Field Notes

Sunday 12:55 PM

For keen observers, a walk to the grocery store or a hike up a mountain can inspire questions. Where do magpies nest?  Why doesn’t a spider stick to its own web? How do water striders keep from sinking?  Every week since 1992, Field Notes has inquired about Montana's  natural history. Produced by the Montana Natural History Center, Field Notes are written by naturalists, students and listeners about the puzzle-tree bark, eagle talons, woolly aphids and giant puffballs of Western, Central and Southwestern Montana.

Interested in writing a Field Note? Contact Allison De Jong, Field Notes editor, at adejong [at] montananaturalist.org or (406) 327-0405.

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Field Notes
5:00 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Pinedrops

Woodland pinedrops, Pterospora andromedea Nutt. (CC-BY)
Credit Dave Powell, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

7/6/14 & 7/7/14: This week on Fieldnotes: "Pinedrops," by Peter Lesica, read by Anne Garde.

"All of our conifers form a symbiotic partnership with certain soil fungi. The fungus helps the tree get minerals and in return receives energy-rich carbohydrates. Pinedrops (Pterospora andromedea) insinuates itself into this partnership by taking some of those carbohydrates from the fungus.

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Field Notes
5:00 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Spiderwebs

Spider web with dew drops, Swifts Creek, Victoria, Australia. (CC BY-NC)
Credit Fir0002/Flagstaffotos.com.au

6/29/14 & 6/30/14: This week on "Fieldnotes:" "Spiderwebs," written by Deborah Richie and Lynn Tennefoss, read by Caroline Kurtz. 

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Field Notes
6:00 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Tree Bark

Ponderosa pine tree bark, Idaho
Credit Jami Dwyer

6/22/14 & 6/23/14: This week on "Fieldnotes:" "Tree Bark," written by Peter Lesica, read by Anne Garde.

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Field Notes
6:00 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Montana's Overlooked Fish

Longhorn sculpin (Myoxocephalus octodecemspinosus)
Credit NOAA

6/15/14 & 6/16/14: This week on "Fieldnotes:" "Montana's Forgotten Fish," written by Bridger Cohan, read by Caroline Kurtz.

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Field Notes
6:00 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Flower Crab Spiders

Flower crab spider (Misumena vatia), camouflaged white on a rose petal.
Credit Dhatier

6/8/14 & 6/9/14: This week on "Fieldnotes:" "Flower Crab Spiders," by Sara Mintz.

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Field Notes
6:00 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Bushy-tailed Woodrats, a.k.a. Packrats

Bushy-tailed woodrats (Neotoma cinerea). The darker coat on the left is typical of cooler climates) than the lighter coat on the right.
Credit Ron Klinger from Kays and Wilson's Mammals of North America

6/1/14 & 6/2/14: This week on "Fieldnotes:" "Packrats," written by Sandra Murphy, read by Caroline Kurtz.

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Field Notes
6:00 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Mont-Africa

Plains Zebra (Equus quagga) and Blue Wildebeests (Connochaetes taurinus) in Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti, Tanzania, Africa
Credit Gaurav P.

5/25/14 & 5/26/14: This week on "Fieldnotes:" "Mont-Africa," by Camille Barr.

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Field Notes
8:00 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Animal Curiosity

Sitka fawn
Credit Junebug

5/18/14 & 5/19/14: This week on "Fieldnotes:" "Animal Curiosity," by Adam Phillips, read by Allison de Jong.

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Field Notes
8:00 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Good Mother Lizard

Maiasaura model
Credit Montanakids.com

5/11/14 & 5/12/14: This week on "Fieldnotes:" "Maiasaura," by Thomas McKean.

"Small, croaking chirps emanated from a tidy pile of mounded vegetation. A huge hulking dinosaur raised its bony skull to investigate and plodded to the mound. With a careful nudge, the dinosaur, a Maiasaura, uncovered her hatchlings with her wide duckbill-like nose....This Maiasaura, Latin for "good mother lizard," knew precisely where to find good food in this area. For years she had been returning to this very spot to lay her eggs...

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Field Notes
8:00 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Montane Driftwood

Credit Dave Carlson

5/4/14 & 5/5/14: This week on "Fieldnotes:" "Of Driftwood and Journeys," by Anna McNairy.

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