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Outdoors Today

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 ...

Youth Turkey Season Success

By GARRY BRANDENBURG SPRING TURKEY SEASON is underway. Across the state, over the course of time between now and through May 17, 50,000 Iowa resident hunters will take to forest and field to attempt to take a tom wild turkey. Only about 25 percent will accomplish the deed. This is some of the ...

Iowa prison inmates make their own face masks

Inmates in Iowa’s prisons are producing face masks and gowns to meet the state’s growing demands for protective equipment for workers who are required to continue working in public. But the Iowa Department of Corrections is also working to produce enough masks for its own inmates and ...

Marvels of nature

By GARRY BRANDENBURG EASTER is a very important day in the religious life of Christians across the globe. Here is hoping you and yours find a unique way to celebrate in spite of the current and temporary circumstances imposed by social distancing. People may not be gathered together physically ...

Sandhill Cranes are links to nature’s survival schemes

By GARRY BRANDENBURG SANDHILL CRANES ( Grus canadensis) are large, vocal and spectacular. They are long-lived and have a very slow recruitment rate. Their young, just one or two per pair per year means that in any given larger population, only 10 to 15 percent of the birds are juveniles. Young ...

Nature is open for enjoyment

HOUSE FINCHES are quite common. They add a nice flurry of color and variety to bird observation stations like the one this scribe keeps near his dining room window. As this species, and lots of other year round resident birds, plus new arrivals from now and into May, bird observation is an ...

DEER CLASSIC still classy

IOWA’S DEER CLASSIC has come and gone for 2020. Last weekend was the time when many thousands of enthusiasts came to Des Moines and descended upon the Events Center to see everything deer related. They were not disappointed. More than 450 exhibitors had set up booth spaces to highlight ...

Watershed facts and figures

By GARRY BRANDENBURG WATERSHEDS are defined as the land area where water all drains toward a central point or at a place where it ends at the junction with another drainage system. All rainfall events add water to the watershed. Not all water that falls runs off. Most of the precipitation will ...

Birds are getting ready for Spring

MARCH is here, a month of transition in regards to the weather and month when lots of birds begin to infiltrate the airways for the upcoming northward migration. White-fronted geese are just one species that will grace the airways soon. Today’s image of white-fronts at Lake Red Rock is ...

Bald Eagles defend nest sites

BALD EAGLES (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) are quite common in central Iowa now. It wasn’t always that way 20 or 30 years ago. This magnificent raptor has made a come back from its former threatened status. While Marshall County residents might see an eagle or two in any farm field, open water ...

Ducks Unlimited banquet Feb. 29th

DUCKS UNLIMITED members of the local Iowa River Chapter will gather for the annual fundraising banquet on Feb. 29 at the Impala Ballroom in Marshalltown. People can expect fine food, a list of door prizes, an excellent array of auction items and games to play and at least 17 sporting firearms ...

Great Western Interior Seaway tells lots of stories

BY GARRY BRANDENBURG The GREAT WESTERN INTERIOR SEAWAY existed a long long time ago. To gain an improved perspective about this aspect of North American geologic history, adjust your way-back time clock machine to the last half of the Cretaceous Period of about 108 to 66 million years ago. ...

Winter wildlife viewing opportunities

WINTER WILDLIFE comes in all sizes and shapes. Of course there are the backyard bird feeder visitors for resident feathered species. On a larger scale are wild turkeys whose big dark bodies stand out prominently against a background of snow covered fields. Look for them along field edges. And ...