Nature notes and inquiry from the Montana Natural History Center.
Spotted Tussock Moth: The Fuzzy Orange Spot of Fall
A small spot of orange in the middle of the trail caught my eye. It wasn't a leaf or a berry; it was tiny and moving! As I neared the curious sight, I discovered it was a fuzzy caterpillar.
What Happens After a Wildfire?
Despite the harsh and stark appearance, all is not lost after a wildfire. In fact, there is much to be found when you look about.
Journey to the Bighorn Basin
Let me take you on a journey. It’s just a few miles, but over that short distance we’ll be transported not only to a dramatically different landscape, but also back through hundreds of millions of years of Earth’s history.
Living in Sandhill Crane Country
The first sound we hear these early summer mornings is the prehistoric, other-worldly call of Sandhill Cranes. It rises deep from their impossibly long necks, climbs into the sky, and stretches for miles across the countryside.
Most plants conduct photosynthesis and make their own food from sunlight, carbon dioxide and water. Fungus flowers, however, cannot conduct photosynthesis, making them not only look bizarre but function in a bizarre manner.
The Dancing Loon: A Close Call
We continue walking, giving the shoreline a wide berth to avoid scaring any loons that might be around. Now we're on the opposite side of the lake and—we see them. Two adult Common Loons. Oh, they're lovely: streamlined, low-slung bodies, perfect for diving. Sleek black heads, red eyes, and characteristic black-and-white coloration that makes it easy to identify them.