Fall Warblers Present Ultimate Birding Challenge

Posted by on Sep 23, 2020 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Fall Warblers Present Ultimate Birding Challenge

Fall Warblers Present Ultimate Birding Challenge

Abandoning their summer homes in the North Country, tiny wood warblers are on the move.  For Iowa birding enthusiasts, the season’s most challenging migration has begun.  I use the word challenging because no other grouping of birds is more difficult to correctly identify than autumn warblers. Magnolia warber Even when warblers are bedecked in their finest spring plumage, making an accurate identification can be frustrating.  During the fall migration, things get even tougher as those same species arrive in their...

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September Odds & Ends

Posted by on Sep 21, 2020 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on September Odds & Ends

September Odds & Ends

Triplets:  Joyce Klunder called the other day.  She lives at the west end of Clear Lake in the Ventura Heights and wanted to report that she had just seen a white-tailed deer with fawns near the entrance of the Heights bike trail.  Although seeing a doe with her spotted offspring is always a heart-warming sight, the event usually doesn’t warrant a phone call.  It is, in fact, a common sight for those who spend much time poking around in the out-of-doors.  But this doe was special.  Instead of being followed...

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Timing is Everything

Posted by on Sep 3, 2020 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Timing is Everything

Timing is Everything

They say that timing is everything.  I think most of us would agree with that statement.  I’d also add that rarely has that well known phrase been more dramatically illustrated than during this year’s September 1st opening of Iowa’s 2020 Teal Season. Reinstated by the feds in 2014, Iowa teal seasons are designed to intercept southbound flocks of blue-winged teal, a duck species that often builds to peak numbers during early September but may migrate out of the state before regular waterfowl seasons begin.  So, if...

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Studying Ants

Posted by on Sep 1, 2020 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Studying Ants

Studying Ants

I bought another small farm last week.  I’m still pretty excited about that.  OK, so I should probably note that it’s only a plastic Ant Farm, but I’m excited just the same.  I know you might be wondering why a guy my age would purchase a product that’s normally found in the kiddie section of the local hobby shop.  Good question.  I don’t really know what started it all, but I’ve been fascinated with ants for about as long as I can remember.  Much of my early knowledge was obtained from...

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Iowa’s September Teal Season Provides Recreational Windfall

Posted by on Aug 18, 2020 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Iowa’s September Teal Season Provides Recreational Windfall

Iowa’s September Teal Season Provides Recreational Windfall

The first of this year’s fall waterfowl seasons begins with a special, 16-day teal hunt opening September 1.  The purpose of the statewide early season is to provide Iowa duck hunters with an opportunity to pursue flocks of early migrating blue-winged teal.  Although blue-wings occur as an abundant nester across the Dakotas and prairie Canada, the bulk of their population typically passes through the state well in advance of traditional duck season openers.  Authorized by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in 2014, the Iowa...

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Summer Entertainment

Posted by on Aug 2, 2020 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Summer Entertainment

Summer Entertainment

The red-headed woodpecker is one of Iowa’s best-known birds.  It is also one of our most popular.  Easily recognized by its redder than red head, black and white checkerboard plumage, and bluish chiseled bill; it would be hard to mistake this bird for anything else.  Getting up close and personal, I’ve recently enjoyed the opportunity to observe the daily activities of a red-headed pair nesting in the woodlands adjacent to Clear Lake’s south shore.  The red-headed woodpecker is an amazing creature.  Like...

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Velvet Antlers

Posted by on Jul 8, 2020 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Velvet Antlers

Velvet Antlers

The white-tailed deer is one of Iowa’s most economically and recreationally important species of wildlife.  For deer hunting enthusiasts, it’s never too early to start thinking of fall.  I was reminded of that fact earlier this week when a yearling buck suddenly stepped out of the woodland shadows and into full view.  Pausing at a distance of around twenty yards, the deer provided a good view.  The first thing I noticed were the blunt, velvet covered appendages jutting from the top of its head.  Although the...

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Fledging Woodpeckers

Posted by on Jun 26, 2020 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Fledging Woodpeckers

Fledging Woodpeckers

Female Hairy Woodpecker Feeding Fledgling While photographing an energized gang of scurrying chipmunks at the abandoned woodpile, I couldn’t help but notice an excessive amount of activity on the part of a nearby pair of hairy woodpeckers.  I soon discovered the reason for the commotion.  The woodpeckers’ nest — containing two young — was in the process of fledging. Male Hairy with Fledgling Taking full advantage of the event, I began slowly moving my portable blind, an inch at a time, until I was in good...

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Do Chipmunks Make You Smile?

Posted by on Jun 25, 2020 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Do Chipmunks Make You Smile?

Do Chipmunks Make You Smile?

Can’t say for sure what it is, but there’s just something about a chipmunk that makes people smile.  It doesn’t seem to matter where the chipmunk is or what it’s doing – you might spot one sitting atop an old stump munching on an acorn, cautiously peering around a stack of firewood, or high tailing it across a forested trail.  Doesn’t matter.  Even the briefest, snapshot glimpse of a playful ‘chippie is all it takes to make us feel happy. Familiar to most folks through the mischievous antics of cartoon...

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Iowa’s Bird & Bunny Season Has Begun

Posted by on Jun 20, 2020 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Iowa’s Bird & Bunny Season Has Begun

Iowa’s Bird & Bunny Season Has Begun

It’s that time of year again.  Iowa’s Baby Bird & Bunny season has officially begun.  During the past few days, I’ve seen lots of wildlife babies.  Baby birds, baby rabbits, baby squirrels.  I even spotted the season’s first pair of spindle-legged twin fawns.   Each new sighting is cause for celebration – a vivid portrayal of the annual renewal of life.  The sightings also serve as a reminder for me to fire off this column.  Doesn’t take much to put this one together.  Filed...

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