Outdoors Today

An ecological mechanism

What does a naturalist at heart do in the middle of a hot summer day. Go for a hike, camera in hand, and hike into natural settings just to see what can be seen. Careful observations are a key element of an inquisitive mind. There is always something new to find, to smell, to see, and to ...

Good-bye for now

I moved to Marshalltown in the summer of 1999 to pursue my career as a teacher after graduating from UNI. I thought I would teach here for a couple of years and then get back to my roots in Northeast Iowa. I grew up in Independence and love the area for many reasons, fishing the rivers of ...

Sizzling summer fishing fun

KIDS FISHING DERBY on Saturday, June 25th was a big hit, again, for the 150 attendees plus dedicated volunteers. The weather was perfect, no rain like last year. The fish cooperated. Kids caught lots of bullheads of all sizes and brought them to the official scale tent for weight. And the ...

Prairie history and notes from Lewis & Clark

PRAIRIES are grasslands by definition. And within this broad brush stroke label, botanists refine that definition into three categories; mesic, dry and wet. Marshlands and savanna plant communities are often associated with the three named prairie types. Specific unique plant communities can ...

Cheerful chattering chipmunks

CHIPMUNKS are small and fast. Cute is a human term sometimes misapplied to this critter. Cute however has its limits as this animal can quickly become a pest of major proportions should it decide to invade your house, its foundation, or even the attic. They typically inhabit mature woodlands ...

Time to head west to Hickory Grove

Hot weather, and hot water temperatures have hit Central Iowa lately. When water temperatures near the 80 degree mark, it is time to start fishing early and late in the day, as well as the deepest areas of area lakes. This weeks' local lake review travels west to Hickory Grove Lake. This lake ...

Fawns find a new world to explore

FAWNS of the White-tailed deer are out and about. Single births have happened for first time doe deer. The majority of older does will have twins. About 10-15 percent of the older and definitely mature does will have triplets. A high birth rate for this species is one of nature's methods to ...

Hendrickson Marsh is wildlife oasis

HENDRICKSON MARSH is not a huge wetland complex, but it is just one of many wildlife havens each spring and fall during migration times. Wetlands from the prairies of Canada, the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana function as a place for waterfowl, shorebirds and ...

Meadowlarks love grasslands

THE EASTERN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella magna) is a true grassland/prairie species. We typically hear them singing, and simultaneously see them, perched on the top of a fencepost overlooking grasslands. The male will point his head and bill skyward to announce his defense of territory to other ...

Mushroom mysteries

MUSHROOMS are very numerous. The science of studying them is one way to find factual data from observation and testing, rather than relying on old superstitions or other tall tales of mystery. Still, mushrooms are mysterious life forms that have their own set of characteristics quite unlike ...

A hidden gem

A short drive straight north will get you in the general area of two nice little lakes. The drive will take about 35 minutes or so to reach Pine Lake State Park on the east side of Eldora. Each of these two little lakes is quite different from the other, however both have a good population of ...

Maria Canuta Lupia Martinez, 82

Maria Canuta Lupia Martinez, 82, of Tama, Iowa passed away at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa with her loving family surrounding her.Visitation will be Wednesday, May 18, 2016, from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Mitchell Family Funeral Home in Marshalltown, Iowa.Maria will be buried at ...

Mary Giovanna Stangl

Funeral services for Mary Giovanna Stangl, of Marshalltown, IA, were held Sunday, May 15, 2016, at Mitchell Family Funeral Home with Pastor Greg Boyle officiating. Mrs. Stangl was laid to rest in Center School Cemetery.Pallbearers were Steve Jensen, David Jensen, Wade Jensen, Rodney Jensen, ...

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 ...