Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
Click on Mark Twain to jump to Troutbirders book review blog

Monday, January 15, 2018

Eagles and Ospreys: Part III

And now the exciting conclusion of my series titled Birds of a Feather. So far we have covered the origins of my blog name Troutbirder and  musing  the propriety of naming the Bald Eagle as our national bird, according to Ben Franklin and myself.  Now we shall explore the frontiers of  Eagle and Osprey interaction as discovered my friend Mr. Science (Gary).
Eagles On Attack:
Along and near the Father of Waters, the mighty river dividing Minnesota and Wisconsin, the Bald Eagle now makes its home in large numbers year around. Some them move south during the winter while new arrivals in large numbers come south from Canada to winter in "tropical" southeastern Minnesota.  . Hundreds of bald eagles prefer to overwinter in the Red Wing and Wabasha areas near the Mississippi River, where the current of the inflowing Chippewa River maintains open water throughout the winter.
   Recently, friends Gary and Bobbie photographed an unusual sight  in the backwaters of the Big River near the Iowa border. Take a look....
At some distance several eagles were chasing an osprey. As I pointed out in a previous  post these attacks often involve forcing the osprey to drop its catch .... the fish. Outright thievery as I described it. As the above picture shows, two mature and one immature eagles are involved.  A flock of mallards flees the ruckus.  According to the photographer the immature eagle actually struck the osprey although the photograph is unclear whether it used its talons.
The second photo shows the osprey clearly escaped to land in a nearby tree. Five eagles landed above on the same tree and several others in adjacent trees. Unfortunately, I can't relate the final outcome of this very rare misadventure as Bobbi had noted a seriously low tire on their car and they had to hurry off to the nearest town for a repair.
Finally, and in the interest of complete disclosure, while my bias in favor of the hard working osprey has no doubt been noted, the better half of  the Troutbirder family, Mrs. T. stands firmly next to and behind her favorite raptor, Angel the American Bald Eagle and Ambassador of her species at the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota......:)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Birds of a Feather-----Not!

One of our Founding Fathers, who's  inventive mind was always at work,  questioned  choice of the Bald Eagle as  our national symbol.
A year and a half after the Great Seal was adopted by Congress on June 20, 1782  – with the eagle as its centerpiece – Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to his daughter and shared some thoughts about this new symbol of America. He did not express these personal musings elsewhere, but they have become legendary.
Franklin thought the eagle on the original looked more like a turkey. Writing  from France on January 26, 1784 to his daughter Sally (Mrs. Sarah Bache) in Philadelphia, Franklin casts doubt on the propriety of using the Bald Eagle to symbolize the "brave and honest Cincinnati of America," a newly formed society of revolutionary war officers.

The society's insignia had a poorly drawn eagle that looked more like a turkey, which prompted Franklin's naturally inquisitive mind to compare and contrast the two birds as a symbol for the United States.

Franklin's Letter to His Daughter where he compares the Bald Eagle and the Turkey (excerpt)
"For my part I wish the Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our country.  The Eagle is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk (Osprey); and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.

"With all this Injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping & Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District. He is therefore by no means a proper Emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King birds from our Country . . .

"I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America . . . He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on."
Well, Franklin's point is well taken, especially in regard  to the eagles right wingnut behavior visa vie the hardworking blue collar Osprey.  Still, as you can see in the photograph below, I remain somewhat a  fan of our  handsome looking National Symbol.....:) Yet as less that 1% of the total American bird population, I  just hope he doesn't emulate his human one per centers and stash his ill gotten booty in foreign banks where he doesn't pay taxes on it unlike the rest of us turkeys and hard working middle class ospreys...


Monday, January 8, 2018

The Osprey

She is osprey a.k.a. "The Fish Hawk. She ranges over much of North America, wherever lakes and river are to be found. About 3/4 the size of Bald Eagle, her rival and competitor, she out fishes him and does not emulate his willingness to scavenge and steal.
When I was starting up my blog in 2008, I came across this picture. It gave me the idea I needed for naming my blog. I saw my favorite hobby, flyfishing for trout and my newest one, birding..... thus troutbirder.
She is not very common here on the plains of southern Minnesota nor in the hills and valleys where I live in the southeast corner of the state. The so called "Bluff Country." She can be found amidst the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes and rivers to the north of us. I saw many many of her kind in Florida where she both winters and resides year around. Take a look at this magnificent and amazing raptor in action........
I intend to publish  additional posts on the interaction between Ospreys and Eagles, Stay Tuned.

