My interest is birding. Her interest is
shopping. Late March "cabin fever" has
set in and we decide to head south
towards Northeastern Iowa and the
As I enter my second year of serious
birding my "life list" reveals some
serious gaps. Shorebirds is one.
Fillmore County Minnesota where
Troutbirder lives is the only county
in "The Land Of Ten Thousand Lakes"
without a lake. Not exactly prime
shorebird territory. The Mississippi
Valley, an hours drive to the south
and east, might be the answer
New Albin, Iowa has a long gravel road
heading through the river backwaters
to a boat landing. It might just be the
ticket for finding shorebirds, assuming
they have arrived from their wintering
Binocs and Peterson in hand the
first pool we come to has dozens
of shorebirds along with some Herring
Gulls, geese, and several eagles watching
The problem becomes immediately
obvious. The shorebirds all look the same. And yet I know they are not. It reminds me of my previous rookie year experiences with sparrows and warblers.
The devil is in the details.
I note fairly quickly some have yellow legs and others don't. Some of the
yellowlegers are about 1/3 bigger than
the others. Check the Peterson. Well...
Greater and Lessers Yellowlegs. Two "lifers" right there! It's a start.
The rest proved to be the kind I could
narrow down to several species but was
unsure at that point. Still, I was happy with
the mornings work.
It was approaching lunch time so we
headed on further south down the river
road to Lansing Iowa. Lansing is your
typical small river town with one big exception - Horsfalls Lansing Variety.
There are two of them (the old and
the new store) each taking up
about a city block. It is difficult to
find the right words to describe them.
Junk stores comes immediately to mind.
To others it might be "bargains" or even
"treasures." I will stick with the word
"junk" although it's not used junk like
you find at garage sales. It's all in the
original packages, mostly direct from
The aisles are narrow. So narrow you
may have to turn sideways or hop over
boxes to find your way thru. I don't believe
the town could possibly have a fire marshall.
To the bargain hunter this is paradise personified. Mrs T loves it. Myself, perhaps,
a little less so. I'm strictly a Sam's Club kind of guy. (Just kidding!)