Saturday, October 31, 2009

HALLOWEEN remembered........

Oliver moved the out house. He moved it ahead of the disposal. He did it so anyone sneaking on to the farm to tip the toilet, would step in the hole.

Oh poop. We can't find toilets to tip any more!

Happy Halloween to all.


Friday, October 30, 2009

HALLOWEEN Remembered.......

When it is chilly on Halloween, the idea was to wear a costume OVER your clothes so that you would be dressed for the occasion and still warm enough.

And it came to be that Rachel truly understood this. One year she was a zebra another year a pumpkin fairy and later, a Spider Queen with her long blond hair separated into eight sections to resemble legs and a web made out of yarn on her head. The last year she did trick or treat was 6th grade, she went as a scarecrow. Did Jaeme know this when she planned her costume for this year? Clairvoyance, maybe?


Thursday, October 29, 2009

HALLOWEEN remembered............

As you may know, a merger took place in the early sixties that brought the New Solum ancestors more entwined. With that merger, came stories and additional clairvoyance.

Now whether or not you believe in the super natural hocus pocus or not, it does exist in some families as a trait. Perhaps we have it ourselves and credit something else.

It is not my wish to convince you one way or another. Only to share that when, in a dream, a loving relative who has deceased comes through the looking glass and the two of you are excited about a plan, it is, for the most part, an agreement.

Just how many generations of the extra sense have come down through the years is unknown. We know that Julia Rye had the gift, and to watch her daughter talk about it and her own gifts and look at you in a convincing way is shivering. And the looking glass makes it a third generation.

We have all had clairvoyant episodes in our lives. There are even television programs based on it~~written by writers. Are they in-to-the-future?

Perhaps telepathy is not only a gift but something one can be trained to use. What I mean by that is simple: If one has the gift can it be nurtured? When we say, "I knew that was going to happen!" How do we know?

Old Trunks has had a few in the future episodes of her own. They have all been calming events to move her forward.

So on this Halloween, when witches fly and the moon is full and the goblins are out and ghosts host and you are visited through the looking glass and feel a life promise, ride with it, even if it is in your Brougham (broom).

May your caldron's be full.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

HALLOWEEN Remembered

There is something to be said about the buttle about face painting verses masks. Although masks are marvelous, they are hot and one can not see where they are going. If you take the mask off, doesn't that 'ruin' you costume? I am for painting.

Bud came home one day before Halloween and wanted a mask like Matt. Matt's dad had bought him a gory rubber mask for about $50. It was a high budget item and Bud did not get his wish. I am hopeful in his adult life he has granted himself this extra. If not, then it wasn't that important after all.

Ryen was our face painting fiend. He loved to experiment with the make up. He had watched his sister do her Halloween make up and was positive he could do his own. So, we let him. Although the teacher really thought she should do it, he declined. That was the year of the oatmeal stuck on to look like peeling skin.

In the picture above, Ryen went as a lizard. It was funny because his best friend went as a wizard. The costume had been made for Bud years earlier, he did not wear it but it was kept.

I take that back, Bud did wear it once. I told him I would give him a dollar if he put it on and ran around the block. See photo. The baby on the sofa is Ryen.

So Ryen experimented with the colors and when it was time to dress for the party at school, made some marks on his face. He was a great lizard with his tail dragging behind him. Who knows, maybe he was really a gecko, 'wanna chip"?

Paint or mask what was your call?


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

HALLOWEEN Remembered......

Marilyn Langseth and I were third graders at Washington School in Thief River Falls in October 1951. Marilyn and I laid on the tiled living room floor at our house with a sheet of blank newsprint. We had a window at S&L, a department store on the corner of third and LaBree to paint a Halloween scene.

We were intricate. Marilyn always had a real style to draw. We had a huge, detailed haunted house with leaf less trees, a walk to the house which made the drawing three dimensional, bats, grave stones with rest in peace, (RIP) written on them. And of course, a full moon.

This was when I learn what RIP meant. Before, I thought it was Rip Van Winkle's grave, and I wondered why there were so many graves for him. I wonder, if in texting, what RIP means now? Anyway.

