One of my favorite parts of this time of year is that all the hummingbirds begin to migrate up this way. These little high-performance fighter jets of the bird world have highly reflective feathers. While fur absorbs light, feathers tend to reflect, causing the hummingbird in this image to be beaming with green off the back. Stay tuned for my bird photography tricks and tips coming soon.
Calliope Hummingbird on Feeder
Having seasons is nice. One change leads to another and each one is new and exciting with those changes; winter and fresh snow, fall and the larch trees changing to vibrant colors of yellow, or summertime playing in the mountain lakes. But springtime… means there will soon be newborn wildlife all over.
The other day I came across this osprey hanging out on the nesting box. It is in the perfect spot next to a lake, so feeding should be easy. As the season continues, I hope to spot other young wildlife roaming around.
Many of these nest boxes for osprey are occupied this time of year.
I have been on a hiatus from this project for awhile as I worked on other projects related to flight, video, and pictures. While I have been away though, I have learned more about videos and creating some really neat content. However, getting back to nature is my true love and I neglected this blog.
Nature is always calling, we just aren’t always listening.
Tiny Planet Whitefish, Montana
Inversions happen when warm air sits on top of cooler air and traps it. Sounds travel further, trapped air holds smoke lower, and even light acts differently. When it clears out, this was yesterday’s surprise.
Recently I purchased the first of four levels of the Kamana Training Program. This program is a home study naturalist program. I thought it would be interesting to see where my knowledge falls, as well as evaluate and review the program for others that might want to invest in their naturalist knowledge.
How did I discover this program? It is a bit of a story that starts with a book. All my best journeys start with a book. One of the first books I used on tracking wildlife was Animal Tracking Basics by Jon Young and Tiffany Morgan. The book is very thorough in teaching the basics and more. There are some forms to draw maps and make you more aware of your environment. I wanted .pdfs of the forms so I used the website provided in the book. Bam, brick wall, the link was dead. So I had to dig deeper. eventually I was able to make contact with someone that had copies of the forms.
Whoever asked around on the other end went the extra mile to help fulfill my request. That speaks volumes. I could have been told, “I don’t know,” or even “Nope, we don’t do that.” They messaged within their group and sent me something that they didn’t have to even try. That kind of customer service really gave me the comfort I needed to start a study at home program. I knew I could find help if I needed it.
My preliminary research of Wilderness Awareness School is positive. I would love to take enough time off my job and attend some of the intensive classes. However, I have a 6a-4p, sometimes a 10p to 8a, but mostly a 2p-12a job. I am lucky enough to spend those hours outdoors though, so I rarely ever complain about my schedule. I have seen a different world that many people are at home in bed sleeping through. That is a post for another time though.
Where can you find more information? At https://www.wildernessawareness.org/adult-programs/kamana
The first level contains the study material, the Reader’s Digest North American Wildlife guide, and a CD set Seeing Through Native Eyes.
I can’t wait to share more, and tell you my course experience.
This week has been the big cool off for the year so far. While last month I had a picture on Instagram of the first snow in the high-country there has been no snow in the lower elevations. The forecasters are saying that tomorrow night will be the first frost. Over the past few days it has been rainy and cold. I guess fall is really close.
Snow on Mt. Cleveland
Today I heard an elk bugle somewhere in Canada. Nature is full of beautiful noises. Nature is even full of beautiful colors. The bright colors of summer flowers is replaced by the changing colors of the leaves and tamarack needles. Some years the color change is so vibrant, I can study a scene for hours.
Fall Colors on the North Fork
I want to leave off with one final thought from one of the recent books I have been reading. “The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need,” from The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Vitual Age by Richard Louv. So far as I read this book, a lot of it makes sense to our world. I enjoy sharing nature with people and hopefully adding value to their lives with it. I am also a technophile to the range of extreme. I spend a lot of time off-grid and incommunicado. It takes a few minutes, but after I gain focus, I hear the birds, feel the wind, and soon have a clear mind. It is great, and I encourage people to try it as well. I am willing to share those moments with you either virtually or in person. Again, this is a pretty powerful book, even if it just makes you stop and think about what you might be missing out on by turning off or ignoring the nature part of human existence.
As September starts off, it seems that summer is unofficially over. When summer tourist traffic dies down, kids go back to school, and the migratory birds show up it just starts to get that feeling of fall. While the official start of fall isn’t for a few weeks yet (I am working on a autumnal equinox post for then), I have been beginning to see a lot more migratory birds moving south. I was able to capture images of a two so far. The second one was kind of out of reach for the biggest lens I had at the time. I prefer to photograph rather than sketch. It really helps in identification for me later. I am no artist and I would surely miss important details like beak shape or tail shape.
Swainson’s Thrushes breed in Western Montana, the northern part of the western Canadian provinces, and Alaska. As summer ends they migrate to Central and South America in the winter. What a journey for such a small creatures. I imagine this one was feeding and resting up for another leg of the journey.
The Yellow-rumped warbler really pushed the limits of my lens. I could see the motion and knew I needed a quick capture. This warbler has two sub-species. The sub-spedies in the west is know as the “Audubons.” “Myrtle” is the eastern sub-species. The winter grounds for the Yellow-rumped Warbler are central America and the southern United States. Their northern most range and breeding occurs in the northern part of the western Canadian provinces and Alaska.
Tip for birdwatching (and nature observations in general):
Most of these birds flew up close to me as I sat in silence. The only noise I made was my breathing and shutter clicks from the camera. To see what is going on around you, you have to stop and be present. That means taking a break from the digital noise or just daily white noise that is going on around you. At first, the silence may be deafening. In our day to day living, we tune so much out. When you tune in to your environment you will notice so much more. I make it a habit to try and tune in daily for at least for an hour if I can. It has done wonders to discover more in the natural world.
I use the Merlin App by the Cornell Lab to reference my bird information and identification.
As far as I can remember, I have always loved nature and the outdoors. Yesterday, I felt a peace come over me as I stood on the banks of the Flathead River just taking in the sounds, sights, and smells. The weather was a kind of gray and gloomy day, but yet there was a great amount of peace in this moment. I am so fortunate to make a living out in the woods and also having the knowledge to have a techie side and share this with others. When asked, I am always happy to give options and recommendations to people. My goal is for you enjoy your time in nature.
Towards the end of the night, a young, out-of-state couple stopped by and asked for some information. As typical in Glacier National Park, all the campsites were full for the night and they were in search of a place to pitch their tent. I sent them to the spot I had stopped at earlier. I recommended a few hikes and a place to grab some food in the morning. They were grateful for the information and we parted ways.
At the end of the night, I was gifted with this beautiful display.
Bottom of clouds showing color as illuminated by the sun after it had dropped below the horizon.
Snowshoeing on New Year’s Day
With my enthusiasm for the outdoors, and a passion for nature, I decided to start the Montana Nature Blog website. I hope to share all that big sky country offers to those that live local and those that live continents away.
I enjoy skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, camping, kayaking, and photography. Making Montana Nature Blog seemed like a natural step to share all these activities and adventures. Contact me if you would like to plan an adventure. I am always looking to make friends with similiar interests.
There are no fancy titles to my name. I have no degree in biology, botany, geology or any of those other science fields. All my information is through personal observation and research. I will do my best to keep things accurate.
Watching a Mountain Goat
Thank you for taking time to check out this blog.