Troutbirder II

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

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Those Were The Days

You can tell by the vintage of the school bus that the people in this picture must be pretty old by now. This is second grade, Mounds Park Elementary school, St. Paul, Minnesota. That's Troutbirder in the front row, right hand corner, with the little beanie cap on.... jeez mom how could you? My cousin Terry had sent me a notice of an Elementary School reunion and I guess it sent my brain cells off on a jog through memory lane....




There is Miss Amblers Kindergarten class down by the old wishing rock. My 1st cousin Prudy is front row far left and I'm back row center with the the suspenders. Obviously my mother was a fashion maven. Of course, I was first born so according to the psychologists got all the good stuff. Miss Ambler had been my fathers kindergarten teacher. Other names I remember were Miss Heim, Miss Holmen, Miss Searle, Miss Ahlstrom, and Miss Dahlquist. Plainly female teachers were not allowed to marry in those days. Yes, I walked six blocks to school, uphill both ways, as Bill Cosby says. Those were the days my friends, we thought they'd never end....





Here's a few more fashionista pictures from the "40's."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Beautiful Tundra Swans

Mr. Science and I headed down to the "Big River", the Mississippi, yesterday for a day of birding. There, the Mississippi National Wildlife Refuge provides a safe haven for millions of migratiing waterfowl each fall. We did, however, have a special target in mind. Migrating from their summer breeding grounds in the northern Arctic, tens of thousands of beautiful large white birds, wend there way south to stop, rest, and refuel on the Mississippi River near Brownsville, Minnesota. They pause here, usually for a few weeks, before turning southeast, heading for their wintering grounds on Chesapeake Bay. They are the beautiful Tundra Swans.





Here, on a backwater near Weaver, we see hundreds of swans and ducks. In the distance, beyond the screen of trees, a barge is moving down the main channel of the river. With Wisconsin in the distance, perhaps a mile away, we can see many more. Sometimes, huge "rafts" of these birds seem to turn the entire river white. When we step out of car, the sound of their vocalizations is almost deafening. Some are even close enough to us to get a picture. On occasion a few fly over us, but I'm not a skilled enough photographer to get a decent picture. Another wonder can occur; on some visits I've counted well over several hundred Bald Eagles. If the sun is out and thermals rise above the bluffs, we can see them "kettle." They form a spiral rising almost out of sight. Late migrating white pelicans also use this river highway. Awkward looking on the ground, they are magnificent soaring aloft as they head south to the Gulf.


With the construction of the lock and dam system on the river in the 1930's, many of the natural aspects of the river have changed. One of these is the wave action of the increased open spaces. Many islands have disappeared. Because of this many of the plants and tubers the swans fed on have also disappeared. Now man is undoing the damage and helping the birds by using dredge material from the main channel to rebuild these islands. Here you can see one of the many artificial islands providing a resting place and shelter from the wind and renewed food supplies. Way to go DNR and Army Corps of Engineers!


I took a video with my little point and shoot camera, I wanted to let you hear the swans. I estimated their were about 5,000 in the immediate area. There have been well over 100,000 during peak weeks of the migration. Unfortunately, Blogger didn't like it.
Darn!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Petrified Forest National Park - Arizona

We were a little ahead of schedule on our three day drive to visit the grandchildren in the Phoenix area. Thus, it was convenient to make an afternoon stop a the Petriefied Forest National Park, straddling I-40 in the northeastern part of the State. Here, 250 million years ago, a vast floodplain was crossed by many streams, surrounded by stately conifers, ferns and other plants and inhabited by crocodile-like reptiles, giants amphibians and the occasional dinosauer. Eventually, as the climate and continents changed and moved, a mix of silt, mud and volcanic ash buried logs, cut off oxygen and slowed the logs decay. Thru a complex "substitution" process, they were convered to silica and then quartz. They became logs of stone.


















The history of the area was the typical story of discovery, amazement, exploitation, vandalism and eventual preservation of the remains. The rescue of parts of the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest began in 1906 with President Theodore Roosevelt and culminated in 1970 with Congresses approval of the National Park. We took an 18 mile "auto tour" through the Park. Come on along and take a look.....


Ace photographer Barb working The Painted Desert.












Stark, yet majestically beautiful in its own way, is what I thought.........




Thursday, November 10, 2011

Investigative Analysis

See the preceding post for the evidence. Careful analysis of the photograph of the victims injury reveals some important clues. The fact that the injury is located on the back of the leg as opposed to the front or side suggests he was hit from the behind but did not fall. Most revealing however, is the description of the abrasions themselves. They definitely appear to be tread marks. A bicycle tire immediately comes to mind. The medical authority did not report any other injuries so we hypothesize the following: Troutbirder was hit in the back of the leg by an out of control/or inattentive fellow byciclist. He, somehow managed to maintain control and was not flung from his own bike. A common misdemeanor occured, which in the driving world, is known as "tailgating." A highly dangerous habit common to many forms of propulsion......

Troutbirder: "Yes it's true. I was "rear ended" on a steep downgrade. Apparently, I wasn't going fast enough for the speedos who seem to think it's all a race. Another concern is the fact that when I took up biking years ago it was common for people to warn you when approaching or passing from behind. "On your left" or "coming up" were common phrases." No more.....

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

CSI


CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is an American crime drama investigation series which premiered on CBS on Oct 6, 2000. Wildly popular around the world, it has drawn as many a 74 million viewers and spun off numerous look alikes. The investigators use physical evidence to solve grisly murders in this unusually graphic drama. The series mixes deduction, gritty subject matter and character-driven drama. Troutbirder, hereby, submits the following photographic (physical) evidence so that you might test your own investigative skills. See if you too can determine the nature and legality of the crime commited. Place your analysis in the comment section.

Case 213 Location - Somwhere between Harmony and Preston in Bluff Country. Trauma - Contusions on the back of Mr. Troutbirders right leg. The victim was later treated by authorized medical personnel. He was released from care with non life threatening injuries. Photograph taken on July 16th 2011.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wile E. Coyote

On our recent visit to my son and his family in Phoenix, Arizona, I had a flashback to the favorite cartoon of my misspent youth. It was The Roadrunner. Due to the kind generosity of Tony’s in-laws, Jack and Barb, we got to stay in their winter home in the Mesa area. Right on fairway number 2 as it were {Sunset view from the patio}



The day in question we had noted the neighborhood was overrun with long eared jack rabbits. They were everywhere. We had also visited a local arboretum with Tony, Kari and the grandchildren . There I managed to add a roadrunner to my "life list" of birds.
Exhausted, we slept in the next day and just as the sun was coming up, I heard a siren going by along with a series of loud howls and yips. This was a familiar scenario because at home my big GSD Baron does this whenever the fire engine goes by. Half awake I thought I was home until Mrs. T poked me in the ribs mumbling "what’s that?" Grabbing my camera I rushed outside on the patio to see a pack of coyotes emerge from between the house and the neighbors. They were headed out onto the golf course, presumably after the ever-present jackrabbits or maybe even an elusive roadrunner. Arizona. There’s some wild things going on down there!