Hooded Merganser – Iowa’s Other Tree Duck

Hooded Merganser – Iowa’s Other Tree Duck

May 24, 2017

  With its elegantly crested head and spectacular plumage, the wood duck is one of Iowa’s best known and most popular waterfowl. Most folks are also familiar with the woodie’s unusual woodpecker-like habit of nesting inside natural tree cavities or nest boxes instead of on the ground like other ducks. Fewer, however, may be aware that another...

Banded waterfowl — An Amazing Encounter

Banded waterfowl — An Amazing Encounter

May 18, 2017

No matter how many years I’m at it, observing and photographing waterfowl never gets old.   Waterfowl are always willing to provide plenty of surprises, and sometimes you don’t know what you’ve captured until you get back home to review your work.  This month’s surprise came in the form of duck bands.  A friend of mine owns a small, shallow pond...

Stalking Iowa’s Elusive Wood Warblers — A Daunting Task

Stalking Iowa’s Elusive Wood Warblers — A Daunting Task

May 13, 2017

  For Iowa birding enthusiasts, it just doesn’t get any better than the month of May. The final curtain call of the spring migration, it’s a time when everything seems to arrive at once. Spring migrants come in all colors, shapes and sizes. But of the more than 200 bird species that will nest in or migrate through our state, perhaps no single group...

Pheasant Back Mushrooms – A Four Star Iowa Taste Treat

Pheasant Back Mushrooms – A Four Star Iowa Taste Treat

May 11, 2017

  The morel mushroom reigns as undisputed King of the Wild Edibles. In Iowa, as elsewhere, Morel Mania is rampant. The elusive fungus is in so craved, in fact, that people who can’t find them buy them. But store bought morels aren’t cheap. At roadside stands and Mississippi River fish markets, these woodland taste treats are currently fetching $34 per...

Love Birds

Love Birds

May 7, 2017

      The winter and spring calls of the barred owl are among my favorite woodland sounds. While most owls reserve their calling for the nighttime hours, the signature “who cooks for you” cry of the barred owl is as likely to be heard at noon as midnight. The larger and more ferocious great horned owl is the first bird to begin nesting in Iowa each...