06-06-12 Field Note: Northern Waterthrush, American Redstart, Columbia Spotted Frog, Conifer Research and Predators

Beau Larkin's Field Note shows predator camera trigger totals, and an update on conifer research growing at UM.

Posted on 6/6/2012 by Beau Larkin

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MPG North Field Note Northern Waterthrush, American Redstart, Columbia spotted frog, conifer research and predators 6 June 2012, MPG Operations, Beau Larkin
With its streaked breast, brown wings and brown back, the Northern Waterthrush resembles Swainson’s and Hermit thrushes. Although partial resemblance to thrushes probably influenced the common name for this species, the Northern Waterthrush belongs in the warbler family. Unlike most warblers, males in this species lack some amount of yellow coloration or other bright breeding season plumage.
This male American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla), also a warbler, shows the bright breeding plumage typical in its family. Males flit from branch to branch rapidly, spending almost as much time in motion as they do perched. Their song resembles that of a Yellow Warbler (link to song, Colver 1999). Females and immature males (males under 1 year old) lack the orange wing bars and black heads that distinguish mature males.
A Columbia spotted frog (Rana luteiventris) that I noticed near the Northern Waterthrush’s perch. Bright leg pigments (inset image) distinguish this frog from other species found in Montana.
starry false Solomon’s-seal, Smilacina stellata
Conifer seedlings germinated from MPG North seeds continue to grow in the University of Montana forestry greenhouse (above). Spruce seedlings in the foreground grow in dredged wetland soil; the taller ponderosa and larch seedlings in the background grow in both dredged wetland soils and native forest soils. We will learn if the different soils affect conifer growth when we measure all the seedlings later this summer.
 Busy predators appeared frequently on the camera network last month. At least two black bears investigated the deer kill site near camera 14; black bear triggers led the predator count at 11. Table of predator triggers at MPG North from May 6 to June 6, 2012:
Gray Wolf
Above: Mountain Lion, below: Stripped Skunk
 Work Completed • planted 1211 trees and shrubs: species Douglas-fir Rocky Mountain juniper ponderosa pine western white pine western redcedar western hemlock water birch Bebb’s willow source University of Montana Forestoration, Watershed Consulting University of Montana University of Montana Watershed Consulting University of Idaho Forestoration, University of Idaho MPG North cuttings number planted • collected growth data from unexclosed aspen suckers • geolocated aspen and cottonwood clones that need