Troutbirder II

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

Monday, May 2, 2016

And Then All Hell Broke Loose

NBC's Chief correspondent Richard Engel tell it like it was and is..... Click on Mark Twain above for my take on his take

Thursday, April 28, 2016


When I was a fledgling birder some years ago, I was a little puzzled when a more experienced birder used the term LBJ's. Being a retired history teacher I immediately thought of the former President. The term didn't fit the conversation we had been having though about birds. Lady Bird Johnson I'm thinking.  Not her either. It was Little Brown Jobs. Small nondescript birds that are hard to identify. Like sparrows it turned out.

Later, Mr. Science (Gary Erickson), introduced me to  them.  What an interesting and colorful collection they make. Coming in a variety of shades and colors they can be found in many different habitats. They are a  world of birds unto their own. I could  see I would have my work cut out for me to learn all about them. So it was today that I knew right away that it was a small flock of migrating white throated sparrows foraging beneath my bird feeder. Take note of the brilliant white throat and yellow markings on the head. Nothing drab there for sure….

I’ve already seen Fox Sparrows in the same area.  Bold and Bright  they were.
And the Harris Sparrow....
Plus a much rarer Lark Sparrow

There are at least 35 bird species of sparrows in North America.  There are about 15 species of  them that can be found in most areas of North America, some more abundant and widespread than others. These are the American Tree Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Clay-colored Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Harris's Sparrow, Le Conte's Sparrow, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, and White-throated Sparrow. They are all native except the ubiquitous House Sparrow which is an import from England.
Last but not least is  the strikingly marked, oversized sparrow of the East, feather in bold black and warm reddish-browns.
Rufous Sided Towhee


Monday, April 25, 2016


For safety reasons I sold our bikes on Craigs List last week. With the ups and downs of life we come to many crossroads and choices. Health is often the reason. Still, we look ahead find new avenues of interest and keep going. Here at Lake Louise State Park, Mower County near Leroy, Minnesota.....

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Ken Follett: The Century Trilogy

For Troutbirders take on Follett's Century Trilogy click on Mark Twain above....

Thursday, April 14, 2016


Hermit Thrush Photo by Gary Erickson

It’s that time of the year now in Southeastern Minnesota.  The local ponds are filling with migrating geese and ducks. Then I saw my first Hermit Thrush and Eastern Phoebe yesterday and several varieties of native sparrows as well.  Then best of all was that strange even froglike croaking call of the arrival of our locally breeding Sandhill Cranes. They became for the first ever summertime residents here only about ten years ago now.

On our spring trips to Colorado to see the Grandchildren, our halfway overnight stop was   usually at Grand Island Nebraska in the Platte river valley. Arriving a little early on one occasion and having had supper already, we opted for a short jaunt along the river. The result was amazing as thousands of Sandhill cranes were seen everywhere in the fields along the river. They seemed especially partial to picked cornfields. From here, after feeding and resting for a bit they would eventually head north as far as Canada and even Eastern Siberia. It was the first time we had ever seen these magnificent birds
As the sun began to set, we came to a bridge over the Platte. After parking, I walked up on the bridge and noticed flocks of birds, coming from all directions to settle in for the night. What a sight!
In the wild sandhills are very wary yet in Feb. we found some right along the Atlantic beachfront in Florida mingling with the tourists...:)

“There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of birds. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature--the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.”--Rachel Carson

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Special Gals

                                        Deanne (D.I.L.) & Barb
Center (Miss Lily) Far Right (Miss Tensae)

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Revenant by Michael Punke

Saw the movie but thought some more depth to the characterizations might be appropriate so tried the book.  Click on Mark Twain above to jump to my review on Troutbirder II.

Thursday, March 31, 2016


It would be absolutely accurate to say, that I have no artistic talent whatsoever. And my knowledge of art, its history and practice is sketchy at best. Still there is one basic, like most people, I really appreciate. Light. In all its manifestations.

"The older I become the more I realize of that I have to work very hard to reproduce what I search: the instantaneous. The influence of the atmosphere on the things and the light scattered throughout"    Claude Monet, 1891

"The climax of Impressionism". That's how the series of views of Rouen Cathedral painted by Claude Monet between 1892 and 1894 has been best described. The series - consisting of 31 canvases showing the facade of the Gothic Rouen Cathedral under different conditions of light and climate- caused an immediate admiration among the critics of his time.

It was on a  vacation to France  (celebrating Mrs. T.s retirement) that I stood on the plaza in front of that cathedral and remembered the PBS special on Monet and his studies of light. I was so enthralled I managed to get my billfold picked. Ooops, I digress...fortunately it was a decoy in my back pocket. The valuables were in a pouch hanging from my neck.

It was a somewhat overcast hazy morning when we arrived. Unfortunately, it was the same condition as when we had visited the cathedral in Chartes. I had advised Mrs. T there to look up at the stained glass windows and be prepared to see heaven. The blue at Chartes is stunning.
Mrs. T's photograph of the North Rose  window ensemble of Chartes Cathedral on a somewhat hazy day. Still magnificent. We stood in silent awe......