These graceful, long-legged cranes may stand over four feet in height, and can often be found sauntering through fields in search of food near shallow marshes. Coloration is technically pale gray, but they often have a rust color from preening themselves with muddy bills. A red head crest along with an unforgettable mating call makes them easily identifiable.
I have a favorite spot I often pass when I go biking in the country west of town where I always look forward to seeing (and hearing) Red-winged blackbirds perched on cattails, trilling their sweet summer songs.
A male will defend his territory and attract a mate by perching on a high stalk and singing. They fluff their feathers and lift the leading edge of their wing so the red shoulder patches are prominent. Red-winged blackbirds are dimorphic, that is to say, the males and females have a completely different appearance. Females have mottled, heavily banded plumage lacking the distinguishing red and yellow shoulders the species is known for.
I spotted this pair of American bald eagles roosting over the banks of the Yellowstone River last January. Bald eagles are becoming more of a common site in this area after having been nearly wiped out through sport hunting and the use of pesticides . Thanks to reintroduction programs and the regulation of chemicals like DDT, the eagles’ numbers are rebounding throughout much of their natural range.
Forget-me-not Mountain rises to an elevation of 12,115 feet, making it one of Montana’s ranked twelve-thousand foot peaks. Pictured in the featured image in the right-center, it appears as a precipitous cliff dropping sharply into the Black Canyon drainage, deeming its alternative designation as “Drop-off Mountain” on some maps appropriate.
I accessed the summit via a permanent snowfield at the upper end of Glacier Lake. In an exhausting sixteen hour day trip, I was able to capture a series of striking photos from the rugged lake shore, a surly mountain goat, and alpine views of the incredible Black Canyon, making for a truly unforgettable day on Forget-me-not Mountain.
Rugged cliffs surrounding Glacier Lake
Mountain goat acting as a sentinel the rocky shores of Glacier Lake
Morning reflection on Glacier Lake
Arnica flowers find a foothold among the rocks
The famous Bear’s Tooth spire
Forget-me-not flowers really do bloom on Forget-me-not Mountain
The view toward Pilot and Index Peaks over the shoulder of Lonesome Mountain is spectacular
Residual snow of the now receding Grasshopper Glacier is seen in the Black Canyon
Photographic musings on nature, adventure, and the spaces in between…