Troutbirder II

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

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.

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.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


She was a good old gal & served Troutbirder well these many years. Now she is in the computer hospital in Cresco Iowa. I wait anxiously  for news of her recovery or demise. Here at home her younger sister, the laptop, really leaves me mostly helpless except  for reading the morning paper & emails.  A jumpy cursor and hunt & peck won't work for blogging. I may have to recycle some old posts in the meantime. Patience is a virtue of which I'm in short supply of.......Still in the immortal words of General Douglas MacArthur "I shall return.".....:)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Historical Photography Quiz (Part V)

It was a very hot July day and we were on a vacation trip to Canada’s Maritime Provinces. Heading north though the beautiful Hudson River Valley we made a stop to examine a famous American battlefield. It was tramping through a wooded area that I came upon an unusual monument.   The monument is dedicated to “the most brilliant soldier of the Continental Army” though he is not mentioned by name.   Surely he was wounded though as we see a bullet hole in the boot. His name was……?
Click on Mark Twain above to jump to Troutbirder II and check your answer....

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Burning Bush

Love is a burning thing                          
And it makes a firery ring
Bound by wild desire
I fell in to a ring of fire
I fell into a burning ring of fire
I went down, down, down
And the flames went higher
And it burns, burns, burns
The ring of fire
The Burning Bush
Across Our Front Yard ... A Ring of Fire
 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

"That's where the tall corn grows...."

Well, actually not originally. It was tall mostly big bluestem grass back then. Bluestem is a  native, warm season  perennial grass that was  dominant  throughout much of the tallgrass prairie.
Though the song gives "Ioway Ioway" just credit for growing tall corn, southern Minnesota also produces its share as well as lots of soybeans.
Here one of our good friends and neighbors cornfield stretches south to the horizon.  Lucky for us and Miss Lily the fieldroad gives us a perfect place close by for our morning walk.
  We actually live on a borderland lying between flat vistas stretching west to the Rockies and east to Bluff County which is an unglaciated land of hills, river valleys and sinkholes. Here the woodlots teem with deer, turkey and all sorts of small critters for Lily to get excited about...
Conservation practices include "waterways" which limit soil erosion.

Morning hikers....:)

Friday, November 18, 2016


Ok click on Mark Twains and my picture above to jump to Troutbirder II and my slightly off the track take on the recent election...:)

Monday, November 14, 2016

Swimming Lessons

Mrs. T and I have had five dogs now.  Three of them were hunters.  Max the Wonder Dog.
He was a "designer dog" before the term was invented being a Golden Retrieve X German Shorthair Pointer. The book and movie Marley could have been based on his antics. He was also a phenomenal hunter of pheasants and grouse who taught me how to  benefit from his skills.
Max was followed by  Chessie and Muffy two Chesapeake Retrievers. Those two lovable girls added retrieving ducks and geese to the skill set. Oh did they love the water.
Chessie von Milville
They were all "outside dogs" with a kennel who had inside the house privileges to socialize with the family. When I had to give up hunting due to a bum knee, we decided to have a companion/guard dog.  An extra large GSD named Baron filled the bill. He proved to be my best buddy....
Now we have Lily a female GSD and an unexpected "rescue dog."  As a wild/abandoned wanderer she was first taken in by our friends Steve and Jewel to their dairy farm. A year later she came to us upon Steve's untimely death. Whatever her early life experience were they certainly were not good. Bonding with Mrs. T. Lily is now our first "house dog." She has quickly picked up on most of the social graces she obviously missed as a puppy and has proven to be a lovable companion. Still she has what seems to be to be quirks compared to our experiences with previous dogs.  She is ready to fight at the sight of another dog, doesn't play with toys, fetch or swim.  We're working, so far unsuccessfully,
on the later.....

