Troutbirder II

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

Sunday, January 22, 2017

A Bridge Over Troubled Water

Sail on, silvergirl
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way
See how they shine
If you need a friend
I'm sailing right behind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
It had been a late, wet, and cold spring last year.  The water was almost bank high as we hiked with Lily along the trail toward the bridge and the long trek up to Mystery Springs. There had been little trout fishing  as health issues made hiking a better choice for all three of us.

We crossed the bridge, noting a beautiful stretch of trout water, I hoped to fish that fall. Little could I know that this would be a bridge crossing troubled water then after unusual and severe floods came tumbling through the valley at that time.
It will recover of course and hoping most of the trout survived the floods I reflected back to my favorite childhood baseball team the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Whose immortal rallying cry was "Wait Till Next Year" after losing once again in the World Series to the hated Yankees......


Monday, January 16, 2017


I saw a woodpecker this morning at my suet feeder and it was one I’d never seen in my yard before, much less in the middle of January. Still, we’ve had a lot of different species of poodweckers here over the years. Here’s an accounting…..


Most common are the look alike Downy’s and Hairy’s.  The latter are about one/third bigger.  They are both at my suet feeders year around with the Downy’s somewhat more numerous.

Next, also year around and fairly common are the red bellied woodpeckers.  This has been so for at least 15 to 20 years now but represents a big change from the past. They have gradually expanded their range while replacing the red headed woodpecker.

Redheaded woodpeckers have now become occasional, even rare visitors,  in our woods. This appears to be true thru much of southeastern Minnesota were they were once common. The reasons for this change seem to be unclear…


I have seen Pileated Woodpeckers in my yard about 5 times in fifty years of living here on Oak Hill.  They are a deep big woods bird more common in the few remaining tracts of river bottoms and State Parks and Reserves. They are found in such places years round.  One of them really stands out in my memory. Some years ago I had a very large black cherry tree next to my house.  Looking out our  living room window into the backyard, I noticed piles of woodchips surrounding that tree.  Thinking a possible vandal had gone amok with a chainsaw, further investigation revealed it had been a pileated woodpecker at work.  Turned out the tree was mostly hollow and teeming with huge black carpenter ants.  Since it already leaned abit toward our house I had the tree removed and owed The Pileated Family a debt of gratitude for revealing our danger.

 I had to go far afield to see my first Lewis woodpecker. Named after the undaunted explorer Merewether Lewis it is a Western bird who range extends only as far east as the Badland of South Dakota. That's where I saw it along with a Clarks Nutcracker a member of the Jay family.
 Lewis and Clark as it were....:)

Yellow shafted Northern Flicker (a ground hunting for insects member of the woodpecker family)..  Quite common here except in Winter. Today I saw one at the suet feeder.  January 15th amazing….:)

And finally for you veteran bloggers who remember back in the day my all time favorite----Woody



Friday, January 13, 2017


One the plus side, finally, after weeks of complications my beloved, easy to type desktop has been returned in fine working order. Yea!!!!
Here it's been one of those slow winter days for me and a certain G.S. D.  The weather seems to becoming more of a determining factor as sub zero temperatures and icy roads
and sidewalks  tend to discourage me from long hikes with the dog. Maybe even the creative process is being hindered. In any case, coming up with a new blogging topic today has been a struggle but with there is always hope... Lets go back a few summers and remember.....
From the musical Cats
 "If you touch me. All alone with my memory. Of my days in the sun.
You'll understand what happiness is
Look a new day has begun."

  Places. Events. Things. Sounds. Tastes. Smells. Most of all people. All parts of our memories. And the green of summer gardens & flowers.

"  An Epiphyllum or orchid cactus."  
This beautiful plant, much like some sort of a giant Christmas cactus, reminds me of a friend. She is mostly gone from my life now, living far away. Her name is Mary Ann. She was teacher colleague and mentor for me in the art of organizational politics. She once gave me a small cutting which many years later hangs from the front porch. Each time I see it I think of her....

People: a neighbor, Angie, who offered me a "few" plants for my new shady garden. When she filled up my lawn tractor wagon with them, I knew the garden could not fail. Thinking of this special place, I cannot help but be reminded of her generosity.