The idea was to attach the drawing with the news print to the inside of the window, actually, I think it was a rule. Then, paint the design on the glass. Now let me tell you, there is a huge difference between drawing a design on a flat floor and third graders trying to tip toe on a way to big window at the S&L store. It did not go well. We did not finish.

Therefore, when my children decided they would window paint, I suggested they work on something less involved. The first year Rachel did it, we learned the paint they supplied was mixed with soap; we would bring our own.....although the committee or sponsor stopped that in later years.

I highly encouraged them to practice AT HOME on the picture window in the living room. It was a grand day, the southern sun made the paint dry tight on the glass. Rachel would paint at Miller Furniture downtown. She was set.

I hope you enjoy the window painting from the fall of 1978. I was reprieved from the fiasco of '51!

Did you paint? Where? What?


Monday, October 26, 2009

HALLOWEEN Remembered..........

Ah, the art of the pumpkin. The thrill of the picking it out. And the clean up. Why our family generally chose to carve pumpkins after dark is a Halloween mystery.

Above are two pictures of Rachel and Bud, who, were, for the most part, the artists in residence. In order to have the decoration longer, the year Rachel was six and Bud was two, I painted them and they were carved later.

Just what part of carving is the work of a six or two year old? How can a six year old get through that tough exterior without hurting herself? Never mind turning a two year old with a knife like instrument. Tools were simple, unlike now with lots of children's tools, we only had a long, sharp knife. Father's job was to cut the top off, the kids did the scooping out and directed how the eyes and mouth should be.

You can see that when they became older, they did their own, on the table. One year, Bud and his friend carved in the day time. Look how close Kevin's hand is to the knife!
We didn't have a pumpkin wizard where one could buy or download 150 pattern ideas. Our kids made their own. And like we said before, there were no tools. Yes, we were wasteful, we didn't use the flesh but we did roast the seeds.
Seem innocent? It was. No wonder it is still the second biggest holiday after Christmas at the Anderson house.
Did you carve?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

HALLOWEEN remembered

Yea, mom made this Halloween costume for me when I was one. She made it out of crepe paper and attached it to my sweat shirt. For those of you who are in style, they aren't called sweatshirts anymore, they are hoodies.
It was raining on Halloween. I am glad she didn't take me out to trick or treat in the rain. All the orange would have run and I would have a permanent look, like I was some sort of a carrot. (Although I do know that if you eat enough carrots your finger tips will turn orange).
And what is the deal with that chair? Where are the legs? Didn't folks have legs on chairs then? And look at that card!!! It is all fuzzy with what they called flocking. It is a Hallmark, of course, because they cared enough to get me the very best.
That was the last costume I had that was made of paper except one year my friends and I dressed up as Fruit of the Loom characters and went door to door singing. That was in the rain, too. I was the banana and yes, the yellow ran on my face.
Have a colorful holiday.
From what may be the memories of RZA

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Let's lay Halloween aside for a day and remember our ancestors in a most fitting way. Above are the two Grandma Julia's. The top one is Julia Clara Opseth Ranum and the bottom one is Julia Olette Olson Rye. We always thought it interesting that both had the name Julia, maiden name starting with O and married name starting with R.

But wait, the neatest thing of all is both of them were born on the 24th of October. Julia Ranum in 1885 and Julia Rye in 1889. Although both were born in Minnesota, only one was born in Rosewood, the other in Beltrami, MN. Yes, Beltrami is a city/village; not just a county.

Both of them were married longer than fifty years, although in the case of Rye, Henry died after 52 married years, whereas in the Ranum union, Julia died first.

Grandma Rye and her son Oliver left the farm and moved to town. They lived in houses first, then moved to Skyline Apartments followed by Valley Home. Grandma Rye died at the age of 91.

Grandma Ranum was 80 when she expired. She left a truly lonely husband. Benhard took care of her during her illness at home.

What did these women have in common besides being grandparents to my children? Did they ever meet? After all for many years, both of them lived in the Rosewood community. The answer is yes. They were amongst many who belonged to the spinning group where they gathered and each others home with their spinning wheels to card the wool and spin it into yarn. Whomever was hosting, served the lunch. We think the photo was taken outside in the winter. No flash.
Let's name these charming ladies:
Back row: Julia Ranum, Lena Mellem, and Annie Holten
Front row: Hilda Sagmoen, Nina Bloom, Christine Paulson, and Julia Rye.
May I say that Nina Bloom is also a grandmother to my children?
Take a moment and think about any Julia-like people you have in your life. I can promise sunshine from your visit to the past.

