21 Yards…

 

Guess who we got a close-up of?  In the pouring rain.

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Actually too close for comfort…  She was ranged at 21 yards.  A grizzly can cover  50 feet in a second!

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This big, sow grizzly bear…

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Luckily, she was hungry for berries and not something with a little more protein…

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The grizzly bear is a North American subspecies of the brown bear.

These awe-inspiring giants tend to be solitary animals—with the exception of females and their cubs—but at times they do congregate. Dramatic gatherings of grizzly bears can be seen at prime Alaskan fishing spots when the salmon run upstream for summer spawning. In this season, dozens of bears may gather to feast on the fish, craving fats that will sustain them through the long winter ahead.

Brown bears dig dens for winter hibernation, often holing up in a suitable-looking hillside. Females give birth during this winter rest and their offspring are often twins.

Grizzly bears are powerful, top-of-the-food-chain predators, yet much of their diet consists of nuts, berries, fruit, leaves, and roots. Bears also eat other animals, from rodents to moose.

Grizzlies are typically brown, though their fur can appear to be white-tipped, or grizzled, lending them their traditional name.

Despite their impressive size, grizzlies are quite fast and have been clocked at 30 miles (48 kilometers) an hour. They can be dangerous to humans, particularly if surprised or if humans come between a mother and her cubs.

Find more info here…

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What she’s hunting for…

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The delicious huckleberry!

Vaccinium membranaceum Douglas ex Hooker, known as the black, big, or thin-leaved huckleberry, grows throughout forested areas in Idaho, western Montana, western Wyoming, Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. Small disjunct populations occur in Utah, California, Arizona, and Michigan. This species is sometimes called the globe huckleberry in Montana and some taxonomists identify plants in the eastern Rocky Mountains as Vaccinium globulare Rydberg. In 2000, Idaho designated huckleberries, of which black huckleberry is by far the most common in Idaho, as the state fruit. This species served as an especially important source of food for Native American peoples throughout western North America and the dried berries were used for winter food and trade.

Vaccinium membranaceum is found at elevations between about 2,000 and 11,500 feet, with many productive sites located between 4,000 and 6,000 feet elevation. This tetraploid is commonly found along forest roads and in clear cuts and burns about ten to fifteen years old, often growing among true firs (Abies sp.), hemlock (Tsuga sp.), and bear grass (Xerophyllum tenax Michx.). Vaccinium membranaceumgrows from one to six feet tall and produces flavorful berries up to one-half inch in diameter. Color ranges from glossy or glaucous black to purple to red, with rare white berries. Vaccinium membranaceum is, by far, the most widely commercialized western huckleberry used for fruit and is harvested extensively from the wild.Vaccinium membranaceum is adapted to cool, short seasons and high elevations. When grown at low elevations, the plants often deacclimate during winter warm spells or early spring and are damaged by subsequent freezes. The early-blooming plants are also susceptible to late spring frosts. Vaccinium membranaceum is rhizomatous, has a sparse root system, and mature plants seldom survive transplanting.

Find more info here…

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Off in the distance…BeFunky_IMG_0972.jpg BeFunky_IMG_0923.jpg

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Nature Notes

Ptarmigan…

 

While hiking around Swiftcurrent Lake in Many Glacier, we noticed some rustling going on in the bushes.  Praying it wasn’t a bear we spotted this mama hen.

Look close…

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With about 6 chicks!IMG_1884 P8040686 P8040697-001 P8040704 P8040713 P8040718

 

The White-tailed Ptarmigan is a grouse of alpine (above treeline) habitats. It is the smallest grouse in North America (total length 30 to 31 cm, weight 295 to 440 grams), and the only species of grouse with white tail feathers. It possesses cryptic plumage that changes annually from white in winter to grayish-brown in summer. The sexes are similar in body size, shape, and winter plumage.

Breeding season males have a conspicuous necklace of coarsely barred brown and black breast feathers, while female plumage is predominantly brown and black with yellowish barring. Male plumage is generally more brown and gray than in the female. Males possess scarlet eye combs that are especially conspicuous during the breeding season; females have less conspicuous and smaller salmon-colored eye combs. In winter, in addition to the completely white plumage, the legs are heavily feathered to the ends of the toes, creating a snowshoe effect for walking on snow.

Read more here…

Mama Ptarmigan…

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Peaceful Summer Evening…

The flock peacefully grazing as a storm moves in this evening….

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The kids (on the right side of the pic. below) coming back from their nightly walk with their fair lambs….

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Practicing with their fair animals…

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Rurality Blog Hop #20

The Chicken Chick

Fireweed…

 

Lovely, pink Fireweed was in full bloom this weekend at Glacier National Park….

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We had a day and half of rainy weather (which didn’t slow us down much!) and a day and a half of blue skies to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary!!
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Fireweed beside a sow grizzly.IMG_1059 P8020386

The clouds rolling up the mountains…

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In a burnt area overlooking the Saint Mary’s side of the park…P8040639 P8040646 P8040654 IMG_0818

This herb is often abundant in wet calcareous to slightly acidic soils in open fields, pastures, and particularly burned-over lands; the name Fireweed derives from the species’ abundance as a coloniser on burnt sites after forest fires. Its tendency to quickly colonize open areas with little competition, such as sites of forest fires and forest clearings, makes it a clear example of apioneer species. Plants grow and flower as long as there is open space and plenty of light. As trees and brush grow larger the plants die out, but the seeds remain viable in the soil seed bank for many years; when a new fire or other disturbance occurs that opens up the ground to light again, the seeds germinate. Some areas with heavy seed counts in the soil can, after burning, be covered with pure dense stands of this species and when in flower the landscape is turned into fields of color.

In Britain the plant was considered a rare species in the 18th century, and one confined to a few locations with damp, gravelly soils. It was misidentified as Great Hairy Willowherb in contemporary floras. The plant’s rise from local rarity to widespread weed seems to have occurred at the same time as the expansion of the railway network, and the associated soil disturbance. The plant became locally known as bombweed due to its rapid colonization of bomb craters in the second world war.

The young shoots were often collected in the spring by Native American people and mixed with other greens. As the plant matures the leaves become tough and somewhat bitter. The southeast Native Americans use the stems in this stage. They are peeled and eaten raw. When properly prepared soon after picking they are a good source of vitamin C and pro-vitamin A. The Dena’inaadd fireweed to their dogs’ food. Fireweed is also a medicine of the Upper Inlet Dena’ina, who treat pus-filled boils or cuts by placing a piece of the raw stem on the afflicted area. This is said to draw the pus out of the cut or boil and prevents a cut with pus in it from healing over too quickly.

The root can be roasted after scraping off the outside, but often tastes bitter. To mitigate this, the root is collected before the plant flowers and the brown thread in the middle removed.

In Alaska, candies, syrups, jellies, and even ice cream are made from fireweed. Monofloral honey made primarily from fireweed nectar has a distinctive, spiced flavor.

In Russia, its leaves are used as tea substitute and were exported, known in Western Europe as Koporye Tea(Копорский чай). Fireweed leaves can undergo fermentation, much like real tea. Today, koporye tea is still occasionally consumed though not commercially important.

Chamerion angustifolium (Epilobium angustifolium) herb has been used in the traditional Austrian medicine internally as tea for treatment of disorders of the prostate, kidneys, and urinary tract.

Fireweed’s natural variation in ploidy has prompted its use in scientific studies of polyploidy’s possible effects on adaptive potential and species.

For more info please click Here…

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