Montana Outdoors

March 12, 2013

It’s a little bit Spring

Tucked neatly in between snow flurries these days there have been periods of sunshine, and Nature is proceeding with the inevitable journey toward Summer. The Buttercups which have been in bloom for a month on Buttercup Ridge have now spread to sunlit places along the valley floor


Sagebrush Buttercup Ranunculus glaberrimus

and among them are the tiny white flowers of Whitlow Grass.

Whitlow Grass

Whitlow Grass

Whitlow Grass

Whitlow Grass

Whitlow Grass, Draba verna

Near where these were blooming there was a section of an old abandoned barb-wire fence and it appeared to be a danger to the deer who crossed that hillside on their way to the river to drink. As I knelt down to cut the pieces of old rusted wire, this very early bloom of Woodland Star became visible, perhaps as a small reward for my effort.

Woodland Star

Woodland Star, Lithophragma parviflorum



  1. Are buttercups usually among the first flowers to appear as Spring approaches?


    Comment by Malcolm R. Campbell — March 12, 2013 @ 8:33 pm

    • Yes, they are the very first, usually by several weeks. Very hardy little plants!


      Comment by montucky — March 12, 2013 @ 9:04 pm

  2. Gorgeous detail, Terry…such beautiful Nature.


    Comment by seekraz — March 12, 2013 @ 8:42 pm

  3. Nice to see the buttercups progressing and how nice to help the deer have a safer environment. Looking forward to all your spring flowers.


    Comment by Candace — March 12, 2013 @ 8:42 pm

    • These are the earliest. It will be several more weeks before the rest start to bloom. I’m already looking forward to my annual date with the Trilliums at Munson Creek in mid April!


      Comment by montucky — March 12, 2013 @ 9:05 pm

  4. The flowers are especially precious at this time of year, but I’m impressed by how clear your photos are.


    Comment by wordsfromanneli — March 12, 2013 @ 8:43 pm

    • These were taken through my favorite lens, a 60mm Micro-Nikkor. It was so good to photograph wildflowers again!


      Comment by montucky — March 12, 2013 @ 9:08 pm

      • And I’ve missed your posts. You’ve been very quiet lately.


        Comment by wordsfromanneli — March 13, 2013 @ 8:39 am

        • Most of my blog activity is a result of my ventures into the back country and therefore it is at a pretty low ebb this time of year. It will start picking up again soon and I plan to be very active after June, when the trails into the high country become accessible.


          Comment by montucky — March 13, 2013 @ 10:44 pm

  5. You are surprisingly ahead of us here in KC. Predicted low of 19 and not a bud in sight which is very odd; we’ve been 10 – 20 degrees below normal for a month now. Poor timing for a cold snap, wish it happened in January instead of March. Yay for Buttercup ridge 🙂 and thanks for sharing your treasures with us.


    Comment by Homestead Ramblings — March 12, 2013 @ 8:46 pm

    • It seems this winter the major storms and cold weather has barely brushed us here and gone on toward your area. We have not had a single day this winter with sub-zero temperatures, and very little valley snow (which isn’t a good thing). Our mountains have had a relatively normal winter though and are still getting pretty good amounts of snow.


      Comment by montucky — March 12, 2013 @ 9:11 pm

  6. Even Montana is showing its spring color — it feels like I am living at the poles with all this unmelted white stuff around.


    Comment by Sue — March 12, 2013 @ 9:31 pm

    • In this little piece of Montana we seem to have just about missed winter this year. It touched us briefly, then moved on. Actually, I would have enjoyed a bit more winter, especially the snow. I’m looking forward to spring now though but not to the fire season of late summer.


      Comment by montucky — March 12, 2013 @ 11:02 pm

  7. The first spring flowers always seem to have an extra special beauty. Superb photos!


    Comment by Jo Woolf — March 13, 2013 @ 1:06 am

  8. They are very nice, lucky you!


    Comment by bentehaarstad — March 13, 2013 @ 4:00 am

    • They are just starting. More species will begin to bloom in several weeks.


      Comment by montucky — March 13, 2013 @ 8:29 pm

  9. Beautifu!. You’re way ahead of us and most of the rest of the northern part of the country, I think. These are the first true wildflower photos that I’ve seen from the U.S. on any blog so far this spring.


    Comment by New Hampshire Gardener — March 13, 2013 @ 4:20 am

    • The buttercups are about on their normal schedule but the others are a little early. Won’t be long now though!


      Comment by montucky — March 13, 2013 @ 8:32 pm

  10. Beautiful floral series, it’s great !


    Comment by apple14 — March 13, 2013 @ 8:20 am

  11. All of these spring flower photos are excellent, but the 5th from the top is exquisite. It’s amazing what will blossom even in the late winter. Signs of wonderful things to come!