Friday, October 23, 2009

HALLOWEEN Let's go as germs!

Does anyone remember Halloween parties in grade school? Tom said they always bobbed for apples and the rule was you were not to trap it on the side and bite the bob. He went on to say he learned how to do this by watching the older kids. All of this conversation came during a news report about the swine flu and what we should do to remain healthy.

Think about the number of germs in that wash tub after 20+ kids went apple bobbing.

Think about how, in elementary school, we were to rinse our mouths out after lunch at the water fountain and spit the water back into the bowl.

Think about how the milk was passed out mid morning by children who where not instructed to wash their hands before handling the the uncovered straws.

At the market last night there was a sign, it said OUR STORE IS CLEAN. There was a box of sanitary wipes in the last isle, the container was sitting on the floor.

A woman in her thirties is in a spasm about germs. She hoped the establishment she worked for would wash the door knobs every couple of hours.

Shirley and I had an email conversation about this a few days ago. I told her that as a nurse's aide, we were instructed to wash our hands going in the room and out of the room. We were to wash long enough to sing "Mary Had a Little Lamb" .

Washing included past the wrists, top and bottom of hands, physically between each finger and around each finger nail with the water running. Once finished, one was to wipe with paper towel, turn off water with paper towel, and open the door with a paper towel.

As for sneezing in one's elbow, what if you don't wear long sleeves?

I think I will go trick or treating as a can of Lysol.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

HALLOWEEN remembered.......

It was the October of 1953, one of the only Halloween nights I remember as being really, really nice. We had scavenged the neighborhood and beyond and I, at least, had retired with my loot. Greg, at 13 may have gone again. My grand parents had run out of candy and came to visit my parents. It may not have been that late, but like all Halloween eves in was.

The door bell continued to ring. Mother ran out of candy and took the items I had given her, you know, cupcakes, and popcorn balls to pass out. The stream of beggars continued. Once out of my gatherings, she started given dimes.

Now a dime in 1953 could get you into the movies!

The word must have spread, the next thing you know, there were tall kids pretending to be little by begging while resting on their knees. There was no age limit at that time. But there was a limit to the dimes and mother turned off the porch light. Teenage goblins continued to knock, when mother didn't answer, the lined up next to the picture window and watched television; mother pulled the drapes.

My question to you is, were there rules printed in the newspaper then as there were in Lawrence? Was it all about trick or treating between 6:30-8:30? Was there a porch light rule? Did we knock on doors when there was not a light to guide our way? Why did mother pick 125 as the number of children who would visit?



Wednesday, October 21, 2009

HALLOWEEN Remembered

Or is it? Do you remember Halloween as a very young child?

The first one I remember is a costume parade in the old arena. I was a cat and won a doll. The judges stand was in the middle of the rink and they talked about each character. That is all......

Until.....2nd or third grade when brother and I went trick or treating and brought home one full sack and got another. I don't know why we didn't use pillow cases, it would have been easier to carry.

By the time we were finished and ready to spread everything out on the table, NOT to be examined, rather to give mother all the stuff we didn't want, like cupcakes, popcorn balls, and Carmel apples. Shame on us for being such specific beggars. I do know when we went to the Larson house, we had to go in to get a piece of cake, we refrained, there were plenty of places that a knock, open your sack, say thank you and leave. Which yielded more candy than waiting around for some old cake. (SHAME ON ME).


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

In Memory of Max

I remember well the first day the owner of the litter of Snicker's kittens allowed me to hold one. By now, they had their first shots. There is nothing like a kitten to hold, other than babies, of course! (Am I safe, yet?)

How can one justify buying a cat when many are available for adoption? There is an entitlement clause built into all of us. It comes from the heart when you hold something so precious as Max was. But, he cost a lot.

