Archive for March, 2009

31
Mar
09

Eagle’s Roost

86. Environmental Portrait

86. Environmental Portrait

The Bald Eagles appear to be alive and well. A far cry from their story only a few decades ago, when America’s symbolic bird was on the Endangered Species list.

Last month, I went to observe the eagles wintering along the Mississippi River. They tend to hang out around the locks and dams which have areas of open water, even during the winter’s coldest months. And open water, to an eagle, indicates the diner in open.

The eagles are quite active – swooping along the river, and doing aerial dives into the water, successful in their fishing attempts.  I must have seen a dozen birds in the hour I was there.

I spoke to a member of the Army Corps of Engineers who oversees the dam, and also to a member of the local Audubon Society who keeps his eyes on the eagles. They both told me they’ve been doing eagle counts since the 1970s. Thirty years ago, in a counting trip from one dam to the next,  a span of less than 20 miles, they saw a total of one Bald Eagle. This year, same span, same time of year, and they reported seeing more than 200.

That’s my environmental portrait.

30
Mar
09

Still Stuck in Winter

307. Stuck

307. Stuck

With stands of snowdrifts still in my backyard, Spring appears to be on hold. No flowers, only the barest hint of green, but lots of brown.

Yes, still stuck in Winter!

29
Mar
09

Dawn in March

306. Stripes

306. Stripes

The sunrise came through  stripes of clouds on the late March morning.

28
Mar
09

Spring Disguised as WInter

94. Fasteners

94. Fasteners

Not the day I’d choose to hang my wash outside to dry. Still feels, and looks, like winter.

27
Mar
09

Little Red House

5. Abandoned

5. Abandoned

A few mice and rabbit tracks are near this old house, so I suppose it’s not completely abandoned. But it sure has seen better days!

26
Mar
09

Reptile

129. Green

129. Green

This snake is on exhibit at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque, Iowa. Since I don’t seem to be able to scrounge anything outside that is green, I decided to check my archives. I found this green fella. He certainly qualifies for this theme. Definitely green!

25
Mar
09

From the Milkweed Plant

273. Seeds

273. Seeds

These seeds have managed to hang onto the pod throughout the winter instead of being blown about on an autumn gust of wind.

An interesting fact about milkweed seeds. During World War II, schoolchildren gathered these fluffy seeds by the sackful, and sent them to a collection center. There the fluff was stuffed into life preservers and aviator apparel. The seeds are naturally bouyant and, packed into garments, they kept many a man afloat in rough waters until help could arrive.

Hard to imagine that little bit of fluff could do such a mighty piece of work.