Troutbirder II

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

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Presidents Book of Secrets

Warning: This book is for Adults Only. 
Click on Mark Twains Picture above for details......

Friday, October 14, 2016

Fierce Animals I Have Known (Part I)

Yes, it's true. I have never killed nor photographed wild creatures in Africa, but North America is not without its' dangers...
Two Right Under Our Rental Cabin....scary!
Then one came closer... right at me.....
Retreating to a nearby grassy area, out of the ground popped a fierce looking wild dog with large protruding teeth - a Prairie Dog!

Spotting  a tree for a quick  escape, I saw it was already occupied. These Great Gray Squirrels were noted for dragging their food up the tree. I wanted no part of that....:(

Enough was enough and I headed for a walk around a pond on the local golf course. There rising out of the depths watching me is what I could only describe as a "Golden Shark." Man eater no doubt....
With danger lurking everywhere around us in southern Minnesota,  Mrs. T. and I decided to head off to the wide open spaces of the West. Perhaps were could see danger  coming our way more clearly... And sure enough there a baby Burro  was in the Black Hills of South Dakota.  Cute and certainly not aggressive.
Then his parents showed up and did everything but climb in the car with me to get at my bag of potato chips.  Ugh!
We do love our creatures great and small though as evidenced by the recent rescue by our son visiting from Arizona of a rather large Snapping Turtle who made his way, much too slowly across a busy highway.  Tony picked him up by the tail and deposited him safely in the ditch.
Coming soon in Part II the animals grow bigger and fiercer and the two photographers more foolish yet.....

Friday, October 7, 2016

Changing Prairie

I had previously put up a mid July view of my friend Gary's (Mr. Science) two acre restored native prairie. It provides a changing palette of native grasses and wildflowers. Take a look if you missed it....

Now we can see the Grand Finale. These are New England Asters which will last till our first heavy frosts and snow. 
There are a few remnants of earlier blooming asters and various types of goldenrod mixed in but as you can see the New England variety dominates.
It's also time for many of our song birds and raptors to begin moving south. I, as a fledgling birder, can identify some of the warblers in the spring as the males sport their gorgeous breeding colors. Not  so easy in the fall, as the brighter colors fade. Still this "butter butt" (a.k.a. yellow rumped warbler) stands out on the prairie with his distinctive mark.

Monday, October 3, 2016

VIctory at Yorktown

Keep an open mind now, plug your nose if necessary, and click on Mark Twain above to jump to Troutbirder II's surprisingly  positive  review of disgraced former House Leader Newt Gingrich's historical novel Victory at Yorktown.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Minnesota & Florida: Large Shorebirds

We took a daylong birding outing down the Whitewater Valley to the Mississippi River.  The Whitewater is a modest sized river noted for it's trout fishing and scenic vistas.  It was mid-September and too early for much waterfowl migration  but the shorebirds were gathering soon to be heading south.
We hiked with Lily across a dike in the refuge noting some large white birds to our left. Looking across another pool to our right we saw even more...
I was pretty sure they weren't whoopers or pelicans but wondered if I could get closer for my little point and shoot camera.
Sure enough a Great White Egret. I talked to this bird and he said they were getting together here to soon head off to the Gulf Coast. I replied we were "snowbirds" too and perhaps might run into them in Florida!
Sure enough there were lots of shorebirds in Florida. Uncountable sloughs, ponds, bayous, coastal backwaters and canals will do that. Another unusual thing we noted was that some of them seemed almost tame. Our
friend from Minnesota, for example.
And then its started to get confusing....
 White Ibis
Snowy Egret
Cattle Egrets golfing.
And so as the sun sets on our little comparison of some large shorebirds in Minnesota and Florida we give a slight edge to the later having more shore and year around birds to gawk at. 
Some Minnesota snowbirders (Rosie, Mrs. T. and Gary) enjoying their winter migration to the Sunshine State.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Salem Falls

Jodi Picoult writes in shades of gray and conflicting moral ambiguity. Take a look by clicking on Mark Twain above.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Restoring A Native Prairie

This guy Gary, A.K.A. Mr. Science is indeed a man for all seasons. Good friend, fellow teacher, photographer, phrenologist, fierce tennis rival, canoeing partner and not least of all my mentor in birding.

He also restored a prairie on his property.  From early spring to late fall this plot of ground harks back to the tall grass landscapes seen by the pioneers. Rarely seen now they have almost totally been replaced by crops. In our area of southern Minnesota that would be corn and soybeans. Gary has mowed trails here so Lily and I went for our morning walk. It was mid July. Let's take a look....
We see the leaves of a cup plant. Yes, after a rain, the leaves do collect water. This member of the sunflower family can grow quite tall.
Another member of the sunflower family is the compass plant. The leaves orient south and so you can find your way home.... The compass plant too stands tall above its neighbors.
The purple prairie coneflower, often seen in gardens is a true wildflower.
And a few more from Gary's own blog Nature Notes   Thanks Gary!
Panicle Astor
Many colors of aster brighten the prairie from August till November including these sky blue one and the dark purple New England ones still bright when the first snows come.
Narrow leaf sunflower.
Well that's all for today. Each month brings changes so I'll come back later to see what's blooming. In the meantime I'll check a compass plant to be sure I'm heading home in the right direction...:)

Friday, September 16, 2016

Historical Photography Quiz by

And all the King's horses and all the....
And here we have ?  Check you answer on Troutbirder II by clicking on Mark Twain above...:)