I went back to visit weekly to watch the kittens grow. All of them sold except Max and the lady gave me a real deal on him. She told me to buy all the things he needed and I would pay the difference of her price and what was left after litter box, food, dishes and other.

Persians, as you know, have smashed in faces and tiny ears. They are great house cats because they really don't want to be outside. If the sliding door at the apartment was open, he would lay with his paws on the threshold. Once, here in Fargo, he accidentally got out through an open window, (he pretended to look like he meant to do it). We left the window open and he got back in the same way.

Granted Ryen and I used a little muscle to cut his back claws and I may have been a little rough on the brushing, but all and all, he was, for the most part, our family member. Ryen often stated Max hated him. Max really didn't hate anyone; he was his own person.

Unlike his half sister, Whispurr, who was always on the go, Max lounged. Actually, if he wasn't eating or lounging less than 23 and a half hours a day, I might have worried.

When Tom asked me to be married, I asked him about Max, who was welcome in Fargo. No matter how aloof he may have been with others entrusted to his care, that all changed.

Because Max found his true and trusted human. A lap to lay on and purr and be stroked. And even if we were grateful that he had found his paradise, Ryen and I who cared about him, wished we had been the ones he went to for petting. At this point, I asked Tom if he wanted to adopt him and he gratefully said he would.

Daddy told me once that if you ever buy a dog, go at feeding time and the one that comes to the fence to say hello is the one you want to buy. Perhaps that was the case, I had picked the cat, he had not picked me.

In Fargo, he had many places to hid and sleep. He was quiet. He did not make the horrid noises nor did he climb the curtains or try to eat the center out of a fresh apple pie. He like to bat peppermints around, just like he did as a kitten.

Max died two years ago about this time in October.

The other day, Tom and I pulled every thing out from the east wall in the living room to clean the wall, dust, and condition the leather of the sofa. Tom tossed out a Max toy from behind the sofa table.

It gave me sweet memories of Max, remembering, among other things, how he lay on the back of the sofa at the lake and watched the hummingbirds feed.

We have been without a pet for two years. There is a joke in another family about changing the station when the pet ads are on. Winter is coming and the sound of cat feet thumping on the upstairs bedroom floor would be a warm and familiar sound.

Yet, summer comes and we are off to the lake. Would another cat be happy to watch the hummingbirds and lay with his paws on the sliding glass door threshold?

Max lived 18+ years. That means, Tom and I have a responsibility for at least that long. We would be in our 80's!

As long as I keep the cat idea in my left brain, I am okay, but if the idea should sneak into my right brain, I would be in trouble with my self. And, believe it or not, my heart seems to have a mind of its own.


Monday, October 19, 2009

BIRDS Turkey

Turkeys have many calls:
kee kees

In early spring, the male, which is called a gobbler or tom, gobble to announce their presence to the females. One can hear the gobble for up to a mile.

While fishing on the Red River of the North, one could see groups of turkeys at the edge of the wooded areas. They appear to live in groups.

Benjamin Franklin preferred the turkey as the national bird of the United States comes from a letter he wrote to his daughter, Sarah Bache in 1784 criticizing the choice of the bald eagle as the national bird and suggesting that a turkey would have made a better alternative.

"For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a bird of bad moral character. He does not get his living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead tree near the river, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the labor of the fish hawk and when that diligent bird has at length taken a fish, and is bearing it to his nest for the support of his mate and young ones, the bald eagle pursues him and takes it from him.

With all this injustice, he is never in good case but like those among men who live by sharping and robbing, he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides, he is a rank coward.................For the truth the turkey is in comparison a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original Native of America... He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on."

What is your take on that?


Sunday, October 18, 2009

BIRDS Ring Billed Gull

The gulls bounce in the choppy water watching fisherman as they toss bits of used minnows over the side. The scramble begins, which bird will get the feast? Wave a minnow in the air you have a group of them after it!

