I woke up before sunrise this morning for some reason, still dark out, it looked cloudy, so I went back to bed, changed my mind and decided to head down to Cone Marsh in hopes of seeing the sunrise and some migrating waterfowl. It was a bit overcast and there was only a little open water far from road, but there were lots of geese (Canada, greater white-fronts and snow geese), a few trumpeter swans, pintails, scaup and wood ducks among other puddle ducks. Red-winged black birds and red-bellied woodpeckers were squawking in the trees and amidst all the racket the distinctive “loud, resonant, musical rattle” of sandhill cranes across the ice.
Cone Marsh, Muscatine County, Iowa.
Sunrise, geese, Cone Marsh.
Geese and ducks over ice, Cone Marsh.
“Snows & Blues”, snow and blue geese, Cone Marsh.
Skeins of snow geese, Cone Marsh.
Greater white-front geese (Anser albifrons), Cone Marsh.
Sandhill cranes, Cone Marsh, Muscatine Co., Iowa.
Sandhill crane and Canada geese, Cone Marsh.
I went duck-hunting last week with outdoor writer/photographer Joe Richard, arming myself with a Nikon, not a Remington 870 like Joe’s. Although I don’t hunt anymore I still love being on the marsh at sunrise with ducks in the air, and I was also interested in seeing just how cold a human being could get standing thigh-deep in water for four hours in Iowa in November (nothing a Thermos of hot tea and a hot shower afterwards didn’t cure). Although we were on the water, under the full moon, two hours before sunrise there were four boats ahead of us, so we got stuck a couple hundred yards off the flyway. We set up a burlap “hide” in the willows and Joe poled the boat away and hid it. Most of the ducks had been around for a while and seemed to know where the refuge boundary was but Joe coaxed a few into the decoys and shot a mallard and a green-wing teal for the freezer. All images ©2013 Mark Tade, all rights reserved, no usage without prior written permission.
Poling in under a full moon and stars two hours before sunrise.
After a week of low clouds & rain the sunrise today
My favorite magazine, a photo here from a trip I took with my sons and a friend to Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario in September, 2011.
Boundary Waters Journal, summer 2013
A young veteran (5 years in the Marines/3 tours of Iraq) is trying to get a start in farming–he is working 8 acres of his uncle’s land in NE Iowa. Here he stands in a 2-acre patch of winter wheat he will mill on-farm to market as locally grown, custom-milled wheat flour. He’s also growing a variety of heirloom vegetables including tomatoes and potatoes and a large, red-kerneled “Indian” corn that he will mill for flour and corn meal.
White-breasted nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)