These beautiful yellow irises came from my Uncle Walt. Fond memories spring forth of his gentle humor and his three brothers (including my father) debating the politics of that time in my childhood. "He should never have fired McArthur!" "Yes he should have. The military is to be under civilian control. Besides Truman is for the working man."

This battered old kerosene lantern came from my parents neighbor Art. Art was a yard engineer for the Milwaukee Road. Memory transports me again back to my childhood in the early 50's. I'm on a turntable inside the cab of a steam engine. Throwing a shovel of coal into the firebox. Pulling a cord for the whistle. Doing that which most little boys could only dream of.... Thanks Art.
Memory. It often keeps  me going.

For more details on orchid cacti. Click on link below.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Last Child In The Woods

Last Child In The Woods by RICHARD LOUV

Book Review - Click on Mark Twain above...........

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Strange Feeling

Still waiting for my desktop to arrive so in the meantime  from 2008 an early post starring Mrs. T's Simba & my best buddy Baron....:)

I've had this strange feeling since last summer. It's like I'm being watched. No, I'm not paranoid. It always happens when seated at the dinner table. I thought at first maybe it was Simba-Lord of Oak Hill  (a.k.a. Mr Innocent according to Mrs. T). Well, I would be first to admit he is usually pretty laid back. But I have caught him up on the kitchen counter and the dinning room table, when I was distracted, trying to nab a bite out of the people food.

There is though another table out on the deck. I wonder if......

Well Baron.  It's  the BIG GSD alright. He gets to come in after supper.  Must be getting hungry.....

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Slow Improvement (Dec 2009)

Still waiting upon the rehab of my desktop, so lets jump back & revive an early post from 2009. I was a novice birder back then and knew even less about photography. Take note of the finger, blurring the bottom of the photo.  I had a lot to learn.....

What were they? I Didn't have a clue.
So there it is. Good picture if you like silhouettes. Otherwise its obvious Mr Novice Birder-Photographer (me) needed help. These two flighty rascals had shown up at my platform feeder several times a week since December. The problems were, first of all, they darted in and out from the nearby pine trees with no warning, landed on the platform and stayed there an average of 1.3 seconds. I was never ready and they hardly ever came in more than once or twice per visit. Secondly, when they did  visit, it was usually early morning or toward evening. Morning visits were shaded by the house and evening visits, I'm looking directly into the sun from my living room vantage point. These birds are quite rare here in Minnesota. For the unaware, or visually handicapped they are tufted titmice. Grrrr.

Sunday, December 25, 2016


A late fall scene looking across beautiful Lake Yellowstone with boiling steam rising along the shoreline in the distance. My brother & I were there for the trout fishing. It turned out to be the last of our many outdoor adventures together.
We had spent two freezing fruitless days on the Lamar River, even stopping by Castle Geyser to thaw our hands and flyrods in steamy vapor. Heading south to try spinner fishing for cutthroats on gigantic Lake Yellowstone seemed like a better option. It was....
The weather improved the next day.  We had the lake all to ourselves & managed to avoid conversation about his impending divorce....
Looking at family albums this Christmas 2016 & thinking of all the good times Greg & I had together before white male anger, paranoia, and finally cancer took him to other places far away.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Winter Wonderland

Still waiting  for a rehab report on my desktop. So  the balky laptop is recycling a 2010 weather report. Then it was lots of snow. Tonight the weather forecast predicts temperatures at -25 F.  Some wind too. 
Yes here in Bluff  Country a.k.a the "Banana Belt" of southern Minnesota, we consider ourselves lucky to live in the warmer part of the state. Now  no  whining  when subfreezing temperatures  spread temporarily into the more southernly parts of the lower forty-eight, well. .... get a life folks!  GSD's love the cold weather. There are always squirrels and rabbits to chase.  Odds of catching something increase in the deep snow. Snowmobile trails are especially fun!

The key to warming up is to keep everyone involved in snow clearance operations.
After a very mild & late fall winter has definitely arrived here.
Well maybe not quite this much but still...................
Sleigh bells ring, are you listening, In the lane, snow is glistening A beautiful sight, We're happy tonight. Walking in a winter wonderland.