My children have fed them popcorn at Duluth, we see them in plowed fields eating worms, and the biggest niche, like crows, just may be fast food restaurants. Today, we are talking about the Ring-billed gull, which is only one of many of the 50 plus species.
Imagine, if you will, laying on the beach somewhere and taking a mini dip to cool off. Be aware that the gull will steal your food!
The gull in the picture was taken at Federal Dam, MN. It is resting on one of the river markers.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

BIRDS Forster's Tern


Terns are readily distinguished from gulls by their forked tails, straight pointed bills, slender shape and long, narrow wings. Their steady wing beats and buoyant movements have earned them the name "sea swallows".
Although web-footed, they swim poorly and seldom rest on the water. Their plumage is predominantly white, grey and black and, as with many colonial waterbirds, the sexes are not easily differentiated.

The Forster's Tern and the Black Tern nest in wetlands. The Black Tern prefers shallow marshes associated with lakes, ponds, rivers and water impoundments, while the Forster's Tern is generally found in the inaccessible, deep-water portions of large cattail marshes.
In August, it seemed as if the tern in the picture was there in the morning on our way to fish as well as on the way back. No, he isn't in the water, he is resting on a dead head, ( water logged tree which may have been left over from the logging days in the area). We are grateful for the tern for showing us where it is, although it is marked on the GPS mapping device as well.
It is read that if terns are alarmed and leave their nest of eggs, the sea gulls will swoop in and eat the eggs. Honest, we did see the 'do not disturb sign'.

Friday, October 16, 2009

BIRDS Common Snipe

This long beaked bird plunges its bill into soft ground eating larvae of insects, earthworms, frogs, and seeds.

Do we have a picture? Only a spec it the blue sky. What we heard in the morning as well in the evening was a vibrating sound and a streak of the bird in a zig zag pattern with its wings pointed.

We pestered everyone with great hearing to listen to the vibration sound. Now, if you know enough people eventually someone has heard the sound before. It was only then we learned it was a Common Snipe as it's outer tail feathers caught the air to make a whinnying-like sound.

Why? It was shared that both sexes do ariel displays starting with the female first and over the nesting area in a bog. We could have tramped through the bog to search for those olive buff eggs with spots, however, the displaying was already over because it only happens in courtship.

Of course, we could have gone to the bog and listened for wheet-wheet!

Trivia? In Finland, they are called the sky goat because the sound of the dive sounds like the baa of a goat.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


In the last two years, on different lakes, we have seen hundreds of coots gathering on the lake. This year we saw them on Leech Lake. I kid you not there were hundreds of them. We have seen them gather on the river as well as on smaller likes.

Of all the groups we have seen, the coot seems to have the most conspicuous displays. They defend their breeding and feeding territories by charging at other birds and running across the water. In courtship, the male may chase females with flapping wings or swim with head and neck held close to the water, wing tips raised, and tail lifted. which displays white patches. They may build nine nests before choosing one OR they may take another coot's nest.

How do they eat? Dip and dive like a duck. Yet, you know them mostly by the way they move their heads back and forth as they paddle in the water.

Their sound is like a tiny toy trumpet.

Look for the beak, it is chicken-like rather than duck like.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

BIRDS Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron's seem to be every where we have fished! The 'gronk' like sound they make distinguishes them from all others. It is as if they are saying, "you woke me from my nap OR how can I listen for fish when your motor is running?"

It feeds in shallow water by standing or walking slowly then grabs its prey with its bill. It eats fish, frogs, birds, and insects. Although it is said it can feel in deeper water by plunging and swimming, it is yet something we have not seen.
Near an area we call Black Duck, (not to be confused with the city), there is a large rice patch. We always see at least one there, as well as the huge rice patch near what we call Battle Point.
We wonder if this is where they might lay there 3-7 bluish green eggs. Authorities on the subject of herons state they build nests 70 feet above the ground. That makes me wonder if those sticks and twig nests we have seen may have been heron nests rather than a raptor nest.
But for now......rok, rok to all. It is certain we have all heard them, as the habitat is across the USA and well into Canada.

The are a pretty bird in a prehistoric way with it's grayish blue body, white heads and black stripe over its eye.

The first one Old Trunks saw was in a tree! It was in the pre-long lens era and Tom moved slowly toward it, fishing as we went, so as not to attract attention.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

BIRDS Baltimore Oriole

The birds make a nest called a hang nest. It looks like a ladies purse made from sticks and leaves. It hangs in the tree, nearly out of sight from us in a tree near Dan's.

