Sturgeon Tagging Michael J.Cooney
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I’m sending photos taken at Waverly Beach sturgeon tagging station on Feb. 21, 2013. In the photos are Robert “DNR Bob” Olynyk, Fishery Technician from the Oshkosh Office, and fisherman Leonard Buksyk, Menasha. The fish weighed 45 pounds and was 63 inches long.
Driving on Wisconsin Hwy 33 between LaValle and Wonewoc is always a pleasure. The Baraboo River water chuckles its way over the stony bottom more or less southeast on one side while determined evergreen trees clinging to the craggy bluffs form a barrier to farming on the other side. A few small farms find land enough to provide feed for a herd of dairy cattle. In late May my sales duties took me there.
Attended by industrious bumblebees, the wild flowers bloomed in many colors on the slopes and roadsides. I admired them, feeling quite at peace with life in general. Suddenly a big bumblebee tumbled onto the windshield wipers. Righting himself, he prepared for take-off. Crouched, head down, legs braced, shoulders flexing, he looked like a winged bulldog in a yellow and black striped t-shirt preparing for the chase. Propelled by his stubby wings, he cast himself forward, only to be thrown back by the turbulent air in front of him.
My foot was on the brake pedal and I chuckled as I watched his recovery and preparation for the next attempt. After checking the air with his antennae, he gathered all of his mighty little power, revved up the tempo of his wings, and launched himself again. Same result. He tried again, this time seeming a bit dazed as he tumbled against the windshield. My foot pressed the brake pedal harder. The turbulence quieted. Once more he prepared for takeoff. This time he shot up into the air and off to a landing on the nearest buttercup. I drove on, just a little bit more pleased with the day and all things in it.
QUELL SQUIRREL PILFERING
I read with interest the letter from Bruce Solberg (“Maple sap a squirrel delicacy,” Readers Write, April 2013) . We have been tapping our maple trees at a hobby level for over fifty years. This year, for the first time, squirrels bit through and emptied thirteen of our sixteen bags. We knew that they were the culprits because of the tracks. We replaced the bags, and sprayed them with “Squirrel Away,” but the next day the bags were again chewed and drained, so we then smeared the bags with a mixture of Vaseline, red pepper and chili powder. This did the trick and we have had an adequate season.
It didn’t take Sam Vils of rural Mazomanie long to score a big tom when he shot this bird on opening day of the 2013 youth turkey hunt. Sam’s father Tom Vils called the big bird in off of the roost and Sam did the rest with one shot from his 12-gauge Mossberg Bantam. The bird weighed 23 pounds, had a 10-inch beard and 1-inch spurs. Sam is 11 years old and attends Sauk Prairie schools. This was Sam’s second turkey season as he bagged a 25-pound bird last year also with one shot from his trusty Mossberg.
I had quite a surprise during my annual bird house cleaning. As I reached in to remove a sparrow nest, something wiggled and out jumped a flying squirrel! I quickly replaced the bird house roof as the squirrel watched from a nearby tree. After allowing us to take some awesome photos, it glided back to the bird house and went inside.
WHICH BLUE HERON?
We read the article ("A true 'fisherman,' " April 2013) with memories of watching the same thing many times. We are fortunate to live across from the Mead Wildlife Area in Wood and Marathon counties where we get to see herons all the time in the summer. However, the great blue heron does not travel to our lovely state. The heron pictured in this article is the tri-colored heron which is quite common in these parts. We recently returned from a trip to the J.R."Ding" Darling Nature Preserve in Sanibel Island, Florida, where we saw these two breeds alongside one another. The great blue heron is pictured here.
We asked our bird expert, Andy Paulios, to help mediate this disagreement. Andy confirmed that the bird pictured in our April issue is indeed a great blue heron, a common resident and migrant to all parts of Wisconsin. He identified the bird in your photo as a little blue heron.
Recently, I was watching a robin with nesting material on my back deck to see where it was building a nest. I have cedar bushes around my deck and all at once one of the bushes near the robin started to shake. I figured that a cat or some other predator was after the robin. To my surprise, a cottontail rabbit popped out on top of the bush. I have included several pictures I took of the event as I had never seen a rabbit climb a bush.
While picking up trash near Gibraltar Rock in Lodi, my husband and I came across a flock of these tiny birds. They were kind enough to remain in the area while I went home to pick up my camera to take photos. We have never seen this bird in our area before and enjoyed our time with them.
GERMANN ROAD FIRE
On Saturday, May 18, 2013, just two days after the Germann Road Fire was extinguished, I was at our lake home on the Eau Claire Lakes chain and decided to check out the area of the fire. There were three areas regarding this fire that I was amazed with. First off, I was amazed at how the fire impacted the different types of forest that were in its path. Most of the areas of the pine plantings were devastated while at the same time many of the hardwoods areas appeared to have suffered significantly less damage and it hopefully will come back from this fire very soon. Secondly, I was amazed at the efforts of the many firefighters who fought this fire. While it is very unfortunate for those that lost their homes and other structures and I sympathize with them for their loss, the firefighters did an outstanding job fighting this fire. It is hard to imagine how they saved as many structures as they did. You can see many areas that the fire burned intensely around the entire perimeter of the home but the home appears to have minor to no damage. We should all be thankful for the work that these men and women do on a daily basis. The final area that I was amazed with is how resilient nature itself is. Less than 48 hours after the fire ravaged through these areas I noticed green sprouts shooting up through the black charred forest floor. You can see the white tops of germinating ferns scattered over the ground. Wildlife did not disappear as I saw many birds, a black squirrel and several deer in the middle of this charred area.
I have attached a picture that I took of a deer in the middle of this burned area. Overall this fire caused tremendous damage to a large area and many people suffered loss of some of their property but there were no casualties, it brought out the best in our emergency preparedness personnel and reminded us that while the land is scarred now, the future is bright for the flora and fauna in this area.
CELEBRATED MAUSTON VISITOR
I was wondering if you would have any use for a few pictures (static and flight) of the great grey owl that was in the Mauston area this year?
LAKE ONALASKA PELICAN
I have attached some nice photos I took of a great grey owl (the Mauston bird), great horned owl(s) from Goose Island County Campground (La Crosse area) and a pelican (Lake Onalaska). Are these of interest to you?