Monthly Archives: August 2014

Mountain goat

Mountain goats (Artiodactyla: Bovidae: Oreamnos americanus) are large herbivorous mammals that inhabit mountainous regions from southeast Alaska through the northern Rockies. In spite of their common name these aren’t true goats (members of the genus Capra), and may be better described as … Continue reading

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Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Theodore Roosevelt first visited the Dakota territory in 1883 and had no idea he was on the verge of a life-changing experience. His wife and mother had both recently died on the same day, and to escape his pain he headed west. … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Pearly everlasting

Of about 100 species of everlastings that are found throughout the world, only one is native to North America.  Pearly everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea, Asteraceae) inhabits much of the continent and can typically be found in prairies, meadows, and in waste spaces … Continue reading

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Sooty Grouse hen with chicks

While hiking at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington earlier this month I came across a Sooty Grouse hen (Galliformes: Phasianidae: Dendragapus fuliginosus) with at least three chicks. These birds were foraging among the meadow wildflowers near Paradise Park, seeking out … Continue reading

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Devils Tower National Monument

If you’re like me you first learned about Devils Tower National Monument from the 1977 sci-fi adventure film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Although fictional space aliens helped popularize this location for many people, the natural and cultural features alone … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Western pasqueflower

Looking like something out of a Dr. Seuss book, the seed heads of western pasqueflower (Pulsatilla occidentalis, Ranunculaceae) are a definite curiosity. In the spring and early summer this plant produces large, creamy white flowers that attract insects. By late summer … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Snow on the mountain

Snow on the mountain (Euphorbia marginata, Euphorbiaceae) is an interesting and attractive annual that is native to the Great Plains. Here it is most often encountered on dry slopes, near prairie dog towns, and in other open areas where competing vegetation … Continue reading

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