Shown is a Baltimore Oriole sitting on Paul's feeder at the lake.

Adults have a pointed bill and white bars on the wings. The adult male is orange on the underparts, shoulder patch and rump. All of the rest of the male is black.

The adult female is yellow-brown on the upper parts with darker wings, and dull orange on the breast and belly.

The male sings a loud flutey whistle that often gives away the bird's location before any sighting can be made.

Along with the orioles, we see finches and humming birds at his feeder. Paul is there from early May well into October, which makes him the perfect care taker for the feeders.

Aren't they beautiful?


Monday, October 12, 2009


It is said that swans were brought to the states in the 1800's to grace estates and parks. Some escaped and formed a wild group which became known as mute swans. MUTE? Why? It is said they only hiss and grunt. They have a droning sound to their wing flap whereas the natives of park swans are silent. Seems to me it should be mu-tated, meaning changed. But then, I am only a wisher-to-photograph them.
A male is called a cob and a female is called a pens and the chicks are cygnets. There is a Polish cob that weighs about 50 pounds, maybe I could get a picture of him trying to raise his rump off the water.

Our hunt for swans began simply enough. We were on our way to the lake in early May and the man-of-all-knowing said, "LOOK, SWANS" And by the time brain engaged, we were well beyond. Of course, he said, "Shall I turn around?" And of course, you remember the conversation about saving 7 minutes on a short cut? Why would we waste 10? BECAUSE. We did turn around but the S necked waterfowl were beyond the cameras lens. Why were their necks orange?

It got to be the game. Once he thought he saw some by a church. He crept the truck up as close to the cemetery as he dared and I got out and walked silently through the graves to the edge where the fence was and moved the bramble aside to stick the lens through. They were pelicans! And I had four stuck wood ticks that night.

When we got to a certain mile marker on MN HWY 34 we would start to look. Where they in the farm pond? Where they in Lake Howe? How about the church yard? Where were they?

Then, in late May, we went to Little Sand to fish. You would like the lake. It has a nice dock, no Canada Goose poop. and a small beach for those who wish to sun bathe and wade.

Swans are skiddish. They are really hard to sneak up on. We weren't close enough to measure the wing span but it is at least 80-90". Tom guessed they weighed about 25 pounds. We caught the pair in flight!

Why the orange necks on the first ones? Stained from the water.

Now, some of you may have had this magnificent creatures on wall paper or shower curtains in your bathrooms as a kid. Did you? Have you ever seen one in the real?


Sunday, October 11, 2009

BIRDS Killdeer

It is mid-May at the lake and once again Dick and Donna's pebble garden around the birch tree has become the nesting destination for the Killdeer where one can not tell the difference between the 3 to 4 eggs and the rocks.
One can see by the first picture the chicks look much like their parent, only smaller, as they are nearly hidden in the grass. Mother displayed the broken wing theory to us to keep us away from her charges, we did not go closer.
They are cute little birds who run around, almost amok to us as humans but what they are doing is eating insects, most likely they see and hear them. One can hear them calling "kill -deah" in a high pitched voice.
Male killdeers claim nesting territory before selecting a mate. To attract a mate, the male will stand in his territory and make a two-note call for hours at a time. The male may also scrape at the ground and fly over his territory.
Once killdeer have mated, the pair will scrape out a nesting site. The female killdeer lays an average of four eggs. Both the male and the female incubate the eggs. It takes about 24-28 days for the eggs to hatch.The chicks are precocial, that means they can move around and feed themselves shortly after birth. Once the chicks' down dries, the parents will lead them to a feeding area. The chicks stay with their parents until they fledge a month after birth.
What do you think of those eyebrows?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

BIRDS Peregrine Falcons

Bird books don't credit the Midwest with Peregrine Falcons. I assure you they breed and raise the chicks right here in Fargo high on the bank building in a man made nesting box across from Tom's office building.

For a few years, the camera, which took still images every so many seconds worked great. All of us who were mesmerized by the birds where happy to see the eggs, the setting on the eggs by the parents, and the hatch and feed process. This last year, there were no cameras, although Tom watched the happenings on a telescopic via his office.

