A walk along the trail up Blodgett Canyon west of Hamilton is always a good idea. Bob Danley of the Bitterroot Outdoor Journal did that recently and here's where he saw on a fine spring day.

Bob recorded 11 different types of birds, 7 butterfly species, a chipmunk and a squirrel and 12 various wildflowers. Up on the spectacular Blodgett Canyon cliffs he saw the White-throated Swift. They look small up by the rocks, but are fairly large with a 15-inch wingspan that looks like a boomerang when they dart about, catching beetles in flight. They nest on the cliff ledges.

At the parking lot, a Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel greeted him (photo below). It looks like a chipmunk, but is larger and doesn't have stripes on the face like a chipmunk. It likes rocks and brush piles and will eat just about anything - omnivorous is the term.

Of the butterflies Bob saw, he took a photo of the Hoary Elfin, which he saw a little ways up the trail, near moist spots. It's small and has purplish underwing with grey highlights (photo below). From a distance, it just looks dark. You can find it near kinnikkinick plants.

He saw some Serviceberry bushes with white flowers having 5 petals. And of the many wildflowers, he noticed the False Solomon's-seal (photo below), which is a member of the lily family and can be up to 32 inches tall, bent over like a fishing rod with fish on the hook.

Bob's report is heard on Wednesdays at about 7:45 a.m. on the KLYQ 1240 AM Bitterroot Morning newscast, also heard at www.klyq.com and on the free KLYQ cellphone app. Every week, he gives you lots of excuses to stop what you're doing and get out and explore our natural valley.

Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel. (Bob Danley Photo)
False Solomon's-seal wildflower. (Bob Danley Photo)
The little Hoary Elfin butterfly up Blodgett Canyon. (Bob Danley Photo)

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