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Outdoors Today

First deer = lifetime memories

A FIRST DEER makes for a proud moment for any young boy or girl. Good mentors are essential to assist youth in learning what it takes to hunt ethically, legally and responsibly. These are lessons well taught. And these lessons will be retained for a lifetime when as adults themselves carry ...

Iowa River at low flow rate

The IOWA RIVER is running low on water. Will it ever run dry? The answer is no. Base flow is a constant seepage of water out of adjacent flood plain soil layers. A good science lab experiment involves placing a line of water filled sponges along either side of the center line of a slightly ...

Nature’s clean-up crew in action

RECYCLING and using an item to its fullest functions is a task performed by Mother Nature’s cleanup crews every day. In the overall picture of eat or be eaten in the tooth and claw give and take of predators and prey relationships, everything gets recycled. So it is when a wild animal ...

Woodchucks prepare for long winter nap

WOODCHUCKS, also known locally as Groundhogs, are preparing for next winter. Their goal is to eat a lot of food, gain weight and gain fat reserves. Those reserves will be used to sustain its life for six months from November to next April while the critter sleeps. Not a bad plan that Mother ...

National Hunting & Fishing Day this weekend

NATIONAL HUNTING & FISHING DAY is Sept. 26, the fourth Saturday of the month. As a grassroots effort to promote the outdoor sports and conservation, it had a small start that blossomed into a national recognition day. Across the country, federal, state and local organizations host ...

Turkeys, otters, pelicans and geese

WILD TURKEYS are out and about, exploring and exploiting their forest and field habitats in a constant search for things to eat. And while doing so, they are also keeping sharp eyes on the lookout for predators that want to catch and eat them. Coyotes, foxes and bobcats are just three land ...

Prairie critters at work in Sand Prairie

The MARIETTA SAND PRAIRIE has a lot to offer at this time of year. Native grasses have now grown to full height with prominent seed heads unveiled to the wind and sky. Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans) is one of today’s featured photos. This clump was over 7 feet tall as seen against a nice ...

Mother Nature’s fury

ANGER LURKS IN THE FOREST everywhere from huge tangles of fallen tree trunks and heavy branches. Straight line winds did the damage in a most awful manner. It is unfortunate. It will take a lot of time to recover from. But in the long run, safety will be restored to park areas one at a time. ...

Wildlife of all sizes

WILDLIFE OF ALL SIZES could be my theme this week. It doesn’t matter how big or large they are, or if they fly, run or crawl. All go about their duties as delegated by Mother Nature as they seek out a living in their sphere of influence. Hawks fly and by doing so overlook large expanses of ...

Colors of Summer

The MARIETTA SAND PRAIRIE is one of the botanical gems of all the land holdings managed by the Marshall County Conservation Board. It was always known as a special place with special types of native plants growing on a complex of unusual soils. In this case, the soils had a high content of fine ...

Gone Fishin’

GOING FISHING is a summer activity for lots of outdoor oriented folks. People primarily go fishing for the recreational value it offers. And if those folks catch a fish or two or three, so much the better. Learning which water body to go fishing at is just one element that must be decided. What ...

Staying cool at the bird bath

RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS are one of the most common avian critters that call this area home for late spring, summer and into early fall. They prefer to nest in moist or wetland areas. However even a casual hike at the Marietta Sand Prairie Preserve will allow a protective Red-wing to find you, ...

Glacier shaped landform: Colo Bogs

COLO BOGS WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA is today’s featured parcel of land, a remnant of slightly undulating land surfaces of dry uplands and shallow wetland depressions. Glacial ice carved this land first by the push of advancing glacial ice from Canada. Since glacial systems have repeatedly ...

Hickory Grove project nears completion

HICKORY GROVE LAKE is nearing the end of a long multi-year process of improvements. A huge project like this lake’s renovation is not easy, inexpensive or quick. It took considerable planning from many stakeholders to outline the needs for lake water quality improvements. An on-going ...

Wings help keep birds cool

WINGS are a bird thing. These unique appendages with special feather shapes allow a bird to fly through air. Wings beating against the air both provide lift and forward propulsion at the same time. Controlling the wing shape provides many adjustments to in flight needs or on the ...

Humble Hummingbirds : Miniature perfection

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS are a very common bird. At feeding stations or wildflower gardens with nectar bearing blossoms, this bird hardly bigger than a butterfly goes about its business of living to support a new generation of hummers to hatch later this summer. Flowers with a tube-like base ...

Bald eagles on duty

BALD EAGLE NESTS were relatively easy to see prior to trees getting full leaf growth. Now many nests are more concealed even if the viewer knows where to look. Where eagles build nests, or reuse nests they built years ago, may make viewing easier or downright hard. Privacy for eagles is still ...

Forest floor full of pretty flowers

By GARRY BRANDENBURG MOTHER’S DAY is today. It is a time to give thanks for those special people in the family that help bring us into the world. That is awesome indeed. And since mom’s like flowers, give her some that you do not have to pick or purchase. Just put on your hiking shoes, or ...

More Spring signs to watch for

AMERICAN GOLDFINCH (Carduelis tristis) do not nest until mid-summer when thistles and other weeds have gone to seed. Nest sites will be high in a tall shrub. The nest cup will contain rootlets, plant fibers and have a lining of plant down such as the soft white fluffy thistle seed. Inside this ...

Fox kids make their appearance

RED FOX (Vulpes vulpes) is a common dog-like medium sized predator in Mother Nature’s food chain system. This species has many canine features and some feline-like characteristics. On the canine side are its elongated pointed muzzle, large pointed ears which are usually held erect and ...