Old Trunks found a live site in Columbus, OH a few years back. The nest is on the Rhodes Office Building. Not only is the camera live in the nest but on the ledge, as well. In the spring, when the falcons are back, I will make a post giving the address along with several other sites in the USA. Like any live cam, be it loons, falcons, or panda bears, it is something special to see.

Falcons eat pigeons and flickers as well as other birds and insects. They dive at speeds of 82 mph and first bump them with their foot before grabbing them with their powerful talons. It isn't uncommon for them to have their meal on the roof of the Fercho Building where Tom has his office. He finds wings and caresses of dead birds throughout the summer.

Yes, these are the same hunting bird in the old Robin Hood movies. Robert Taylor always seemed to be seen in a falconry scene wearing a pointed hat with a feather for the sake of some fair damsel; Janet Leigh comes to mind.

Friday, October 9, 2009

BIRDS Golden Eyes and Buffleheads

Golden Eyes These are active, strong-winged fliers moving singly or in small flocks, often high in the air. Distinctive wing-whistling sound in flight has earned the name of whistlers. Golden eyes generally move south late in the season; most of them winter on coastal waters and the Great Lakes. Inland, they like rapids and fast water.

Buffleheads Stragglers migrate south in mid-fall, but the largest numbers move just ahead of freeze up. Most flocks in feeding areas are small - 5 or 6 birds, with more hens and immatures than adult drakes. Very small size, bold black and white color pattern and low, swift flight are field marks. Unlike most divers, they can fly straight up from a watery takeoff.

Both the Golden Eye and the Bufflehead nest in old trunks of trees, often holes made by wood peckers.

When one takes the short cut near Walker, MN to avoid town, (and save 7 minutes), one goes by the city lagoon. Both species swim about there. Tom will say, "Bufflehead or Golden Eye?" If the light is right, I can see the eye. Other wise, I am looking for a circle or a wisp of white on its cheek.
EEEWWWW, lagoon fed? I don't think so.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

BIRDS Difference between Puddle and Diver Ducks

Puddle ducks are typically birds of fresh, shallow marshes and rivers rather than of large lakes and bays. They are good divers, but usually feed by dabbling or tipping rather than submerging. That is why they liked Tom's sandwich!

The speculum, or colored wing patch, is generally iridescent and bright, and often a telltale field mark.

Any duck feeding in croplands will likely be a puddle duck, for most of this group are sure-footed and can walk and run well on land. Their diet is mostly vegetable, and grain-fed mallards or pin tails or acorn-fattened wood ducks are highly regarded as food.

Diving ducks frequent the larger, deeper lakes and rivers, and coastal bays and inlets. The colored wing patches of these birds lack the brilliance of the speculum of puddle ducks.

Since many of them have short tails, their huge, paddle feet may be used as rudders in flight, and are often visible on flying birds. When launching into flight, most of this group patter along the water before becoming airborne.

They feed by diving, often to considerable depths. To escape danger, they can travel great distances underwater, emerging only enough to show their head before submerging again.

Their diets of fish, shellfish, mollusks, and aquatic plants make them second choice, as a group, for sportsmen. Canvasbacks and redheads fattened on eel grass or wild celery are notable exceptions.

Since their wings are smaller in proportion to the size and weight of their bodies, they have a more rapid wing beat than puddle ducks.

Shall we have mallard for supper?



Wednesday, October 7, 2009

BIRDS Lady Mallards

Most ducks shed their body feathers twice each year. Nearly all drakes lose their bright plumage after mating, and for a few weeks resemble females. This hen-like appearance is called the eclipse plumage. The return to breeding coloration varies in species and individuals of each species
That means on this very hot day in July this summer, when Tom was getting the ducks into the boat, there may have been just as many males as females nipping at his sandwich.
That is why, only in the spring, in a marsh near the lake, have we seen the iridescent green head and the chestnut body of the male. The female does the nest building. Her mate may be off looking at his handsome coloring in still waters, who knows?
The mallard is a puddle duck. What?
Tomorrow we will talk about the difference.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

