Outdoors Today

Foggy morning = fine flower photo

COOL things happen to anyone who takes the time and effort to examine the natural world. For this author, last Wednesday morning at zero-dark thirty, I left my house for a short drive to a turkey hunting site. Before I walked out the door, FOG was everywhere. No problem, I know the way to get ...

Bold and beautiful birds returning this month

Seeing a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER is still possible although its overall population has been in decline for a long time. Never the less, this boldly colored bird gets ones attention, especially if it seen while flying. Well, that is what happened for this author this past week. And all the best ...

Everyone lives in a watershed

WATERSHEDS are the definition geologists and other land managers are quite familiar with. Even if you live in the heart of a city like Marshalltown, you have to be at least somewhat aware of the importance of watersheds to our daily lives. A defined area of land that contributes rainfall toward ...

Rock Creek Lake

Marshalltown, being in the center of the state has a lot of fishing opportunities by taking a short drive. In a previous article I highlighted all the smaller bodies of water here in Marshall County, and now it time to help you get acquainted with other lakes that are not too far away. As the ...

Pelicans ply the airwaves

WHITE PELICANS can and do make one of the most graceful flyers in the world of birds as they ply the airwaves making maximum use of thermal rising air currents. Flocks numbering in the hundreds were observed earlier this month over the Iowa River. They have a wingspan of 8.5 to 9 feet and can ...

Turkey time on Monday

WILD TURKEYS are secretive critters. At times it appears so easy to make a sneak on them from behind heavy cover and then attempt to call one in close. But nature seems to have other plans for 80 percent of the 50,000 hunters in the state. Averages from past years shows around 20 percent will ...

Bluebirds and blue sky

EASTERN BLUEBIRDS have arrived. That is a sure sign of spring, along with longer days, warmer air, rain, wind, and the emergence of insects. It is nice to see bluebirds going about their business of living as a whole new year awaits them and us. Enjoying wildlife of all kinds, observing their ...

Prairie management tool = fire

FIRE can be a friend or foe, a tool for good, or if improperly attended to, a hazard. Wise use of fire by trained personnel that have attended fire school know when to burn and when not to burn. Usually a short window of time exists each spring from about mid-March through April when last ...

Talented taxidermy on display April 2-3

The ART of TAXIDERMY done well makes long lasting replicas of animal life. Natural history museums across the globe have used taxidermist's talents to create displays of wildlife for educational purposes. Individuals also use these services to make mounts of trophy animals hunted or fished. ...

Spring time

Warm weather, cold weather, rain, sleet and snow ... sounds like March in Iowa to me. This has certainly been true so far this month. I was able to ice fish in March once again this year, which I didn't think would happen, and a short week later caught my first bass out of my boat. I don't ...

Sweet Spring!

RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS have been here all winter. But they too welcome the coming of Spring with its warmer temperatures, less snow, and insects poking out of their winter hide-aways. As more migrating birds arrive during the next two months, food sources for all will increase rapidly. ...

Migrations welcome return visitors

The NORTHERN PINTAIL DUCK is the bird most casual observers will note has a distinct white chest and neck line. Its cinnamon colored head meets a grayish bill. And the reason it is called a pintail is due to the long spike-like rump feathers culminating in a long thin line. They are Spring and ...

A balancing act

TRUMPETER SWANS in large wild flocks were just part of a huge migration scenario playing out last weekend. This is just the tip of the migration iceberg however with many more ducks and geese to come this month. In one farm field north of Albion, at least 30 trumpeters were resting far from any ...

The season is changing

While ice fishing still looms at the northern parts of the state, it is pretty much over for Central Iowa. That only signifies that early spring is around the corner and soon we will be casting our favorite baits in the wide open rivers and lakes that we love. With the recent forecast, that ...

Opossums smarter than we think

OPOSSUMS are common, consistent and enduring members of North America's wildlife. First noted and described by settlers along America's east coast, this critter lives in Central America and southeast portions of the United States. It has spread its population base gradually over time to more ...

Students on target for success

BOWS AND ARROWS can be one method of encouraging students in grades 4-12 to stay interested in all aspect of their student careers of learning. How is that possible? Well, this sport involves a lot more than just the recreational aspects of learning how archery equipment works. Archery engages ...

Centennial of Bird Treaty begins in 2016

The MIGRATORY BIRD TREATY will be recognized beginning in 2016 for the work accomplished a century ago. This was an agreement initially signed by the United States and Britain (acting on behalf of Canada) on Aug. 16, 1916. It set the guidelines in place for protecting and managing migratory ...

Robins galore this winter

ROBINS (Turdus migratorius) are making themselves known this winter in central Iowa. Many reports of robins gathering about the bushes and shrubs of urban settings keep coming in. It is nice to see this species of thrush highlighting the snow covered branches of backyard habitats. It is normal ...

Ice fishing at Hickory Grove Lake

Hickory Grove Lake which sits about 25 miles west of Marshalltown is a hot spot for panfish in this area. This park is used all year-round and for many reasons. It has two concrete boat ramps for boats, kayaks, and canoes, numerous areas to have a picnic, modern and primitive camping sites and ...

Thankful for citizen science

CITIZEN SCIENCE is the title of today's exploration of natural happenings or events. We can thank a well-trained science enthusiast and former President of the Untied States, Thomas Jefferson, for his observations. And he wanted citizens to find ways to partake in the collection of data. ...