Monday, January 1, 2018

The Crusades

As the semi-civilized heirs of the Roman Empire fought religious war to expel the Muslims from the "Holy Land," today for some, all Muslims, American citizens and round the world, are perceived as terrorists or as the Chinese built a wall to keep out the foreign "barbarians" today Mexican "rapists" perhaps necessitate a similar wall.  Foreign allies can't be trusted and enemies can be bought and trusted.  It's all here in The Crusades as the culmination of Europe's Dark Ages. My review can be found on Troutbirder II.  Click on me and Mark Twain above...:)

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

A fresh and provocative book review on my other blog Troutbirder II

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Jesus The Outlaw

Mrs. T and I wish to share this Christmas message relayed from our friends Don and Sandy.  We thought it most appropriate for the true spirit of Christmas, especially now, here in America,  as well as around the World....
This Christmas our family is celebrating Jesus - not just the baby born in a lowly manger- but the outlaw. The Jesus who stood up for and cared for the lowest in society - the outcasts - the women and children - the foreigners and ethnics looked down upon. Jesus, the dark skinned, Middle Eastern , the very Son of God sent to show us how to love, sent to save us from ourselves. Our prayer is that God helps us love the way Jesus loves.

Sent on by Barb and Ray                              
Merry Christmas

Friday, December 22, 2017

Our Last Real Christmas Tree

I don't have a picture of our last real Christmas tree but the photo above gives a hint. So I'll explain.
Upon recollection it seems for years we had gone  to a local Christmas tree farm and searched for the perfect tree often coming close but....  Then one year after much searching we found one, cut it down and brought it home. It was perfectly shaped, filled with thick full branches and only a little too tall.  Mrs. T. and the boys stood it up in the proper place while I laid down,  got the trunk into the tree stand, screwed the fasteners tight and hollered "ok let it go".  Whereupon, it fell over on top of me.  So naturally, thinking I had goofed on the "put it in the Christmas stand part," I repeated that operation more carefully without any mistakes.   And, of course, it happened again. Now, using my great analytical skills, my and sons and I took it outside  to shorten the culprit believing it was too tall.   Voila! It was in that process we discovered  that  "the perfect tree" trunk  divided into two trunks and, of course,  they were of unequal weight.   Later, I learned that  this was the rare "WISHBONE TREE EFFECT.
    Many of you may remember when that bone was saved from  a whole chicken, a  contest ensued by two people pulling it apart. The person with the biggest piece got to make a wish.
The rest of the story.  I lost my temper regardless of the season and chucked the tree off the deck. Fortunately, Mrs. T came up the idea that we should go to Rochester and buy a beautiful artificial Christmas tree ready to go and we had for years without it ever falling over.  

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Winter Solstice Revealed


The Winter Solstice Revealed
The Winter Solstice (December 21) is literally and figuratively going to be the darkest day of the year, and it's all thanks to a rare cosmic incident that hasn't occurred in over 350 years.

 As if December hasn't been crazy enough, what with the erratic weather and Mercury and Washington D.C. going into retrogade, it is, according to astrologers, only going to get worse, with December 21 predicted to be the most horrendous day yet of 2017.


Neil Spencer, an astrologer and author, revealed that this year's Solstice is different from others in the past, because for the first time since 1664, the Sun will move into Capricorn, mere hours after Saturn makes the same exact shift; this will cause the sun and Saturn to actually line up, a phenomenon which is expected to have very uncomfortable consequences. Well, I have  had  unusual experiences related to the winter solstice as well.
It seems Mrs. T and our best friends, all teachers, took a long camping trip to Alaska in our new "POP UP CAMPER." Gary is checking it out below. We're on our way to Seward the next day.

The ladies had stopped in a supermarket in Anchorage to stock up on groceries. The checkouts there  informed that their will be a summer solstice "celebration" that night. This apparently is a big custom throughout Alaska and the world for that matter. It began with the Druids in very early England at a place call Stonehenge   (above)
Thus on the the Chugach mountain above Anchorage young people gather on the longest day of the year in wild revelry, according to our grocery shopping reporters. Mmmmm? Mary Jane and nude dancing? Naturally me and Gary wondered....:)

Later that evening, the campground had a lovely view and loons and wolves where  heard beyond the campfire. Since this is bear country, we were instructed by the ranger to leave the food and cosmetics in the SUV and not the camper. The summer solstice dinner consisted of shrimp and crackers for a first course, then Mrs. T comes up with tin-foil wrapped salmon grilled over the fire, corn, and cake for dessert. And champagne. Mmmm good.

It was at about this point that your two, somewhat staid, stick in the mud husbands, were informed that it was their duty to continue the festivities all night. It was an Alaskan custom, we were told. Plus, it would be light out all night long. Unfortunately, the two midwestern men, clinging to their conservative ways, rebelled and broke up the party by trudging off to bed, at the ungodly early hour of 2 a.m. in the morning.

 P.S. early the next day before heading off to the Kenai we talked to the local Ranger who informed us the ladies has jumped the gun by one day on the "solstice celebration".  Would you believe they wanted to do it again the next night.......:)