BIRDS Eagles

. In the 1960s the bald eagle population in the forest was only 12 nesting pairs of eagles. Since then the population has rebounded and the bald eagle population of the Chippewa National Forest is one of the highest density in the lower forty eight states at 150 nesting pairs.
The forest contains an area known as the "Lost Forty"; this area (actually 144 acres) was accidentally mapped as part of Coddington lake when the original maps of the region were laid out in 1882. As a result of this mapping error, the Lost Forty was never logged. This area has become some of the oldest forest in the state, with some trees over 350 years old. Less than two percent of Minnesota's forested land today is old growth, never logged forest.
It is exciting for Old Trunks to get close enough to photograph them in the natural and to see their nests high in the forks of tall trees. One can hear the scream of the eagles between the parents and the rapid chirps from the nest.
Although eagles do eat mostly fish, they do eat rabbits and carrion, as well. Often, we have seen them swoop down on the lake and pick up a fish that has been gut hooked and tossed back by a fisherman. The food is called, "EAGLE FOOD" by fisherman.
In Lawrence, KS, a outlet mall was built next to the Bowersock Dam with a wall of windows to the north. The eagles rested in trees and dried their wings after fishing in the Kaw (Kansas River) below. Shoppers stood by the glass and watched the birds. The mall became city hall, what happened to the eagles?
From the archives of the Lawrence Journal World:

Kansas River and eagles
It has been an incredible experience to observe two adult eagles building a nest and raising their young
It has been an incredible experience to observe two adult eagles building a nest and raising their young.

By Joanne Bergman
May 22, 2007

Sightings from city hall and the Lawrence Riverfront Plaza confirm the return of bald eagles to the banks of the Kaw. Fred DeVictor, director of the city's parks and recreation department, said he spotted his first bald eagle of the season a week ago in trees on the north side of the river, about a quarter-mile below the Bowersock Dam. December 4, 1990.
And our mini continuing lesson?
---= Eagles

Monday, October 5, 2009

BIRDS Turkey Vultures

Before we begin our thoughts about the vulture, I want to point something out for you to remember.

During soar, the Vulture holds its wings in a V

During soar, the Osprey holds its wings in a M

Try to remember that while seeing bird in flight. For me, I remember the vulture because it is a V and the others fall into place.

This necessary bird is everywhere in the continental United States. Yes, it does feed by scavenging on carrion whether it be fresh or decayed. They find food by smell and sight while soaring. And yes, we may cringe when we think of their bare red heads, they do serve a purpose on the food chain.

I have not seen them come or go from their communal nightly roosts. Yet, we have seen groups of them circling over head as they stay aloft using the warm air and updrafts to stay aloft. When thermals of warm air are no longer available, and they need to flap, they stop flying and land.

Although we normally see crows and ravens at road kill, there was a time in Lawrence, that Eldon, one of the technicians was coming back from a run and the vultures were sitting on the road having dinner. Eldon did not slow down and one of the buzzards did not light to fly and he hit it. Feathers in a dented grill was evidence enough for the owner to ask what happened. Eldon simple said, "Grandpa didn't get out of the way."
Who ate Grandpa?



Sunday, October 4, 2009

BIRDS Pelicans

Old Trunks isn't certain why she admires this species so much, perhaps it is the way they feed in small groups and 'round up' the fish. Maybe it is because when they do scoop up the fish in their bill, it expands, drains out the water and leaves the nourishment for them to swallow. OR is it because when the soar on a sunny day with a pure blue sky, they are graceful.

Leech Lake has had a good amount of pelicans the last couple of years. They may be part of the group that left their young behind to die on another lake. Who would know just why that happens? No one seems to really have a true idea.

During breeding season the males get an out growth on their beak, called a Keel-like growth. We called it a nob and called all the males Bob. It takes a long time for the nob to disappear!

When groups come in to land, they are often in a line, landing one right after another as if they each know the space they will need. Some are solo later in the year and seem to float about without moving.

They lay their eggs on a mat or raft of weeds/reeds in shallow water. So shallow, in fact that we have never seen a baby pelican. I wonder if they are fuzzy and cute? Well, they are so ugly only a mother could love them!

We have been close enough to see juveniles hanging out on rocks with the adults, sea gulls, and cormorants. We have heard the young grunt. We don't know how old they are because they keep their gray bill and throat pouch for three or more years.