Montana Wanderings

This is a baby GBH. Just below the next.
This is a baby GBH. Just below the next.

This week Burt and I drove from one end of Montana to the other. Jardine on the edge of northern Yellowstone National Park first and then Kila, just west of Glacier National Park a few days later. It is green out there. Signs of life and death are all around. We’ve eBirded a heap of locations and I feel like I have no idea what is happening out there. Bird song is everywhere and almost all of it is incomprehensible to me.

On Memorial Day we took a short break on our drive back to Helena at the regular put-in for the Dearborn River. There is a popular 19 mile float that launches from a highway bridge right of way. The place was loaded with shuttle vehicles. This is a special river for Burt and me and we hope to float it soon. The area is known for rattlesnakes and I gave a hearty scream when a four foot gopher snake came right at me and slithered by my foot. A friend commented on my photo and asked why I got so close. I was just standing there. The snake came at me.

Another day I found mating spiders. Jen, Robin, and Burt all came running when I told them spiders were having sex, so I am not the only oddball in this family. The male and female caught my eye when I saw them end to end in a web. I initially presumed it was either a meal or a molt. Spider molts often look like dead spiders. I took a close look and scared them apart but they were so into it they immediately regrouped. The male spider passed golden globules of semen from his palps to the female’s abdominal orifices. Right, left, right, in and out. On and on it went. Shining globes disappeared one after another. For hours. I found three more pairs of the same spider species doing the same thing nearby. Love was in the air. The next day it was over. No sign of the male. I fear they were eaten.

Robin eggs,
Robin eggs,
Mating spiders
Mating spiders. Female lower.
Ranch bone yard. Good birding but really smelly.
Ranch bone yard. Good birding but really smelly. This is the result of massive livestock deaths due to the heavy winter.
My Friends K.a.L.
My Friends K.a.L. She took me on a ten mile walk, the longest hike in years.
Balsam root
Balsam root
Death camas
Death camas
Floating on the regulating reservoir.
Floating on the regulating reservoir.
Heron rookery
Heron rookery
Gopher snake
Gopher snake
Pelicans. Blow this up and you can see disks on the bills. They grow in breeding season.
Pelicans. Blow this up and you can see disks on the bills. They grow in breeding season.
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2 thoughts on “Montana Wanderings”

  1. The blue of a robin’s egg is too wonderful. It is a lovely spring after the long, long winter. Nice

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