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Historical Photography Quiz (Part )

A young soldier holds up the singed and shredded pants of a famous person. That person was.......? Make a guess then check it by clicking on Mark Twain above to find the answer on Troutbirder II.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Fierce Animals She Has Known (Part III)

Mrs. T And The Bears:
Some years ago a thousand miles from home in Minnesota and fifty miles south of Big Timber, Montana, on a rutted gravel road we’d been headed south toward a beautiful Forest Service campground. It was the last one before the road ended in the Beartooth /Absaroka range north of Yellowstone National Park. The Boulder River is a prime trout-fishing destination. That was my goal. Then we spotted a red sign. "There are grizzly bears here?", Mrs. T queried. "Yes dear, but I will protect you," I replied. "I wanna go back home," she asserted firmly.

Near Darby, Montana, in the beautiful Bitterroot Range, at the Sam Billings Campground, we were just about ready to hike up a trail to the falls. "Are you sure there are no grizzly bears in these mountains?" "Yes, dear. There is a big controversy about bringing them back here, but it hasn’t happened yet, "  I informed her. "Well, Lucille (my sister in law) and I are going to wear bells just in case. To warn them off !" My brother smiled, and then I couldn’t help myself. "Err... I read there are a lot of mountain lions here though and tinkle bells really tick them off." "Whatever you jerk!"
A couple of years later we were about to launch our canoes from the landing, at Sawbill Campground, into the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness, for a week long trip along with our two teenage sons. It was at the landing where we encountered a returning couple. with a terrorized woman who informed Mrs T. that a black bear had eaten all their food. Then "we" decided to spend the week at the public campground instead of in the wilderness among the marauding bears….
Clearly this woman is deathly afraid of bears. Right? Wrong! It all depends on the circumstances. Camera in hand a magical transformation takes place... she suddenly becomes the wild bear paparazzi woman.

We are on a back road in Grand Teton National Park with my brother and sister-in-law. My brother is driving. As we come around a bend in the road he stops suddenly. There is an abandoned car blocking the road with the front door left open. I have seen this act before. Looking out into the woods I see  some guy stalking a grizzly bear.  Almost immediately I hear our rear door slam and my timid spouse, camera in hand, begins  following the idiot who abandoned his car in the road. "Come back," I yell from the road. "This could be dangerous" My brother later asked for copies of her shots of the apparently oblivious grizzly.
Ten years ago in Alaska, she rolled down the car window and leaned out, camera in hand. I suggested somewhat facetiously, "why don't you reach out and pet him dear. He certainly looks friendly enough." Fortunately, Mr. Bear ignored her....

Some, with flyrod in hand, are willing to take risks in search of Montana trout. I've seen more than a few paw marks along some streams.

Others, camera at the ready, look for the perfect shot. This is how it was among the Troutbirders.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

People of the Book

Click on Mark Twain and Troutbirder above to jump to my book review blog.....

Monday, October 24, 2016

Fierce Animals I Have Known (Part II)

Continuing our odyssey of animals Mrs. T and I have encountered with our cameras, we move on to some equally dangerous but larger types...
It seems I had joined a group of  Wisconsin birders for an outing along the Mississippi. Forgetful, I had inadvertently worn my U. of M. gopher cap and after introducing myself, several asked how my team had done against the Badgers the preceding day in football.  This, of course, was a loaded question since they had lost badly, which made it something like 12 in a row. Taking off my cap, I pointed out that it was 1962, when I was a junior, when my team had been in the Rose Bowl. That produced a good laugh so I added there would be no more football talk while birding.
A hapless gopher
A ferocious, extremely predatory Wisconsin Badger found recently under a shed digging for rodents....
Some of you may recall a recent post I did about my early morning encounter on the porch of our cabin in Yellowstone National Park. There was something about his eyes...
Then it turns out that fierce animals are not the only ones to pose a danger. It seems some birds in Florida threatened our car as well.
A ranger at a State Park mentioned that the local black vultures had taken a liking to eating tires.
Fortunately I left my waders, flyrod, and swimsuit  in Minnesota
 And coming up in Part III Mrs. T. takes on some Grizzly Bears