Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Montana Critters

I didn't see a lot of wildlife on this trip but there's always small stuff. There were a few shorebirds around the lake like this sandpiper.

Least Sandpiper (?)

The Kildeer were noisy but hard to spot against the pebbled beach, which is surprising since they're not particularly camouflaged.

spot the Kildeer

I spotted more insects than anything else. My entomologist father would have been proud of me :-) These grasshoppers (one of his specialties) were also hard to spot, since their coloring matched the dirt and brown grass well. The trick was to track them when they flew and try to catch where they landed. Even when you did spot them, they were quite skittish and hard to get close enough to photograph.


On the other hand, this spider's orange color stood out against the plant it was on. And it wasn't bothered by me getting close to take its picture.


These bees were loaded with bright orange pollen, which matched the pollen on these Mullein flowers.

bee in flight

And there were bumblebees around as well:

bee on thistle

On our walk in the Missouri Headwaters State Park there were a ton of grasshoppers. As you walked along the path you were surrounded by grasshoppers jumping around. It reminded me of popcorn popping! There were a few different kinds


And also a lively chipmunk.


On our hike in the Lewis and Clark National Forest there were quite a few butterflies around but they were distinctly uncooperative. I only managed a few photos.

butterfly on thistle

This fly was a little easier to capture. I think it's a Tachinid fly. Apparently they can be important pollinators higher in the mountains where bees are scarce.

Tachinid fly ?

It was fairly early in the morning when we walked through Gibson Park in Great Falls and there were bees "sleeping" on the flowers, waiting to warm up enough to fly.

bee on flower

And yet more grasshoppers:


Lots of ducks on the pond in the park:


And a few swans. This one seems to be studying its reflection.


The ubiquitous gophers (ground squirrels) made us feel at home:

gopher (ground squirrel)

For more of these photos, see all 26 as a slideshow or overview

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