Outdoors Today

Things to do: Wildlife watching

WINTER WILDLIFE WATCHING is still a high priority activity for lots of folks. The backyard bird feeder is just one way to participate from the warmth and comfort of ones home. If you don't mind dressing in multiple layers for an outside hike onto a prairie grassland, county park forest, or ...

And a river runs through it …

The IOWA RIVER has many secrets, some of which it reveals easily and others it holds in deep pockets well hidden from sunshine and people. But it is no secret that winter in Iowa, and especially our recent spell of very cold air temperatures, has allowed ice to grow thicker on area lakes, ponds ...

Resolved: Get outside this year

HAPPY NEW YEAR to all the readers of Outdoors Today. I periodically meet many of you are various functions, in a store, or at a casual chance meeting. You tell me how much you enjoy reading natural history items in the T-R. I thank you for your interest in nature. My desire is to learn more ...

Winter is crunch time for wildlife

WINTER in Iowa can guarantee two things: Cold and Snow. The question will be how any winter compares to past winters. Water cooler discussions at the office may revolve around how this winter will fair compared to an average winter. Average is a hard thing to define since every winter will ...

Eagles take flight

BALD EAGLES are huge raptors having wingspans of seven to eight feet.  Because they have such a large wing area, wing beats tend to be slow, much slower than those of red-tail hawks.  Slow wing beat pattern alone is enough to distinguish a large raptor in flight as an eagle even when you view ...

Deer hunt memories live on

DEER HUNTING MEMORIES area being made as you read this.  Somewhere either locally or in other far reaches of Iowa, a guy or gal will not necessarily be seeking a specific big buck deer. They are just participating in the hunt with family or friends where any adult doe or even a small buck may ...

Wildlife on parade

We just finished eating our way through THANKSGIVING DAY festivities with family and friends.  It was a good time had by all as memories were shared, little children played under table top "tents", and older folks said things such as "I ate too much (fill in the blank)".  We are lucky indeed ...

Women excel at outdoor sports

WOMEN HUNTERS is one of the fastest growing segments of outdoor sports.  For those who already have had the bug bite them and learned how much fun can be derived from securing additional food for the home, taking wild game birds or big game animals adds to the stock of highly nutritious ...

Black squirrel takes center stage

BLACK SQUIRRELS are not often observed around Marshall County forests. However, there is at least one pair using the oaks and hickory trees adjacent to the Sand Road who call that area home.  In other parts of the United States or Canada, black squirrels have become quite numerous in specific ...

Night eyes are watching

There are lots of animal species that are active during daytime hours and others at night.  Some are strictly nocturnal, others can be active day or night but prefer to hunt at night.  Think owls as the night shift, and hawks as the day shift. For a prey species like a mouse, vole, or rabbit, ...

Grassland and pheasants made for each other

RINGNECK PHEASANT season in underway. It has been a long road of recovery for this species from drastically low levels of several years ago. Primary reasons for population declines have many indicators: loss of significant conservation reserve grasslands on private property, severe winters ...

Tree color reaches prime time

TREE LEAF COLORS are at their best right now. Take time to immerse yourself in the annual color show now playing at a forest near you. I urge you to get outside and take a hike. Hike into a forest area at any of several Marshall County Conservation sites to see close up and personal what a ...

Great Egrets are great to see

GREAT EGRETS are noticeable primarily because their all white plumage sets it apart from the more casual grey and browns of the Great Blue Heron.And today's images record what many people may have seen in the flooded field north of Marshalltown adjacent to highway 14. Good binoculars helps get ...

River ramblings … again

The IOWA RIVER is showing us how it must react to too much rain falling in northern counties of the watershed. One week later, those runoff waters accumulated from numerous small creeks to join into the river and swell its volume. The swelling continued...and continued...and eventually made ...

Clean water starts with you … planting trees!

"I just want to do what's right for water quality. I want to have the archetypical farm that you'd be proud to show off to others and be proud to pass on to your kids."I was riding along with a landowner who was showing me one of his many tree plantings on a warm February day in central Iowa. ...

Fall is baton-passing time

There are four runners in this ageless 'track event' account of geologic time. There are four runners to the ebb and flow of earth's orbit of the sun. We human observers of life on earth have dubbed the inevitable, cyclic, and natural changes of the seasons as Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. ...

Big Bluestem likes fire

TALL GRASS PRAIRIE once covered 140 million acres of North America's plains states. Now less than 4 percent remain nationally. In Iowa, the percentage is less than one-tenth of 1 percent. Iowa native prairie sites in large settings exist now in a handful of preserves dedicated long ago for ...

Deer image makes magazine cover

BEING PREPARED is a Boy Scout motto, and a wildlife photographer's motto. Always have a camera available for those instances when everything comes together at the right time, right place to capture a special moment in time. That is what this scribe did on July 21 last year. The result is now a ...

Young wildlife prospering

WILD TURKEYS are being seen more regularly by passers by traveling along rural roadways near or in the vicinity of forest lands. It is good to see them. It is proof that this past Spring's nesting season was very good due in part to relatively warm and dry weather conditions. Wild turkeys nest ...

The big ones did not get away

IOWA CONNECTIONS WALLEYE DERBY is now in the record books. The 2016 event organized by Dennis Baker was a smooth operation with many satisfied folks who enjoyed the great wilderness setting of boreal forests, clear blue water lakes and lots of hungry walleye fish. Baker arranges for a group ...