Spring Blue-wings

Spring Blue-wings

May 17, 2016

                The spring migration of blue-winged teal through Iowa is one of my favorite outdoor events.  Teal are rarely at rest during spring migration; courtship flights occur from dawn to dusk as hens lead parties of colorful drakes in dramatic low level, high speed chases that twist and turn across the marsh....

Bill’s Pond Provides Wood Duck Oasis

Bill’s Pond Provides Wood Duck Oasis

May 17, 2016

  A nearly impenetrable fortress of mature oak, wild grape, and dense gooseberry has helped to keep Bill’s pond a well-kept secret. Small but mighty, the shallow wetland is barely twenty yards in width and is well punctuated with a mix of emerging sedges, river bulrush, and floating duckweed. For nesting wood ducks, Bill’s pond is nothing short of...

Mushroom Madness

Mushroom Madness

May 15, 2016

  Although the peak of this year’s morel mushroom crop is past, the hunt is not over.  A mix of generally favorable temperatures and ample moisture is sustaining the harvest for hunters scouring the peaks and valleys of Iowa’s Upper Mississippi River bluff country.  While turkey hunting in Clayton County this week, I’ve managed to...

Will Drake Wood Ducks Enter Nesting Cavities?

Will Drake Wood Ducks Enter Nesting Cavities?

May 14, 2016

  Biologists, duck hunters, birders, and wildlife enthusiasts in general have long debated the question of whether or not drake wood ducks enter nesting cavities as pairs prospect for potential nest sites. Some say it occurs frequently, others say rarely, while still others claim it never happens at all. I know for sure that we can throw that first opinion...

Woodland Encounters

Woodland Encounters

May 5, 2016

  The possibility of hearing and seeing wild turkeys is one of the best excuses I know for making predawn visits to the spring woodlands.  If you happen to carrying a valid turkey tag, well then so much the better.  The daily shows begin at the first hint of light as eager gobblers sound off from the roost.  As the chorus escalates, birds are soon...