Bob Danley was standing on a Bitterroot Valley backroad on a cloudy day. The sun broke through and he was surrounded by butterflies. That's the key to seeing the little fliers this spring: sunshine.

Butterflies in Bob's Bitterroot Outdoor Journal this week include Mourning Cloak (photo above), Green Comma and Cabbage White, Milbert's Tortoiseshell and Green Comma. Keep your eyes open for Sara Orangetip (photo below), with bright orange wingtips.

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EBird reports 145 bird species so far in Ravalli County. That's only two behind last year's pace, Bob says. He also saw a large shorebird northwest of Stevensville. He heard it while driving slowly with the car windows open and spotted the Long-billed Curlew (photo below). It's about 23 inches in length with a long bill and the wingspan is 35 inches. Bob also heard the Chestnut-backed Chickadee up Highway 12 west of Lolo.
Ruffed Grouse can be heard drumming (clapping their wings while standing).

long-billed curlew
Almost hidden - the Long-billed Curlew (Bob Danley photo)
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ruffed grouse
Ruffed Grouse portrait. (Mike Daniels photo)
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The Bitterroot Wildflower Report

glacier lily
Glacier Lily wildflower. (Bob Danley photo)
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It looks like some of the wildflowers are stunted this year, but there will still be plenty of colors popping up. Bob saw nine new species flowering, including Western Trillium, Glacier Lily, Wood Valerian, Field Chickweed, Sagebrush Bluebells and Arrowleaf Balsamroot.

sagebrush bluebells
Sagebrush Bluebells. (Bob Danley photo)
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Only one mushroom on the weekly report - Suillus albivelatus. It is yellow with white stripe and no dots. Usually found in a clump.

Get out there in between the rain showers and welcome the spring arrivals. The Bitterroot Outdoor Journal is heard Wednesdays at 7:45 a.m. on KLYQ 1240 AM and www.klyq.com.

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