Troutbirder II

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

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Home Waters

Troutbirder reminisces about fly fishing for trout, some good rivers here and in Montana.  Click on Mark Twain above for a review of a good anthology on the same subject....:)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Our Neighbors

It’s late March and I’m on a mission. Actually Mrs. T and I are less than a mile from our home base.  Moving silently I probe the trees with my binoculars looking for clues. Distant crows break the early morning quiet. Have they returned, for the fifth consecutive year I wonder?

There high in the tree overlooking the trout ponds! I move closer but not too close. I do not want to cause any disturbance! My friends, the trout farm eagles have returned. All is well here in Bluff Country


Monday, May 9, 2016

A Beautiful Song To Remember

Something made an appearance last week at the Goethite W.M.A. that totally made my day. It was a pair of Meadowlarks. What kind were they? Well, I'm not sure. Mr. Science (Gary my birding mentor) tells me that the Eastern Meadowlark needs singing lessons and the Western sings more sweetly. I will go with that though I had no comparison to hear any difference....

As a child growing up on the East Side of St. Paul, the song of meadowlarks often brightened my day. They lived in a field just across the road from my parents’ home on Johnson Parkway.(Pictured left below)   I often awoke to their beautiful song drifting thru my bedroom window. Today that field is long gone and a nursing home has taken its place, along with miles and miles of suburbs and malls stretching 20 miles to the east, all the way to Wisconsin.
I've thought, more than once in recent years, how long it had been since I heard that lilting song. Decades I think. And last week I heard it again. How sweet it is...

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