Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta) Icteridae

April 2, 2016
Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge, MT
Robert Niese

The Western Meadowlark performs a lovely metallic flute-like song throughout the spring and summer. Its Eastern counterpart, on the other hand, has a much flatter, whistled song. Easter and Western Meadowlarks are so similar in appearance that until quite recently they were considered the same species. Since the Eastern species was discovered and named first, the Western, when it finally gained full species distinction, became known as the “neglected” meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta). This species is one of the 37 (including subspecies) named by John James Audubon throughout his career as one of  America’s first ornithologists.

Larix occidentalis “Western Larch” Pinaceae

Rattlesnake National Recreation Area, MT
October 24, 2015
Robert Niese

The Tamarack colors were in full swing around Missoula last week. They appear to be fading a bit now, but we’ll soon forget to mourn their bare branches when they become adorned with snow!

Fall colors along the Clark Fork River

Missoula, MT
October 23, 2014
Robert Niese

I’m off for while to take my Comprehensive Exams for my Ph.D. Wish me luck! If you don’t hear from me by October, I probably failed and became a hermit. 

Now, get outside and enjoy your the fall!

Washington Pass

North Cascades National Park, WA
August 17, 2014
Robert Niese

I’m off on an adventure with the BF for a couple weeks, then heading to UC-Riverside to do some research with a fellow ornithologist. I’ll resume regular posting in July! Until then, get out and enjoy the sunshine! Cheers!

Sea Stacks at Stawberry Bay

Olympic National Park, WA
June 3, 2013
Robert Niese

Sea Stacks are created as wave action erodes certain rock faster than others along the coastline. Olympic National Park is famous for its sea stacks which come in countless shapes and sizes.