    Comment by WildBill — March 13, 2013 @ 3:21 pm

    • Thanks Bill. Those little ones are really tiny and although they seem fragile, they must be very hardy. Perhaps growing that close to the ground helps them too.


      Comment by montucky — March 13, 2013 @ 8:33 pm

  12. Aww! What sweet little faces…


    Comment by Roberta — March 13, 2013 @ 9:48 pm

    • They are, aren’t they! I hate knowing that so many of them live out their beautiful little lives receiving no attention at all for their efforts.


      Comment by montucky — March 13, 2013 @ 10:48 pm

  13. I was waiting when You find these and now You filled out my wish. Thank You. Your photos are so admirable every time and I have to watch them for a long time. They are small, aren’t they?

    We have here cold spell in spring. Grrr. Yesterday morning the temperature was – -26ºC / -14.8ºF and this Friday morning -23ºC = -9.4ºF. Happily Sun is warming days at this season very much.


    Comment by Sartenada — March 15, 2013 @ 12:46 am

    • Yes, many of the wildflowers are very small. The little white ones are only about .3cm across.

      Your weather is much colder now than it is here. We have had a warm winter with no days below zero (F).


      Comment by montucky — March 15, 2013 @ 9:38 pm

  14. Oh! flowers! i might have to travel south to visit flowers…. not sure if i can wait till they appear here 🙂
    your photos are lovely.


    Comment by Tammie — March 15, 2013 @ 2:24 pm

    • They’re just starting. It will be a few more weeks before much else starts to bloom, but mid-April is the best time for trilliums.


      Comment by montucky — March 15, 2013 @ 9:39 pm

  15. Love the buttercups! More so than the poppies.


    Comment by twoscamps — March 15, 2013 @ 8:12 pm

    • Buttercups are friendly little things and good forecasters for the rest of spring.


      Comment by montucky — March 15, 2013 @ 9:41 pm

  16. Beautiful photos! Can’t wait for spring and warm weather!


    Comment by MA — March 16, 2013 @ 10:25 am

    • Thanks! Yes, it will be nice once the snow and ice permit access to the high country again!


      Comment by montucky — March 16, 2013 @ 9:33 pm

  17. It seems just wonderful to me that grasses would have such pretty flowers. We’re starting to see a few blooms now – evening primrose, Texas dandelion. The redbuds are blooming nicely now, too – although we’ve moved into an exceedingly dry period with no rain in sight.


    Comment by shoreacres — March 16, 2013 @ 4:58 pm

    • I’m not sure that Whitlow Grass is more than just a name. The blossoms are very tiny though. Your flowers are so far ahead of ours. We have had a lot of rainy days and snowy days, but not much by way of volume. The next few days will bring fairly heavy snow here, but only at the higher elevations. Probably not much in the valleys. We have even begun to have a few grass fires already.


      Comment by montucky — March 16, 2013 @ 9:36 pm

  18. Whitlow grass… that’s a first for me. LOVELY!


    Comment by kcjewel — March 16, 2013 @ 7:31 pm

    • It’s usually overlooked. The blossoms are only about 1/8 inch across. I might have missed it had I not gotten down close to the ground to photograph the buttercups.


      Comment by montucky — March 16, 2013 @ 9:37 pm

  19. So great to see first signs of spring. Lovely imagery!


    Comment by Marcie — March 17, 2013 @ 3:19 pm

    • These were covered by snow last night, but this morning brought more spring… Robins!


      Comment by montucky — March 18, 2013 @ 7:30 pm

  20. A little bit of Spring….and much more to follow, I hope!


    Comment by Mary Strong-Spaid — March 18, 2013 @ 9:13 pm

    • Everything will start changing now, over the next several weeks. I dearly love spring here with so many dramatic weather swings.


      Comment by montucky — March 18, 2013 @ 9:57 pm

  21. You are just teasing me with these great shots Terry…I need green !!!!


    Comment by Bernie Kasper — March 26, 2013 @ 1:42 pm

    • We are getting the early wildflowers and small areas of green. Most of our valley is still brown, but the winter grasses are bright green. There is still 20 ft of snow on the peaks that we can see.


      Comment by montucky — March 26, 2013 @ 8:56 pm

  22. Buttercups show up later in Ohio than they do in your neck of the woods- great shots!


    Comment by Watching Seasons — March 31, 2013 @ 7:17 am

    • They are the earliest here. Now it’s almost time for the rest to start showing up.


      Comment by montucky — March 31, 2013 @ 10:06 pm

  23. Good series – I love the narrow depth of field (Nikkor micro lenses are special are they not, I have the 55mm & 200mm Ais – love them)



    Comment by David A Lockwood — April 20, 2013 @ 10:19 pm

    • Thanks David. Yes, I really like the Nikkor lenses that I have, the 60mm f/2.8D and the AF-S 70-300mm VR.


      Comment by montucky — April 20, 2013 @ 11:43 pm

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