Nesting Goose Pair Brings Joy to Assisted Living Residents

Posted by on May 2, 2020 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Nesting Goose Pair Brings Joy to Assisted Living Residents

Nesting Goose Pair Brings Joy to Assisted Living Residents

The wait is over.  The hatch is on.  Newly emerged broods of baby Canada geese are appearing on wetlands across the state.  And although the annual renewal of life should bring joy to all who witness it, perhaps no group has been more thrilled by the sight of newly hatched goslings than the residents of Clear Lake’s Apple Valley Assisted Living.  Success – Apple Valley Canada geese escort their day-old goslings across the water. Since 2009, a total of 52 goslings have been produced by two female Canadas. The...

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Sign of the Season

Posted by on May 1, 2020 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Sign of the Season

Sign of the Season

The spring season is quickly advancing.  April has passed and it won’t be long until Iowa white-tails begin dropping their fawns.  I was recently reminded of this fact when I spotted a pair of adult does slowly browsing through the sundrenched woodland in my direction.  The deer kept coming until the closest had approached to within twenty yards, maybe less.  Taking advantage of the opportunity, I began taking photos as the deer continued to advance.  It was not until after I had taken several shots that I...

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One of a Kind Wood Duck

Posted by on Apr 27, 2020 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on One of a Kind Wood Duck

One of a Kind Wood Duck

I’ve spent much of April crouching in a blackout blind while observing the close range interactions between breeding pairs of wood ducks.  Most of my time is spent around small woodland ponds where each wetland serves as headquarters for anywhere from seven to around a dozen mated pairs of woodies.    Setting up well before first light, each new morning becomes its own adventure.  Today offered a classic example when, at around 7:40 am,  a “new pair” suddenly dropped in through the treetops and splashed...

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Spinning on a Dime

Posted by on Apr 15, 2020 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Spinning on a Dime

Spinning on a Dime

Iowa Turkey Opener Offers Blend of Feast & Famine The first of Iowa’s four-part, split turkey seasons began Monday.  But as often happens during spring turkey season, the weather did not necessarily match the calendar.  Instead of singing birds and mild temperatures, early season hunters were treated to a snow-covered landscape, wind, and twenty-degree cold.  Arriving at one of my favorite public timbers, I was happy to find that the parking lots were empty.  Unfortunately, so were the...

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Unwelcome House Guest

Posted by on Mar 25, 2020 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Unwelcome House Guest

Unwelcome House Guest

The giant Canada goose is the first waterfowl to begin nesting each spring; and at least a few females are already sitting on eggs.  One of those early nests is located atop a muskrat lodge at Lekwa Marsh on Clear Lake’s south shore. While I was photographing the nest on March 24, the incubating goose received an unusual visitor when a large beaver popped up next to the lodge and quickly climbed aboard.  Once out of the water, the beaver shook, raised up on its hind legs, and began cleaning its fur.  Since beavers...

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Spring Snow Geese

Posted by on Mar 12, 2020 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Spring Snow Geese

Spring Snow Geese

The annual migration of northbound snow geese is one of creation’s most awe-inspiring events.  Moving toward ancestral breeding grounds in arctic Canada, snow goose flocks are currently winging their way across Iowa.  Pushing the edge of a retreating winter, peak migrations usually occur around early to mid-March.  But spring weather may prove fickle and migrating birds are sometimes forced to make a U-turn as sudden snowstorms force a temporary retreat.  In 2015, blizzard-like conditions caused geese to move south...

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Until Leap Year Makes It 29

Posted by on Mar 11, 2020 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Until Leap Year Makes It 29

Until Leap Year Makes It 29

My kitchen calendar was offering the latest proof positive that time really does fly.  Even with Leap Year’s added day, the 29th of February had suddenly arrived.  Tempus fugit for sure!  I doubt that many will mourn the month’s passing.  For a lot of folks, the end of February marks the end of winter — or at least hope for the end — and the sooner we get the season in our rear-view mirrors the better.  No mystery really.  You see, most of Iowa’s three million residents don’t like cold and...

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Traveling With Eagles

Posted by on Mar 6, 2020 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Traveling With Eagles

Traveling With Eagles

With a significant snow melt currently underway, this year’s spring migration is pushing northward.  Canada geese, a handful of white-fronts, and bald eagles are the most noticeable vanguards of things to come.  While driving up the highway toward my home at Clear Lake, I spotted a distant eagle traveling in the same northbound direction.  Flying at an altitude of 30 yards or so above the landscape, the huge bird was paralleling the paved roadway in the same manner it would follow a natural river channel. Once I caught up...

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Snow is Melting – The Hunt is On

Posted by on Feb 27, 2020 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Snow is Melting – The Hunt is On

Snow is Melting – The Hunt is On

One of the traits that sets white-tailed deer apart from all other forms of Iowa wildlife is the ability of bucks to grow antlers.  Generally speaking, the older the buck the larger and more impressive its antlers become.  Antlers have but one purpose.  They are designed to duke it out with other males during the annual fall breeding season.  Battles can become dangerous and impressive.  When November bucks cross trails, the Iowa woodlands echo with the sound of clashing antlers. In terms of body weights and antler...

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Hiking for Owls

Posted by on Feb 14, 2020 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Hiking for Owls

Hiking for Owls

There are a lot of good reasons to visit Iowa’s winter woodlands.  Listening to the eerie, nighttime serenades of resident owls ranks high on my list of favorites. As is the case with any outdoor adventure, being prepared is key to success.  It is, after all, the dead of winter.  Dress too lightly and you’ll freeze.  Wear too much and you’ll sweat; and then you’ll freeze.  If your woodland has trails or contains open stretches of mature timber, then skis or snowshoes can save a lot of the huffing and...

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