Puffballs not your typical mushrooms

Poof. With the gentle nudge of a shoe, a small plume of “smoke” rises from the dry puffball. Adults and kids often get a kick out of mature puffballs and their spore plumes. When mature, puffballs release thousands to trillions of tiny spores–tiny as in 0.00014 to 0.00019 inches in…

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Pheasant populations dependent on weather and habitat

Every time I drive through the valley on Copeland Road I look for pheasants near Farm to Market Road, especially in autumn and winter. Most times I’m lucky enough to see at least one pheasant run for cover into the tall grass. Pheasants (more accurately ring-necked pheasants) haven’t always lived…

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Antlions lurk at bottom of mini sand pits

Have you seen the small pits that resemble craters on the moon at the base of large trees? Or maybe in the sandy soil under your eaves? These miniature sand pits are the result of larval antlions, also known as “doodlebugs”. Typically found in fine soil that stays protected from…

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Supermoon lunar eclipse ends lunar tetrad

As the full moon rose after sunset on Sunday, Sept. 27, observers were treated to a partial lunar eclipse. As the moon climbed higher in the sky, the bright crescent became smaller and the rest of the moon became redder as it progressed to a total lunar eclipse. Lunar eclipses…

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Young cougars on the move this time of year

In the recent weeks, several cougars have been spotted in Bonners Ferry. Normally cougars are secretive and shy away from humans. However, in the fall and winter they tend to follow prey (especially deer) to lower elevations and often into towns. Additionally, young lions leave their mother’s territory when around…

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Flying squirrels glide with ease between trees

A small head poked out of a bird house and it wasn’t a bird or a red squirrel–the large eyes belonged to a flying squirrel. Quickly retreating into the bird house, the flying squirrel didn’t “fly”–a feat I’m still waiting to see. Of course, I have to be in the…

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Clubmoss rich in history

Some plants catch your eye. During a walk on an overgrown road I was noticing the mosses and kinnikinnick along the road edges. Then I did a double-take when I saw a plant sprawled half-way across the road with fingers of the plant going every direction. The plant looked like…

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Water striders walk on water

While throwing rocks into Boulder Creek, I noticed the insects that look like big mosquitos walking on water in the eddies. I call them water striders but they are also called pond skaters, water spiders, water bugs, water skippers and Jesus bugs. Water striders truly walk on water. Unlike boats…

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Pikas make hay a different way

On top of a ridge in the Selkirks, I noticed a quick movement among the rocks. At first I thought it was a golden-mantled ground squirrel, but once it reappeared I knew it wasn’t. Much to my delight, it was a pika. These small creatures live among the rocks of…

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Spotted sandpiper teeters along our shorelines

Boundary County has a few shorebirds and one can be found from the shorelines of the Kootenai River to high mountain lakes like West Fork Lake and Pyramid Lake–the spotted sandpiper. Shorebirds can be difficult to distinguish especially when they are numerous along the coast. The spotted sandpiper is easier…

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