Montana Outdoors

February 23, 2015

The third rapids & more lichens

Filed under: Lichens, Winter — Tags: , , , — montucky @ 10:11 pm

On the Clark Fork River, a half mile down stream from where I live there are two sets of rapids visible from the highway, much admired and often fished and photographed. A mile down stream from them is a third set of rapids but not visible and hardly known, but it can be reached by a mile hike through a section of state land from the far side of the river. I enjoy fishing there and visit at other times of the year also to enjoy the scenery and wildlife.

Today the temperature was about 20ยบF and an icy breeze was blowing down river, but the sky was clear and it was pretty down at the third rapids

Near third rapids

Clark Fork river

Clark Fork river

but what I found most interesting was the variety of lichens ( most of which I could not identify) growing on some exposed rocks and trees.

Green map ~ Rhizocarpon geographicum?

Green map ~ Rhizocarpon geographicum?

Green map ~ Rhizocarpon geographicum?

Green map ~ Rhizocarpon geographicum?

Unidentified lichen

Unidentified lichen

Unidentified lichen

Unidentified lichen

Unidentified lichen

Unidentified lichen

Unidentified lichen

Unidentified lichen

Unidentified lichen

And a few photos of one I recognize, Brown-eyed Sunshine ~ Vulpicida canadensis.

Brown-eyed Sunshine ~ Vulpicida canadensis

Brown-eyed Sunshine ~ Vulpicida canadensis

Brown-eyed Sunshine ~ Vulpicida canadensis

Brown-eyed Sunshine ~ Vulpicida canadensis

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51 Comments »

  1. It does not look like your one of your typical winter days.. Beautiful.. Although I am sure you are loving it. The lichen is so interesting.

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    Comment by Mother Hen — February 23, 2015 @ 11:01 pm

    • It’s far from typical for our winter, but there probably won’t be another like this for a lot of years. I’m sure the lichens have seen many like it in their long lives though.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 24, 2015 @ 12:11 am

  2. Such a pretty and interesting part of the world…I would like to set aside some time to see it this summer.

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    Comment by Charlie@Seattle Trekker — February 24, 2015 @ 12:00 am

    • I think you would enjoy it, Charlie. And it isn’t really all that far. I’d be up for a hike or two if you do get over here.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 24, 2015 @ 12:12 am

  3. The really enjoy your close-up pictures of flowers, mosses and lichens. (The river looks good, too.)

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    Comment by Malcolm R. Campbell — February 24, 2015 @ 12:04 am

    • There’s always something interesting around here. I guess my hopes for a snowshoe trip into Glacier won’t happen again this year. I see it’s pretty slushy around Apgar.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 24, 2015 @ 12:14 am

  4. Glorious photos! Lichens create such natural works of art!

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    Comment by Jo Woolf — February 24, 2015 @ 1:51 am

    • They do really decorate the rocks and cliffs everywhere here. They are usually not noticed, but were they gone I would miss them very much.

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      Comment by montucky — February 24, 2015 @ 8:51 am

  5. stunning pics! you live in such an amazing place!

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    Comment by Ru — February 24, 2015 @ 3:49 am

    • Thank you! Yes, it is amazing. There is still quite a bit of area that has not been altered by “progress” and we can see the world that nature itself has always cared for.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — February 24, 2015 @ 8:53 am

  6. The Brown-eyed Sunshine is one we don’t see in Ohio. Couldn’t help but note the absence of snow.

    Like

    Comment by centralohionature — February 24, 2015 @ 6:54 am

    • Brown-eyed sunshine seems to like the dead branches on pine trees so it must be a fast-growing species. Pretty though.
      We are sadly behind in snow accumulation this year, at about 73% of average. It misht be a tough summer for our streams.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 24, 2015 @ 8:56 am

  7. What fascinating lichen (and a marvellous spot to fish).

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    Comment by Vicki — February 24, 2015 @ 7:00 am

    • It is a good place for a big trout or two. I’m happy to say that there are still a few around!

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — February 24, 2015 @ 8:58 am

  8. Beautiful, clear, sunny days like that, when it’s only 20F always seemed to feel like they were at least 33F…minus that freezing breeze/wind, of course. Nice place for a hike, Terry…..

