February 28, 2012 @ 10:45 pm

  3. Nice macros. The first things to bloom in NH is usually the crocuses. I checked before I set out for AZ and saw that though they had sprouted, they had not yet produced any flowers. Maybe they have by now.

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    Comment by jomegat — February 28, 2012 @ 10:30 pm

    • Our crocuses are always the first domestic flower to bloom here too. To my knowledge, there are not any wild crocus around here. There is a Prairie Crocus (AKA Pasqueflower) in the area but I’ve never seen one. Despite its name, it is not related to the true crocuses, which are in the iris family.

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      Comment by montucky — February 28, 2012 @ 10:52 pm

      • Montucky, when you come to Missoula to view the Ansel Adams exhibit (which departs April 16), you should hike the M trail up Mount Sentinel above the university,and look for the Pasque Flowers there. They are exquisite!

        We have a few on our lot, but I don’t know if they’ll be in bloom by then. (I haven’t even seen buttercups here at 3750′ yet.)

        Would love to meet you and go for a wildflower hike with you.

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        Comment by Kim — April 3, 2012 @ 9:43 am

        • Hi Kim! Thanks for the info about the pasque flowers. I’ve always wanted to see them! I’m heading out on a trip tomorrow for a week or so and don’t know if I can make it to Missoula around the 16th, but I’ll let you know if I can I’d love to go for a hike with you! I haven’t hiked to the “M” since about 1960!

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          Comment by montucky — April 3, 2012 @ 8:21 pm

          • You’ll have to come BEFORE April 16th if you want to see the Ansel Adams exhibit.

            But do contact me if you make it to Missoula for a flower photograhing hike:
            email me at kbirck(at)aol(dot)com

            as long as I can bring MY camera too!

            Like

            Comment by Anonymous — April 4, 2012 @ 6:17 pm

  4. Buttercups in Feb! Those flowers always make me smile (esp. if I have toughed out a MT winter). Cheers!

    Like

    Comment by Maureen — February 28, 2012 @ 11:36 pm

    • Yes, just when winter becomes burdensome the pretty yellow appears. I smiled too.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 29, 2012 @ 10:43 pm

  5. Amazing photos, the buttercup so waxy and perfect. The icicles are beautiful! Colin noticed celandines out yesterday in the Scottish Borders (similar yellow flowers, but more delicate). Spring is definitely here – the birds are singing from 5.30 am now.

    Like

    Comment by Jo Woolf — February 29, 2012 @ 12:45 am

    • The little buttercups have rather primitive blossoms, but they are hardy and durable. It was exciting to me to see them and within a few hundred yards, the icicles. Few of our migratory birds have arrived yet. they know better!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 29, 2012 @ 10:47 pm

  6. The sage buttercups are just lovely, beautiful shots. Love the icicles! Great macro shots.

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    Comment by eileeninmd — February 29, 2012 @ 3:28 am

    • Thanks Eileen. It was a pleasure shooting wildflowers again: I have been getting rusty!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 29, 2012 @ 10:51 pm

  7. Wow, that seems early! Sweet find 🙂

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    Comment by TheDailyClick — February 29, 2012 @ 3:44 am

    • They are actually later than the last few years. I have never figured out why, but in that smal isolated spot they bloom about a month before anywhere else around here.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 29, 2012 @ 10:52 pm

  8. Remarkable adaptation; a blossom that can withstand sub-20’s temps. Here in the Texas Hill Country, having had a bit of a break in our historic drought, the signature bluebonnets are just beginning to blossom along with the sweetly pungent agarita.

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    Comment by Dave at collinda — February 29, 2012 @ 7:49 am

    • Dave – where in the Hill Country are you seeing the bluebonnets? I heard about the agarita (yum – jelly!) but it never occurred to me the bluebonnets would be out yet. I’ve got friends up around Fredericksburg and Comfort – a road trip will be needed soon if they’re going to be early.

