Troutbirder II

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

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Minnesota & Florida: Large Shorebirds

We took a daylong birding outing down the Whitewater Valley to the Mississippi River.  The Whitewater is a modest sized river noted for it's trout fishing and scenic vistas.  It was mid-September and too early for much waterfowl migration  but the shorebirds were gathering soon to be heading south.
We hiked with Lily across a dike in the refuge noting some large white birds to our left. Looking across another pool to our right we saw even more...
I was pretty sure they weren't whoopers or pelicans but wondered if I could get closer for my little point and shoot camera.
Sure enough a Great White Egret. I talked to this bird and he said they were getting together here to soon head off to the Gulf Coast. I replied we were "snowbirds" too and perhaps might run into them in Florida!
Sure enough there were lots of shorebirds in Florida. Uncountable sloughs, ponds, bayous, coastal backwaters and canals will do that. Another unusual thing we noted was that some of them seemed almost tame. Our
friend from Minnesota, for example.
And then its started to get confusing....
 White Ibis
Snowy Egret
Cattle Egrets golfing.
And so as the sun sets on our little comparison of some large shorebirds in Minnesota and Florida we give a slight edge to the later having more shore and year around birds to gawk at. 
Some Minnesota snowbirders (Rosie, Mrs. T. and Gary) enjoying their winter migration to the Sunshine State.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Salem Falls

Jodi Picoult writes in shades of gray and conflicting moral ambiguity. Take a look by clicking on Mark Twain above.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Restoring A Native Prairie

This guy Gary, A.K.A. Mr. Science is indeed a man for all seasons. Good friend, fellow teacher, photographer, phrenologist, fierce tennis rival, canoeing partner and not least of all my mentor in birding.

He also restored a prairie on his property.  From early spring to late fall this plot of ground harks back to the tall grass landscapes seen by the pioneers. Rarely seen now they have almost totally been replaced by crops. In our area of southern Minnesota that would be corn and soybeans. Gary has mowed trails here so Lily and I went for our morning walk. It was mid July. Let's take a look....
We see the leaves of a cup plant. Yes, after a rain, the leaves do collect water. This member of the sunflower family can grow quite tall.
Another member of the sunflower family is the compass plant. The leaves orient south and so you can find your way home.... The compass plant too stands tall above its neighbors.
The purple prairie coneflower, often seen in gardens is a true wildflower.
And a few more from Gary's own blog Nature Notes   Thanks Gary!
Panicle Astor
Many colors of aster brighten the prairie from August till November including these sky blue one and the dark purple New England ones still bright when the first snows come.
Narrow leaf sunflower.
Well that's all for today. Each month brings changes so I'll come back later to see what's blooming. In the meantime I'll check a compass plant to be sure I'm heading home in the right direction...:)

Friday, September 16, 2016

Historical Photography Quiz by

And all the King's horses and all the....
And here we have ?  Check you answer on Troutbirder II by clicking on Mark Twain above...:)

Monday, September 12, 2016


It was only a few weeks ago that Mrs. T and I were visiting our good and long time friends Don and Sandy. They live on a knoll high above the Maple River in South Central Minnesota. They call their place Kerkwood. I tend to think of it as Shangri-La.

  The setting is indeed, an almost mystical, verdant hidden valley,  surrounded by prairie flood plain, lush forested hills, ridges and the music of birds. A highlight of our visit was when Don's "Safari Service"
 took me on a jeep ride along the maze of trails throughout the extensive property . Your welcome to come along, though hang on tight,  as spots can be bumpy and we have to cross a few waterways...:)
We cross the floodplain prairie and head thru a wood then up to the ridge. There we catch a glimpse of the Maple River.
Hopping off the ranger, we approach the edge of a cliff well over a hundred feet straight down to the river. I like the view but don't get too close....
Some kayakers drift around a bend and slowly paddle downstream. The next days the ladies took a shopping excursion into Mankato and Don and I headed out to a local lake to try our luck. The fish weren't exactly jumping in the boat that day but we enjoyed the outing and relived some fond times when we taught together in the same high school.
 We  might be a bit older, but still know how to have fun!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


First a best seller... then a Tony Award winning play.  Click on Mark Twain above to jump to Troutbirder II and my review.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Historical Photography Quiz

And this construction project is....?  Take a guess and then check your answer by clicking on Mark Twain above to jump to Troutbirder II. All will be revealed...:)