Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
Click on Mark Twain to jump to Troutbirders book review blog

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Winter Visitors

Here are some of the birds that visit southeastern Minnesota in winter. We've had temps in the sixties lately with most of the snow melting.  Tonight the forecast is for a blizzard so winter bird watching isn't over yet.    Photography by my friend and birding mentor Mr. Science (Gary)  Enjoy!

Red Bellied Woodpecker

Mourning Dove

Bald Eagles were not known to winter here forty years ago. Now we have them nesting and staying in our neighborhood....:) The egg laying begins in late February and early March

Pheasants are no longer common here as fence lines and wetlands for habitat are gone.

You can see Gary's blog Nature Notes at

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


At Last, a Cell Phone for Seniors!  Well maybe. Maybe not.  My arthritic fingers can barely handle laptops much less up to date cellphone/I phone whatevers with their itty bity buttons....:(

But you REALLY have to be old enough to appreciate this:

The above comment and picture were received here by email recently. Talk about being really old and out of date, I didn't appreciate it because I'm old enough to remember, from visiting my rural cousins as a youth....... the hand cranked, party line telephones, that hung on the wall where you spoke into the speaker, while you held the reciver up to your ear. NOW THAT'S OLD! Oh and I forgot, you have to "ring up" the operator, who will make the call for you.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Hidden Figures

Click on Mark Twain above for my take on this movie....

Friday, February 10, 2017

A Butterfly Moment In The Sunny Garden

It's a little early for spring fever to set in but I had to admit my mind drifted back to the summer today when we built our new home in the woods next to our old home. We had divided our small acreage in the sale and I'd lost most of my sunny gardens. As the property was split,  about half of just one of the sunny gardens remained. Now I'm a shady gardener who treasures his tiny remnant of partial sun. Take a look.....

Monday, February 6, 2017

Winter On The Tundra

It's been a difficult winter here in the North Country. Sub zero temps and deep snow over hard layers of ice. For me, it means skipping the long hikes with Lily and staying by the comforts of a warm blanket, easy chair and stacks of books. To see the books I've been reading check out Troutbirder II by clicking on Mark Twains picture above.....
For the birds and animals who must scrape a living from the frozen earth it's a lot tougher. My friend Gary Erickson (Mr Science) still manages to go out and about though and take some pictures of the beauty and dangers of a Minnesota winter. Here a nowadays rare pheasant  is seen trying to feed on a corn shock bale. This is very unusual  and definitely shows desperation. Deer make a habit of visiting local  bird feeders including ours  in the evening.
Here on Troutbirder Ranch, the story is the same as I've be feeding
 birds, in huge numbers. And are they hungry! The top trifecta are the juncos & gold, purple & house finches. On some mornings I’ve seen well more than one hundred gathered about. Also, quite prevalent, are the nuthatches, chickadees, and bluejays. Daily, but not in large numbers, are mourning doves, cardinals, starlings, downy, hairy and red bellied woodpeckers.
The local turkey flock often slips quietly through our woods. They tend to be quite cautious as a certain  German Shepherd enjoys chasing them. They cross onto the blacktop in front of our house. Then march parade style up the road till they come to the goat pasture across the way. Having established a peaceful relationship with the unconcerned goats they forage for spilled grain. It's quite a show.

Winter, it's a tough go, here on the Tundra

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

I Could Tell You Stories

From Minnesota's best all around author, poet, writer, essayist, Professor of English literature, and above all memoirist comes a collection of sojourns in the land of memory I COULD TELL YOU STORIES.  Wonderful! Click on Mark Twain above and jump to Troutbirder II to find out why....

Friday, January 27, 2017

Toot Daloot

As my maternal grandmother asked me several times when I was in elementary school "yous guise going toot Daloot?"  And sure enough I'd often answer, "you betcha, Gramma."
So sure enough, Mrs. T. and I took a trip toot Daloot  last fall. It was a glorious weekend.
Access to the Duluth Harbor
The old time "lift bridge" no longer the main connection to Superior, Wisconsin.
Once huge ore carriers brought Minnesota iron ore to Eastern steel mills. Now taconite serves as well as grain to markets around the world.
Later that afternoon the lady in the blue coat and I took Skyline Parkway up to Hawk Ridge overlooking Duluth. Here many thousands of raptors and other birds funnel around gigantic Lake Superior in their fall migration to warmer climes southward.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

A Bridge Over Troubled Water

Sail on, silvergirl
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way
See how they shine
If you need a friend
I'm sailing right behind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
It had been a late, wet, and cold spring last year.  The water was almost bank high as we hiked with Lily along the trail toward the bridge and the long trek up to Mystery Springs. There had been little trout fishing  as health issues made hiking a better choice for all three of us.

We crossed the bridge, noting a beautiful stretch of trout water, I hoped to fish that fall. Little could I know that this would be a bridge crossing troubled water then after unusual and severe floods came tumbling through the valley at that time.
It will recover of course and hoping most of the trout survived the floods I reflected back to my favorite childhood baseball team the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Whose immortal rallying cry was "Wait Till Next Year" after losing once again in the World Series to the hated Yankees......