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      Comment by shoreacres — February 29, 2012 @ 7:52 pm

      • I am near Johnson City, about 35 miles due east of F’burg.

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        Comment by Dave at collinda — March 1, 2012 @ 8:50 am

    • Your flowers are way ahead of ours. I’ve read that the wildflowers in the Sonoran desert are in full bloom now too.

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      Comment by montucky — February 29, 2012 @ 10:54 pm

  9. I see it is, and doesn’t it look beautiful? The fact that you can find them this early is still amazing to me. We are going to have snow tonight into tomorrow.

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    Comment by sandy — February 29, 2012 @ 8:19 am

    • We had a flash of snow last night and early this evening another half an inch. Our high country is still getting good amounts, about a foot in the last week, giving the mountains a snow level about at the 30 year average. There is still much more to come and that will be good for our streams and the aquifer next summer!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 29, 2012 @ 10:56 pm

  10. So beautiful…almost elegant, somehow. 🙂

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    Comment by seekraz — February 29, 2012 @ 9:08 am

    • In comparison to the rather drab scene for the last couple of months, “elegant” describes them quite well. It’s so nice to see the little dots of yellow again!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 29, 2012 @ 10:57 pm

  11. Spring and all the beauty that comes with it is coming soon!! Super photos!!!

    Like

    Comment by dhphotosite — February 29, 2012 @ 9:47 am

    • It sure is! This winter I have been quite diligent in getting the remodeling done on our house while the trails are all iced up. By early summer when there is access into the high country, I will be free to go!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 29, 2012 @ 10:59 pm

  12. Hi Montucky, How wonderful. Those eagerly anticipated blossoms are beautiful and cheery! Have a fabulously nice day today!

    Like

    Comment by wildlifewatcher — February 29, 2012 @ 11:45 am

    • They sure are cherry, wildlifewatcher! So good to see them again!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 29, 2012 @ 10:59 pm

  13. The first sign of Spring! Yay! I’m soooo ready for it!

    Like

    Comment by Barbara — February 29, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

    • Now that I’ve seen spring color, I’m getting antsy for spring again too!

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      Comment by montucky — February 29, 2012 @ 11:00 pm

  14. Oh, how I cherish a spot of color in the colorless world of February! Those buttercups hit the spot, Montucky!! I remember as a kid, we would hold buttercups under our chin. If your chin turned yellow, that meant you really did like butter. Silly, little childhood moment, but your photos reminded me of that, just like your photo of the ice reminded me, it’s not quite spring yet.

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    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — February 29, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

    • The buttercups take me back to my childhood too, and lots of good memories. I am fortunate to have grown up roaming these same mountains and valleys and, believe it or not, I still remember where the wildflowers grew back then. Some of their habitat is growing brick and mortar now though, unfortunately.

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      Comment by montucky — February 29, 2012 @ 11:04 pm

    • We did the same thing with Dandelions, maybe because buttercups were not common where I grew up in Wisconsin.

      Like

      Comment by Kim — April 3, 2012 @ 9:45 am

  15. oh how wonderful to find a little flower this time of year! and your photos are wonderfully clear and beautiful.
    ice ice baby…. we have lots of that around here and the most snow i have had this season fills our woods.

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    Comment by Tammie — February 29, 2012 @ 6:28 pm

    • This is the perfect time of year to have deep snow! For me it is even better to enjoy the snow knowing that it will soon be replaced by green grass and wildflowers.

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      Comment by montucky — February 29, 2012 @ 11:05 pm

  16. The buttercups are beautiful – they almost look like the wax flowers from years ago. And I love the melting icicles combined with the greenery – one season melting into another.

