Outdoors Today

Mighty migrators on beautiful wings

MIGRATION is not something just for birds. As today's image suggests, a Monarch butterfly could be compared to "Flowers of the Wind." Monarchs are easy to see and a delight to watch. Since the last generation of Monarchs is nearly completing its chysalis stage, it will be programmed with all ...

Lazy summer, lazy river

The IOWA RIVER just keeps poking along, steadily and silently giving an outlet to surface water runoff and ground water table seepage. Granted, this summers lack of significant rain has not added appreciable amounts of runoff water. From its headwaters at Crystal Lake in Hancock County to the ...

Fish & Game

FISH & GAME numbers and trend lines of population dynamics is full time work for Iowa DNR wildlife biologists. At research stations, data is collected and the numbers are crunched to help provide an overview of how any wildlife population is doing. Iowa's winter weather has a lot to do ...

Birds are preparing for migration

SANDHILL CRANES are cool. Maybe a series of other terms would be more appropriate such as majestic, regal, powerful, graceful in flight and smooth sailors of the airwaves. Whenever I see them, or just hear them, a mental image of this big bird comes instantly to mind. A smile from my face is ...

Straight shooters earn awards

STRAIGHT SHOOTERS are what they call themselves. They are students from all area high schools that have chosen to take up a shooting sport as part of their education. They learn lots of things and primary on this list is respect for firearms, not fear of them. They learn safety essentials ...

Green Castle celebrates 40 years

GREEN CASTLE as a public park will soon be 40 years old. To help celebrate, you all are welcome to join in activities, good food, visit with friends, go hiking, fishing, paddle around the 16 acre lake in a canoe or kayak, play volleyball at a newly installed deep sand court, and listen to ...

Explore the magic of a tall-grass prairie

SPRING HILL is the name Carl and Linda Kurtz gave to an 80-acre parcel of land they purchased long ago. Kurtz being a native prairie enthusiast, saw the potential of bringing back the native grassland vegetation of the area. They have been successful in achieving that goal. The grasses and ...

Keeping what matters in mind

Leaving behind a beloved space is always difficult, whether it’s an apartment, a childhood home or, in my case, a house with a view of the Olympic Mountains. Those who graciously read my outdoor column about a year ago know that, throughout my childhood, I’ve made trips to western ...

This big fish did not get away

BLACK CRAPPIE (Pomoxis migromaculatus) are just one of the Sunfish family of fishes. In general, the sunfish family is a group of spiny-rayed fishes native only to the North American continent. There are twenty-five species of sunfish and eleven are native to Iowa waters. Biologists further ...

Water is a magnet for recreation

SAND LAKE is a Marshall County-owned parcel of land and water. Today's image was made last Tuesday. Public land and the actual property lines would take in most of the middle segments. Land and water to the far west side and far east sides are still privately owned. The date was in 1999 ...

Ready, set, fish at Kid’s Fish Derby

FISH ON will be the shouts heard from near and far when July 8 arrives. Riverside Cemetery will be the location. Time for the Kid's Fish Derby will be 8 a.m. until noon. For young kids on their first fishing outing, or even if they have been there in past years, it does not take long for a ...

Dancing Duo

SANDHILL CRANES are cool, majestic, tall and big. As birds go this long legged marsh bird likes water and secluded places to live. They are easy to spot if you go to the right places such as bogs, marshes, wetlands or open prairies. Summer time will find them at these sites where nesting is ...

Some treasures come in small packages

The HOUSE FINCH (Haemorhous mexicanus) is the featured creature of the day. This sparrow-sized bird is very common and has an interesting history to why it has become so bountiful over the entire North American continent. It was a bird originally found in the western United States and Mexico. ...

A worthy conservation connection

IZAAK WALTON was an outdoors person of the 17th century. He was an English philosopher and he loved to fish. A dedicated conservationist was another of his titles because his outdoor adventures and observations in England allowed him to understand the relationships between healthy land, clean ...

Some fun facts about fawns

FAWNS are being born at this time of year after a seven month gestation period. And with new spring vegetation sprouting all over the place filling forests and grasslands with green leaves, wildlife babies will find places to hide, their mothers will more easily find a wider variety of foods, ...

My spectacular trip to the Driftless

I knew going fly fishing in Iowa’s Driftless Area was a great way to get in touch with nature, and I learned last weekend that sometimes “getting in touch” can be quite literal. The windshield wipers got a good workout in during the three-hour drive to Yellow River State Forest last ...

Wetlands = Magical Places

Strutting its stuff, an all white GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba) is a bird that likes water and wetland habitats. That is where its food is found. Close by in tall trees is where a pair will build a nest of twigs. Nests can be up to three feet in diameter and one foot deep, and are often over water. ...

Forest floor flowers for Mother’s Day

MAYAPPLE (Podophllum peltatum) has one scientific name. But it will go by a host of common names depending upon where you are in the eastern two-thirds of the states or eastern Canada. Here are a few of the local names: Devil's apple, ground lemon, hog apple, Indian apple, mandrake, Puck's ...

Sweet Success

This past January, an east coast forestry tradition made its way into the Marshall County Conservation woodlands: maple syrup production. Many people associate maple syrup making with the state of Vermont, which does in fact lead the United States in syrup production. However, only about 6 ...

Extinct, extirpated? What’s the difference?

Occasionally individuals of certain species of wildlife not common to Iowa are seen in the state. Such is the case of a Black Bear that wandered into the central part of Iowa recently. Questions are asked, why does this happen, do they belong here and so on. To partially explain why animals ...