Cheeriest Bird in the Marsh

Posted by on Sep 23, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Cheeriest Bird in the Marsh

Cheeriest Bird in the Marsh

  Iowa’s prairie wetlands are one of our richest natural treasures. Wetlands benefit everyone. They store runoff and reduce downstream flooding. Wetlands help stabilize water tables and recharge underground aquifers. Serving as efficient natural filters, aquatic plant life consumes excess nutrients and purifies water by absorbing harmful chemical pollutants. Those are the practical benefits of Iowa marshlands. But for most of us, wetlands are best known for their wildlife. Acre for acre, square foot for square foot; Iowa wetlands...

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Fall Flavors are Currently in Season

Posted by on Sep 18, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Fall Flavors are Currently in Season

Fall Flavors are Currently in Season

  Blue-winged teal are as fun to eat as they are to hunt. Likewise, for fall mushrooms. Fortunately for us, both Iowa delicacies are currently in season. Iowa’s teal season runs until September 16th. Migrating teal have been plentiful and hunters are bringing home plenty of birds. Fall mushrooms love wet weather, and local woodlands are harboring bumper crops of puff balls, chicken-of-the-woods, sulfur shelves, and others. Grilled teal and fall mushrooms make a great combination – they go together like a hand and glove. High on...

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DNR Officers List Weekend Teal Opener As Nothing Short Of Phenomenal

Posted by on Sep 18, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on DNR Officers List Weekend Teal Opener As Nothing Short Of Phenomenal

DNR Officers List Weekend Teal Opener As Nothing Short Of Phenomenal

The 2014 reinstatement of the Iowa teal season is the best single change of waterfowl regulations in the past half century. For thousands of Iowans who participated in the September 1st teal season opener, the credibility of that statement was more than obvious. Although much of the state was blanketed by heavily overcast skies, fog, and precipitation that ranged from light drizzle to frog-strangling downpours; the adverse weather appears to have done little to dampen hunter success. Most parties bagged their fair share of teal; many left the...

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Iowa Teal Season is Underway

Posted by on Sep 18, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Iowa Teal Season is Underway

Iowa Teal Season is Underway

Iowa’s fifth annual, Teal-Only Duck Hunting Season is underway. The early hunt began September 1 and runs through September 16. Shooting hours are from sunrise to sunset each day. Only teal are legal game during the special season; the daily bag limit is six blue-winged or green-winged teal. The 16-day hunt is timed to coincide with peak migrations of blue-winged teal – one of the continent’s most abundant but least utilized waterfowl. Iowa’s teal season is offered to hunters as a free bonus and does not subtract from the state’s...

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U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Predicts Good Duck Numbers For 2018

Posted by on Sep 18, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Predicts Good Duck Numbers For 2018

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Predicts Good Duck Numbers For 2018

Duck hunters can expect to see good numbers of waterfowl during the 2018 hunting seasons. And although total duck numbers have decreased by 13 percent from 2017; populations remain strong and are17 percent above the long term – 1955 to 2017 — average [LTA]. That’s the official assessment from this year’s North American Breeding Duck and Habitat Survey released this week by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Conducted every year since 1955, the continent-wide annual survey measures trends in duck breeding populations and monitors...

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Shock & Awe

Posted by on Aug 16, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Shock & Awe

Shock & Awe

  Dueling Bison Provide Late Summer Drama Late summer is one of my favorite times for visiting the Black Hills of western South Dakota. For the American bison, it’s the peak of the annual breeding season and mature bulls are on the scrap. With blood running hotter than the prairie sun, love struck prime-of-life-bulls are currently regarding every other male as a potential rival. As a result, the western grasslands have become a tinder box of irrational emotion. When bulls cross trails, tempers flare. Battles erupt. The age-old duel...

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Banner Year for Cicada Killers

Posted by on Jul 28, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Banner Year for Cicada Killers

Banner Year for Cicada Killers

  It’s late July; summer is beginning to wane. Right on schedule, this year’s crop of annual cicadas has made their above ground appearance. Often referred to as “locusts”, the distinctive chorus of hopeful males is currently filling the sultry summer atmosphere. With volumes exceeding 100 decibels, the ear-piercing trill is impossible to miss. Louder than your neighbor’s lawn mower; the cicada’s song is the insect equivalent of a dull power saw chewing through plate steel. For many folks, the cicada provides an audible...

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Bird Brain

Posted by on Jul 12, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Bird Brain

Bird Brain

Ask any duck hunter what he or she considers to be the smartest duck and they’re likely to list the mallard as a top contender. Whoever coined the phrase “Bird Brain” certainly wasn’t referring to the noble Greenhead. As elusive as they are gaudy, mallard ducks rarely come straight to the decoys. Instead, they prefer to cautiously inspect the spread from a distance, warily circling round and round until finally heading for safer waters. But even though mallard hunting often proves to be a humbling experience, most duck hunters remain...

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Iowa’s Red-headed Woodpecker Suffers Alarming Decline

Posted by on Jun 22, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Iowa’s Red-headed Woodpecker Suffers Alarming Decline

Iowa’s Red-headed Woodpecker Suffers Alarming Decline

With its crimson head, black and white checkerboard plumage, and bluish chiseled bill; the red-headed woodpecker is one of Iowa’s most strikingly beautiful birds. Occurring statewide, the red-headed is one of the commonest, and certainly one of our most popular, feathered residents. But scientists say the species’ relative abundance may be in peril. Data collected during the North American Breeding Bird Surveys reveals that the number of red-headed woodpeckers is on the wane; declining by an alarming 70 percent across much of its range...

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The Beau Brummel of American Waterfowl

Posted by on Jun 13, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on The Beau Brummel of American Waterfowl

The Beau Brummel of American Waterfowl

  To say that wood ducks make interesting photo subjects is like saying Mt. Everest is tall; that lava is hot. With its streamlined form, multicolored plumage, and elegantly crested head, the wood duck is one of our most beautiful birds – the Beau Brummel of American waterfowl. Getting a good look at one is not easy. Shy and reclusive, wood ducks are rarely seen on open water. Instead, they prefer the seclusion of tangled willow sloughs, densely wooded river bottoms, and cattail choked marshlands. Wood ducks are incredibly wary,...

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