    Like

    Comment by shoreacres — February 29, 2012 @ 7:54 pm

  17. Both types of scenes show a good view of the transition from winter to spring that we’ll all be seeing now.

    Like

    Comment by Ratty — March 1, 2012 @ 4:54 pm

    • Yes, it’s about to begin! This is an exciting time of the year!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — March 2, 2012 @ 10:57 pm

  18. Those are strange flowers. I can’t think of anything we have here to compare to them. The petals look quite leathery and not delicate at all. It looks like it would stand up to a lot of weather.

    Like

    Comment by New Hampshire Gardener — March 1, 2012 @ 5:29 pm

    • The petals are very durable, but not heavy or thick as they look in the close-up photos. They are very hardy little plants though and grow so low to the ground that they are not food for the animals (and they are poisonous besides). I did a little research and see that there is a species of buttercup in your area, but from the few photos of it that I saw it doesn’t look much like these.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — March 2, 2012 @ 11:00 pm

  19. Perfect photos Montucky, the clarity is unbelievable! And yes, it is really strange that you have wildflowers so early. An amazing gift that just seems to be coming back year after year!

    Like

    Comment by WildBill — March 1, 2012 @ 9:29 pm

    • I don’t even remember exactly how I stumbled across that little place three years ago, but their early bloom there really is a gift; an early look at what wpring will soon be bringing.

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      Comment by montucky — March 2, 2012 @ 11:01 pm

  20. Yellow buttercups delight our mind with their color. Last photo is also very interesting. Love Your photos.

    Like

    Comment by Sartenada — March 2, 2012 @ 12:12 am

    • The yellow spots can be seen from quite a distance. It struck me that in one location there were new flowers yet only so close by there were icicles. Not a usual combination!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — March 2, 2012 @ 11:03 pm

  21. Now those are a sight for sore eyes! still waiting for the first spring blooms here…

    Like

    Comment by kateri — March 2, 2012 @ 9:43 pm

    • Today I went to look at the exact location of the crocus in one of our flower beds that is usually the very first to bloom. It is now sleeping beneath a pile of about two feet of snow: it will be awhile yet!

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      Comment by montucky — March 2, 2012 @ 11:05 pm

  22. Gosh it seems too early but they are hardy, aren’t they? BTW, I just looked up Montucky in the urban dictionary and laughed out loud!

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    Comment by Tammy — March 4, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

    • They are the hardiest little flower that I know. Well, the definition has kept changing over the years.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — March 5, 2012 @ 8:30 pm

  23. That’s a great first flower to spot! Interesting that I saw my first wildflower here in Ohio on about the same day as you in Montana!

    Like

    Comment by Watching Seasons — March 5, 2012 @ 11:39 am

    • I saw your post! Same approximate time, different flowers! Interesting!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — March 5, 2012 @ 8:39 pm

  24. I take it that the buttercup is the first flower to bloom in your area? Very beautiful photographs. I keep telling myself that spring really isn’t here yet, but it is supposed to be 70+ tomorrow!! Makes it difficult to convince myself!

    Like

    Comment by kcjewel — March 5, 2012 @ 8:13 pm

    • THe buttercup is always the first wildflower, and Crocus seems to be the first domestic. We now have one of them in bloom too. The rest are still several weeks away, although this year, who knows! 70 is hot for this time of year! We had 60 yesterday though. We will be in the 20’s tonight though.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — March 5, 2012 @ 8:41 pm

  25. I love the buttercups, and the icicles are amazing!

    Like

    Comment by Val — March 8, 2012 @ 8:13 am

    • I thought the flowers and icicles were an interesting combination!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — March 9, 2012 @ 8:55 pm

  26. Is the place really called Buttercup Ridge, after the flowers, or is that just your personal name for it?

    Like

    Comment by Steve Schwartzman — March 9, 2012 @ 11:41 pm

    • That’s just my name for it after seeing the flowers there so early each year. It has no name and is probably never visited by anyone beside me and a few Big Horn sheep.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — March 10, 2012 @ 8:59 am

  27. Great shot Terry !!

    Like

    Comment by Bernie Kasper — March 12, 2012 @ 7:47 pm


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