Outdoors Today

Nature’s art revealed at Sand Prairie

A YELLOW GOAT’S BEARD (Tragopogon dubius) is today’s special plant to learn about, a colorful plant of grasslands. It is of European origin however, and is not a native. Still it seems to find a niche where it can carry on its business of life. This specimen with its partially dispersed ...

Plan B: Go fishing

PLAN B works In this case as illustrated by today’s big fish photo, when turkey hunting plans took a turn for the worst due to lots of rain, muddy fields, and the quite valid idea that even wild turkeys do not like to strut in shallow standing water, it was time to switch gears and make the ...

Unusual birds stop by for a visit

Every so often, an unusual sighting of a bird is made by ardent ornithologists. The word gets out out to fellow birders and soon the byways may be getting more attention than usual as other folks try to add these wayward birds to a life list. This could be the case now but it was a very brief ...

Fox pups learning how to live

The RED FOX, (Vulpes vulpes), is more common than we think. It appears to be similar to a small to medium sized dog in body form. Reddish brown fur and a long bushy tail are conspicuous characteristics. As a sometimes urban dweller, it does find a bit more refuge from a tough competitor ...

Spring smells may include more than just flowers

A STRIPED SKUNK (Mephitis mephitis) is one of the most common members of the weasel family. It can be found coast to coast from southern Canada, all of the United States and into northern Mexico. It rambles about each spring, summer and fall in search of mates, food and more food. Come winter ...

Spring to arrive to stay

SPRING has been in short supply during April. For those few nice warm days we did experience, which were more noticeable for their absence than dominance, we all will welcome warmer weather to arrive and stay. If the old saying "April showers bring May flowers" is to be believed, it got all ...

Hendrickson: A waterfowl magnet

The featured creature for today is a duck. Not just any duck, but a unique species that is easy to identify once a person gathers a few key markers of its plumage and bill shape. For starters, its name is Northern Shoveler and its Latin name is Spatula clypeata. The bill denotes an obvious ...

Pelicans gather at Sand Lake

WHITE PELICANS (Pelevanus erythrorhynchos) dominated the waters of Sand Lake this past week. They got caught between snow, sleet, rain, wind and more snow events. Their best option was to wait out the weather until it improved. While scattered about the surface waters of Sand Lake, ...

Showers, flowers and mushrooms

TAXIDERMISTS knew how to make the best presentations of everything from fish, reptiles, small and large mammals at last weekend’s Iowa Taxidermists Association conference. Displays were evaluated by professionals. The tiniest details had to be spot on, correctly molded, tucked, painted and ...

Full-time job: Keep the eggs warm

BALD EAGLES are now quite common even in central Iowa. Marshall County has its share of active nests. The outlook is good for more site, some unknown at this time, to be added to a confirmed list and map of where other eagle pairs decided to make a home during 2018. State DNR non-game ...

On target for excellence

ON TARGET with a bow and arrow is a fantastic school physical education option. The sport is growing in Iowa and many other states as the word gets out of how much fun this activity can provide, and the discipline it instills in kids to improve themselves. Teachers see how this activity raises ...

Make your own journey of discovery

WATERFOWL in huge numbers have dominated this past week. Well folks, this natural history moment is not going to fade quickly. All this month it can be expected that the sky on any particular day may have lots of snow geese, white-fronted geese and Canada geese congregating, and talking their ...

A Mighty Migration

SNOW GEESE were everywhere this past week. Any casual observer could hear them. And if you were in the right place with your car, you could see huge flocks plying the air along the Iowa River valley or just about anywhere else even over open farm country. The urge to migrate is so strong ...

Iowa Deer Classic next weekend

THE IOWA DEER CLASSIC returns to the show floor of Des Moines' Hy-Vee Hall next weekend. Mid afternoon on Friday, March 2is when the show doors open for the public. The show continues through Saturday and into the mid afternoon hours of Sunday with a total public draw of about 20,000 people. ...

Brown to speak at Ikes Wild Game Feed

A WILD GAME FEED is coming this Wednesday, the 21st. As a tribute to the huge amount of delicious protein sources that fish and game provide each and every year, local outdoors enthusiasts and Izaak Walton League club members will have a wide selection of buffet style foods to select along a ...

Wildlife shines in the snow

RING-NECKED PHEASANTS were the subject of a recent wildlife foray this author took this week. With a lot of help from recent snows, I knew the photo blind would be active. So over the course of a two hour sit, I was able to see at least eight pheasants, all males this time, and a host of ...

Birds are already thinking spring

Today's featured creature, a COOPER'S HAWK (Accipiter cooperi), has been the subject of previous Outdoor Today stories. So I won't try to repeat all the biological fun facts this species has going for it except to say that Mother Nature figured ages ago the proper mix of predators to prey in ...

Goodbye river ice

RIVER ICE has broken up due to the January thaw warmer than average air temperatures over the past week. It is just one of those cycles of nature that we humans get to see, experience and think about. January “thaw” is a term that people for well over a century have placed on a mid winter ...

Eagle eyes watch everything

BALD EAGLES (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) are now common sightings for us Central Iowans. Lots of eagles are gathered at places like the open water below Red Rock dam near Pella. Or if you are so inclined, take a road trip to the Mississippi River. Every place along the big river from Harper's ...

Record year for raptor sightings

WINTER is reminding us that it has a full grip on us in the northern hemisphere. If you do not like the weather here, well one can travel to any southern hemisphere destination where it is summer. Or we could join our "snow bird friends" in Arizona, Texas, or Florida. Cold arctic air masses ...