Troutbirder II

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

Friday, April 27, 2018

Lonesome Prairie

With the last of the snow and ice finally gone from our small acreage I look to the delayed emergence of the spring wild flowers in our oak and pine woods. In the meantime a quick look at our tiny restored prairie from last late summer and fall. The bank along our east facing subdivision road proved to be to much work to keep weeded or mowed. A three years effort in this sunny patch turned it into a mini prairie. Take a look.....


Saturday, April 21, 2018

Winston Churchill: A Quick Riposte


Some years back, I briefly reviewed Volume II of William Manchesters astonishing The Last Lion trilogy. This is biography at its very best. The life of Winston Churchill has been covered perhaps hundreds of times. Manchester brings him alive as no one else has ever done. Of course, Churchills personality and foibles were unique. Here are a tiny sample of his quick wit in action.

Isadora Duncan the famous dancer was seated next to Churchill at a dinner party

Duncan - "Just think Winston if George Bernard Shaw and I had a child. With my talent and beauty and his brains....."
Churchill -" but what if it was the other way around?"

Lady Astor was the first woman elected to the Parliament replacing her husband upon his ascension to the House of Lords. . She was known as a fierce debater. There is a famous exchange between Winston Churchill and Lady Astor when they were both staying at Blenheim Castle. The two politicians had been at each other's throat all weekend when Lady Astor said, "Winston, if I were your wife I'd put poison in your coffee." Whereupon Winston said, "Nancy, if I were your husband I'd drink it."

Churchill was a guest at the White House in 1942 planning war strategy with Roosevelt. His bedroom was in the upper family quarters where, believe it or not, there were shared baths. Never known for his modesty, political or personal, he was late to bed and late to rise. At home, he often dictated to his secretaries while immersed in a bubble bath. Returning to his room, nude from a bath, he met Roosevelt in his wheelchair coming down the hallway. The president, embarrassed for Churchill, tried to apologize. Churchill, always quick on the uptake, replied "as you can see, the Prime Minister has nothing to hide from the President."

The scene is the mens bathroom outside the chamber of the House of Commons. Churchill enters the empty facility but is followed shortly thereafter  by lead of the Socialist/Labor party Mr. Atlee. Upon seeing Atlee, Churchill moves to the far end of the bank of urinals.
Atlee: "Feeling rather standoffish today are we Winston?" he asks amiably.

Churchill: "Well, considering you socialists want to nationalize it, every time you see something big" was the reply.

He was a wit indeed. Here's another, after he left office:
“The Americans will always do the right thing… after they’ve exhausted all the alternatives.”

Playwright George Bernard Shaw invited Churchill to the premiere of a new play, enclosing two tickets: “One for yourself and one for a friend — if you have one.” Churchill wrote back, saying he couldn’t make it, but could he have tickets for the second night — “if there is one.”

Unfortunately, they don’t make Conservatives like that man any more with the possible exception of William Buckley........:)

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Secrets of the Snowy Owl

A very interesting video tracking a snowy owl who heads back home to the frozen North in Canada....

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Snowy Owl Rescue - Part 2

So there we were. A beautiful but injured snowy owl in the ditch. And we had advice from two nature centers to capture it. Now came the scary part. Bobbi rushed home to get some clothes baskets, blankets and heavy gloves. Injured or not the bird was a powerful raptor. We had to be careful to not injure the bird any further nor subject ourselves to sharp talons or beak. The operation went unexpectedly smoothly. Snowy tensed but did not resist. Into the clothes basket she went. Then we placed the basket in the back seat, covered it partially with a blanket, to keep the bird calm and headed off to Rochester, Minnesotas Quarry Hill Nature Center for further instructions.
There Snowy was placed in a more appropriate pet carrier to be transported to the University of Minnesota School of Veterinary Medicines famous Raptor Center in St. Paul. We headed North.....

Their motto is, "Ensuring the health of raptors and the world we share." We certainly hoped so... It is, in fact, a internationally renowned education facility which trains students and veterinarians from around the world to become future leaders in raptor medicine and conservation.
We were told at the Center that starvation with injury cases are tough but their was hope. We’ve called their hot line several times and no final determination has yet been made. Still, we’re glad we could help and now know that our friend Snowy would not die alone in a ditch. She is being given every chance to survive.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Snowy Owl

From Maine to Washington State a rare visitor from the Northern Canada had been  showing up that winter in the northern tier of States. In what is called an irruption, snowy owls had migrated south in search of food. Mrs. T & I traveled across Minnesota in search of them with no luck. Finally, in late March, the reports of sightings ceased . Apparently, these beautiful birds were returning to their natural habitat in the far north. I had given up hope for my first ever sighting. And then early one morning the phone rang. It was my friend and birding mentor, Mr. Science (Gary). A snowy owl had been spotted less than ten miles from our home. Mrs T and I rushed out the door headed for the scene.
Gary and his wife Bobbi were standing on a gravel county road as we arrived. "Is he gone"? I asked worriedly. Both pointed across the road to the ditch, where a magnificent snowy owl sat in the grass looking right at us..... Snowy owl pictures have been all over the blogoshere this winter but seeing one in person is another experience all together. Staring right at me and not moving. Wow! Take a look.

The snowy just sat there. Unmoving. They are notoriously not easily frightened by people as they live in the far north where few people are found. Still, something didn't seem quite right. We all backed away to discuss the situtation. After some time she made a few awkward hops and even spread her wings. It was time to call for help. The help was found at the Houston Minnesota Nature Center. There an annual Owl Festival is held and Karla is the expert. Because of the liklihood the owl was injured, she recommended capture. However, the locals who were expert and experienced could not be reached. Would we volunteer to do the job? With some trepidation, the answer was yes. She explained how to do it. Next in Part II THE SNOWY OWL RESCUE.

Monday, April 2, 2018

The Invention of Wings

Click on Mark Twain above to jump to Troutbirder II and learn about a really great book!