Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
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Wednesday, November 11, 2020



Sara Paretsky    Fallout

I do read most genres but of late especially thriller/detective stories. As to authors it's particularly English ones like Conan Doyle and P. D. James and most recently Steve N. Lee. For American authors  the list would be very long but for me at the top you would find Minnesota guys, especially Jack Sanford and William Kent Krueger.  

Recently browsing for bargains in our local Goodwill store I ran across best-selling author Sara Paretsky whom I had never heard of before  bought her A. V. Warshawsky novel. Fallout What an eye-opener it was.

I dislike novels that introduce an avalanche of characters in the first chapter.  Then when you start reading chapter 4 you have to go back to chapter 1 to figure out who is who. Sure enough that's what I found in the first couple of chapters Annoying! I continued on however the being  of stubborn German ancestry. :-) Not knowing nor remembering who did what and why chapter after chapter I was quite confused. However as feisty in your face Chicago detective Ms.V. I.  Warshawsky stirred up the natives  of Lawrence Kansas I was learning to identify some of the characters and  actually becoming hooked. On top of all that being a retired history teacher myself it was evident to me that  the author  knew that subject very well. It seemed as the plot began circle around people possibly dying, or  murdered by viruses much reference was made to the Spanish flu which killed many in the pandemic during and after World War I. Keep in mind this book was published  three years ago before our present pandemic catastrophe. It was all too familiar at this point and I was hooked. My conclusion and recommendation simple. Warshawsky private detective is a woman the author Paretsky is a feminist. And so for that matter am I. If you’re not bothered by too many characters read it . If you are bothered read it anyway. It’s really good because the author is really smart. A steadily deepening historical nightmare that ends up implicating pretty much everyone in sight in a multilayered coverup. Whodunit purists may be frustrated at the absence of a single villain to blame, I read this book  a few weeks ago .Paretsky set  a complex who dun it in the middle  of  multiple disasters. Based on the characterization of the books protagonist I will conclude the author like me is a feminist' The multilayered disaster of deaths surounded by the spanish flue pandemic was adroitly resolved in Fallout . I hope to do the same by voting in  4 days next Tuesday along with millions of other Americans.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Beautiful Tundra Swans

It's that time of the year again, mid to late November when Mrs. T and I  head down to the "Big River". The Mississippi River that is where we witness one of those true wonders of nature.  There, the Mississippi National Wildlife Refuge provides a safe haven for millions of migratiing waterfowl each fall. We, however, always 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  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!

On November 15th the official estimate was ten thousand swan in the immediate vicinity. Some years we have seen upward of thirty thousand. The only thing I have ever seen to compare to it is the annual migration of sandhill cranes into the Platte River Valley in Nebraska.