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    Comment by seekraz — February 24, 2015 @ 7:34 am

    • The breeze more than cancelled out the still weak warmth of the sun, but that’s why there’s always another layer of clothing in my pack and a light wind breaker. That’s another place that is seldom visited and close to home with good fishing.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 24, 2015 @ 9:01 am

      • You seem to have quite a few places nearby that are just heavenly!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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        Comment by seekraz — February 24, 2015 @ 10:19 pm

        • That’s one of the advantages of living in a county of 2,790 square miles with a population of 11,000 people (and I think there are about a thousand horses included that number too).

          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by montucky — February 24, 2015 @ 10:25 pm

  9. The variety among the lichens is amazing. It’s another reminder of the vast diversity of species in this world — even the ones we generally walk right past. I don’t know why the name “brown-eyed sunshine” seems so funny, but it does. For some reason, I think it ought to be “blue-eyed sunshine,” even though the eye clearly is brown. Who knows? But those photos of it are just wonderful, and quite a bright spot in the landscape.

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    Comment by shoreacres — February 24, 2015 @ 7:38 am

    • Yes the variety of lichens is amazing. They are very successful life forms whose continued existence depends mostly on our species leaving them alone. What’s truly amazing here is that there is a species of lichens in literally every place you look (away from developed areas). I think we would be surprised too if we know all of the uses that the wildlife have for them. I know that some of the hair lichens are responsible for the survival of our large ungulates during severe winters.

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      Comment by montucky — February 24, 2015 @ 9:07 am

  10. Love the pix – but that kind of weather is waaay too cold for me!!

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    Comment by debandtoby — February 24, 2015 @ 7:39 am

    • This is very mild weather for this time of year here, we those of us who live here have adapted to it and are always prepared for it. Someone once said that there is no such thing as inclement weather, only improper clothing. By the time summer comes I miss the refreshing feel of cold wind on my face.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 24, 2015 @ 9:10 am

      • how mild is this compared to your usual winters? It is much colder here in the East this winter (subzeros temps in NJ) and I am enjoying it, though if I say that around here people think I am crazy. Would love to be in western MT!

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        Comment by Robin — February 25, 2015 @ 6:31 am

        • This has been the mildest in well over 20 years, averaging somewhere around 10 degrees warmer that usual and our snow pack is only about 73% of normal. I love having snow, knowing how much we need deep mountain snows to keep the watershed healthy and the streams full next summer. I have been walking on trails lately that usually can’t be reached until late June.

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          Comment by montucky — February 25, 2015 @ 9:41 am

  11. The most remarkable thing about these photos is the lack of snow. What an odd winter you’re having.
    The perfect time to spot lichens though, and you’ve got some real beauties there. I think the 11th one down from the top might be a brown jelly lichen, possibly Collema furfuraceum, which is something I’ve hoped to see. The 13th could be a Cumberland rock shield (Xanthoparmelia cumberlandia). It’s fruiting too. The 15th one reminds me of a dog lichen (Peltigera) but there are 91 species of dog lichen, so it’s hard to be sure. My favorite is the brown eyed sunshine. It’s a real beauty!

    Like

    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — February 24, 2015 @ 7:50 am

    • I wish I had your knowledge of lichens. I’m afraid I just don’t have the aptitude for identifying them, but I really do enjoy them. There are so many different species! I’ve photographed and identified 200 different species of wildflowers in this are: I wonder how many species of lichens there are. Sometimes I see a dozen different ones on a single large boulder.

      There’s also some Wolf Lichen in the photos mixed in with the “sunshine”. They are very common here and very brightly colored. Also poisonous.

      This year the snow and cold weather has shifted clear across the continent, hasn’t it! We did have a couple of periods of very cold temps, but that was early in the season instead of this month when we usually have it. The meteorologists have said that we have had about the same amount of precipitation this winter here, but in the form of rain instead of snow. That, plus the higher temps are melting what now pack exists much earlier this year. The river here is running very high for this time of year, when the normal peak of high water in around the end of May.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 24, 2015 @ 9:20 am

      • I couldn’t do much identifying lichens without the books that I have, but after a while you do get used to the various kinds. I’ve read that there could be as many as 17,000 species in the world, with about 3.500 of those in the U.S., so you could easily spend a lifetime trying to figure them all out.
        I’m hoping the weather gets back to normal soon. Meanwhile, thinking of all that missing snow pack in the western states isn’t very comforting. Water supplied from melting snow lasts a lot longer than that from rain.

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        Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — February 24, 2015 @ 3:32 pm

        • Yes, this is the time of winter when we usually get a little snow melt during the days followed by freezing nights which makes the snow pack icy and dense so it lasts longer as the seasons warm up. This year there just isn’t enough snow to make the system work. At the same time they are opening more of the old forest to logging which removes a lot of the capability of the watershed.

