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Outdoors Today

A visit to Loess Bluffs NWR

LOESS BLUFFS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE is a good place to visit at any time of the year. It can be become spectacular with several hundred thousand geese each spring around mid March. However, even in mid January, the refuge is far from a sterile environment. On the day my wife and I visited ...

Wintering populations of Trumpeter Swans increasing

BY MIKE STEGMANN Wintering populations of Trumpeter Swans are increasing annually all across Iowa thanks to restoration efforts of the species by wildlife management personnel across the continent. Throughout this fall and up until recently as many as 20 Trumpeter Swans have been residing ...

Top 7 natural resource New Year’s resolutions for 2020

TIMES-REPUBLICAN If you’ve made it this far with your New Year’s resolutions, congratulations. But like most people, the motivation will inevitably start to falter on this very day. According to an analysis by the athletic social media company Strava, Jan. 12 is the exact date when ...

Seventeen swans rest at Sand Lake

TRUMPETER SWANS (Cygnus buccinator) are big, beautiful and in a class by themselves in terms of holding title to being North America’s heaviest flying bird. Iowa has participated for many past decades in a program to reintroduce these swans back to a landscape they once called home prior to ...

Raptor counting an annual undertaking

BIRDS OF PREY can be as large as bald or golden eagles or as small as kestrels. Between these largest and smallest are more mid-sized predators of the airways. What they have in common is that they are all predatory birds shaped by Mother Nature to fill an ecological niche. Their job is to ...

Iowa River winter wildlife all around us

YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER WOODPECKER (Sphyrapicus varius) is the featured creature of the day today. You may see one or several at your bird feeding station or none at all. If you do, consider yourself fortunate that this bird is even around for you to inspect. Most of its buddies are in places ...

Ready or not here comes winter

WINTER is officially one week away. Snow on the ground mid week told us otherwise. Yes it is still very late Fall but if it feels like winter and looks like winter, then you or I are free to call it whatever you want. Be careful the words you use however. Astronomers like to key in facts that ...

Trees: Valuable in many ways

TREES are valuable in many ways. They cover large portions of earth’s surface and by their very existence, create life, sustain life, hold and filter water and air and provide products for people to use. Trees grow and die just like any other living thing. But their seeds, fruits and even ...

Pheasant make themselves secretive

PHEASANTS are a hardy bird if given half a chance by both good habitat and good weather. In order to survive, this species needs lots of both factors. Later than usual farm crop harvest conditions may be one factor in hunter’s not seeing many pheasants on opening day. That will all change ...

How old is that deer?

HOW OLD IS MY DEER? I tried to answer this question many times during my working career with the Marshall County Conservation Board 1972-2004. It is a easy question to ask and it deserves as honest an answer as possible. Hunters would sometimes bring their deer to the shop and ask for an ...

October is prime time to be outdoors

OCTOBER is prime time to be outdoors. So many transitions are taking place in nature during the fall season. Cooler weather tops the list. Farmers grain fields are progressing toward harvest. Tree leaves will soon burst forth is a wide array of colors. Nut bearing trees like walnut, hickory, ...

What’s down there?

BY GARRY BRANDENBURG LIMESTONE is a key essential natural resource. So that is why you as a reader will get a tiny drop of facts related to this type of stone under our feet. It is when we have the opportunity to drive past a limestone quarry, and if the roadway elevation allows us a view ...

Hummingbirds: Unique and beautiful

BY GARRY BRANDENBURG Today’s featured creature is the Ruby-throated hummingbird, Archilochus colubris. It is the primary hummingbird likely to be seen east of the Missouri River. Its breeding range is all of the eastern portions of the United States. This species is also a long distance ...

September transition to fall is on its way

PHEASANTS, a most colorful upland game bird, are making a strong effort to stay the course of survival. While our own incidental travels in Iowa and along its backroads may allow for a random sightings of hens or roosters, this is far from a scientific analysis. It is however refreshing to see ...

Nature’s cycles of life

FALL IS ONE MONTH AWAY. Okay, maybe you didn’t want to be reminded of this fact concerning the earth’s annual trip around the sun. Fact is that daylight hours are getting shorter, cooler weather is just around the corner and trees will soon respond by subtle changes that in two months time ...

Natural resources = improved quality of life

STATE FAIR exhibits always live up to the hype and glamor of this annual 10-day event. There is something for everyone and way more than anyone can see in just one day. So what did this scribe do, circulate to get an overall perspective of all aspects of livestock exhibits, then onto what is ...

Bobbi wins walleye derby

IOWA CONNECTIONS WALLEYE FISHING DERBY put another chapter in the book. This book is getting large because of more than three decades of entries by Iowans who take the time to make the journey into northwestern Ontario, Canada to enjoy good company, great food, great facilities and excellent ...

The Marietta Sand Prairie

The recent geologic landscape of Iowa was covered with 85 percent tallgrass prairie which includes Marshall County. The recession of glaciers that began roughly 14,000 years ago and tallgrass prairie that grew, covered the landscape is the reason for the fertile soils of this state. Only ...

Marlin has Marshalltown connection

BLUE MARLIN (Makaira nigricans) are big fish, part of a family of billfishes that includes sailfish. However it is the Marlins that have received the bulk of attention for some sport fisherfolks when they are in the correct Atlantic or Pacific tropical waters. Today’s photo of Roger Brown was ...

Flying egrets is grace in motion

GREAT EGRETS are today’s featured creature. This huge all-white water bird with long black legs, yellow bill and stealthy shallow water hunting tactics may be found in wetlands along the east coast, gulf coast and into a large swath of the Midwest north into Minnesota and Wisconsin. In flight ...