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          Comment by montucky — February 24, 2015 @ 8:39 pm

  12. You and your camera live in a beautiful place.

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    Comment by wordsfromanneli — February 24, 2015 @ 11:51 am

    • It is, but the Montana politicians are trying their hardest to screw it up and to some extent they are succeeding. I’m afraid a lot of our beautiful back country will fall to the exploiters fairly soon. I just bought the new edition of the Lolo National Forest map, and I see that some of the really nice trails have been opened up to motorcycles, which will essentially ruin them. Two local ones were favorites of mine and I’m afraid they will be destroyed within the next year as the thrill machines take over.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — February 24, 2015 @ 8:35 pm

      • Oh, that’s really awful. I know how it feels on a smaller scale, having watched our neighbourhood go from purely natural to purely disgusting as it is now the doggie poop walk, with noisy dogowners who are oblivious to the beauty of their surroundings. The pheasants and quail are gone from here and the self-righteous public believes they’ve done a wonderful thing by opening this area up so everyone can exercise, because everyone knows exercise is good for you. Yes, I feel healthier already! Except for my blood pressure when I see them.

        Like

        Comment by wordsfromanneli — February 25, 2015 @ 6:55 pm

  13. I’m likin’ the lichen … ๐Ÿ™‚

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    Comment by Teresa Evangeline — February 24, 2015 @ 9:24 pm

    • Me too. They’re cool! It’s also interesting to study them, knowing that some may be thousands of years old. I stand in Awe.

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      Comment by montucky — February 24, 2015 @ 9:43 pm

  14. More beautiful pictures of moss, lichen and your mountainous country. I love them! ๐Ÿ™‚

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    Comment by Jane — February 24, 2015 @ 9:29 pm

  15. Hi Montucky, I used to see Lichens of various kinds a lot when I lived in Southern California. Here in FL we have some also (I think they are common all over the country). Your pictures are just super nice! The Lichens are lovely. Have a great Thursday tomorrow!

    Like

    Comment by wildlifewatcher — February 25, 2015 @ 5:20 pm

  16. Wonderful post. I loved especially Your “collection” of lichen photos!

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    Comment by Sartenada — February 26, 2015 @ 2:53 am

    • Thanks Matti! I have neglected taking photos of the lichens. There are so many and they are interesting and beautiful. I will try to remember them more often.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — February 26, 2015 @ 9:15 am

  17. So beautiful. I need to start looking more at lichen! Thanks for sharing.

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    Comment by Gallatin Natural Resources — February 26, 2015 @ 11:19 am

    • I do too. They are both beautiful and interesting and I’m sure serve many purposes.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 26, 2015 @ 12:53 pm

  18. Beautiful photos of grand vistas and then our world very close up. Thank you. Large ungulates? I had to look that up. And now I believe I have learned that lichen organisms feed horses, cattle, pigs and deer.

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    Comment by georgettesullins — February 26, 2015 @ 12:31 pm

    • Well, the domestic animals are pretty well fed by their owners, but the wild ones in this part of the world, thinking of deer, elk, moose, big horn sheep and caribou, sometimes depend on them to survive a harsh winter.

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      Comment by montucky — February 26, 2015 @ 12:57 pm

  19. wow…it’s amazing how you recreate its beauty!

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    Comment by Wifey Monologue — February 26, 2015 @ 2:06 pm

    • Thank you! I always try to show accurately the beauty of things found in nature.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 26, 2015 @ 9:31 pm

  20. it is wonderful to have a name for this Brown-eyed Sunshine. I really have not studied them, but would love to learn more about them and mosses. So much to learn in a life time, if only we lived to be 300. this is a beautiful place and so are your photos.

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    Comment by Tammie — February 26, 2015 @ 8:21 pm

    • I think that so often, Tammie, that there is not enough time in our short lives to completely appreciate the world in which we spend our lives. I’m also concerned that so many folks in today’s world just don’t have much contact with the natural world and therefore do not have the concern necessary to protect it.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 26, 2015 @ 9:45 pm

  21. It’s so nice that you live so close to places “less traveled” by humans, anyway,I should pay more attention to lichen, I think. I really know nothing about it and didn’t know it could be that old.

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    Comment by Candace — February 27, 2015 @ 11:56 am

    • Lichens are really worth more attention. I sure could spend more time with them. I see them all over and I guess I take them for granted except in winter when they really stand out.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 27, 2015 @ 5:09 pm


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