Out and About with Bob

Bob Lamb

Fishing is heating up, especially around Ol' Tom's boathouse.
Earlier this week, I took an hour or so to toss out one panfish pole with a slip bobber, tiny jig and chunk of night crawler near a brush pile.
It was one bite after another with an abundance of sunnies, bluegills and crappies. Within the hour I had a dozen nice-sized panfish for the grill. I could have caught ad more, but spent time time rigging my pole after losing my bobber and jig in the brush pile. That was the problem. I had to find the precise hula hoop-sized circle where the fish were congregated. If I missed the spot, I was tangled in the brush.
Nonetheless, 24 large fillets provided a great meal from the grill.
Meanwhile, deer continue to feed in the huge alfalfa/corn field near our condo in the valley. Most of their coats are changing from summer to fall and winter.
It's interesting watching the young bucks feeding together while the large-antlered monarch of the woods fed by himself away from the others.
A group of does and fawns usually feed at the other end of the field just before sunset.
A young spike buck stood in the middle of the road and froze as I rounded a curve and drove toward it before the deer dashed off into the marsh and creek bed.
Minnesota DNR conservation officer Tom Hemker, stationed in Winona, reports the Mississippi River to be in good shape and fishing to be very good.
DNR conservation officer Mitch Boyum in Rushford reports a busy weekend on the Root River. Good weather and decent water levels brought out many river users. Fishing was fair, but the tubing and kayaking was great, according to Boyum.
Until we meet, have a great day outdoors.

Jerry Davis

From Southern Wisconsin

A simple walk, hike or scout through a late summer woods reveals more than one might expect following a notable wet and warm July.         
Vegetation prevailed this summer. Head-high plants are common, even in dimly-lit forests. Still, day length is a primary dictator determining when deer coats change, fawns become brown without white dots, antler velvet begins to peal, bolete mushrooms, hen-of-the-woods fungal clumps and sulphur fungus brackets mature begging to be gathered.
Notable, too, are hitchhiking plant seeds and fruits. July set record warmth and stick tights, burdocks, beggar’s ticks and many more are beyond abundant and annoyingly common. Be prepared to spend time picking after hiking, combing pet hair, and seeing deer with tufts of cockleburs on their brows.
Ginseng berries (pictured) are brightening with some beginning to fall.
Hunting dogs have been trained to locate various animals and shed antlers. Why not morel mushrooms and wild ginseng, too, Wisconsin’s state herb?
Fall turkey season opens Sept. 14. In addition to one harvest authorization with a license purchase, bonus authorizations may be purchased, from a total of 14,000 permits available for zones 1 through 4. Cost is $10 and $15 for residents and nonresidents, respectively.
Turkey zones 1-5 close Jan. 2, 2020. Zones 6-7 close Nov. 22, the day before the gun-deer season opener.
Bonus antlerless deer harvest authorization sales began Aug. 19, for the Northern and Central Forest zones. Central Farmland (Zone 2) sales opened Aug. 20, as did the Southern Farmland (Zone 2).         
Starting Aug. 22, sale of all zones will continue. Cost is $12 (residents), $20 nonresidents and $5 for youth 11 years and younger.
Paper 2019 deer hunting regulations pamphlets will be available within a few days and are already printable from the DNR web site.             
Archery and crossbow, grouse (Zone A), rabbit (Northern Zone), crow, and squirrel seasons open Sept. 14, while pheasant, quail, Hungarian partridge, ruffed grouse (Zone B), and rabbit (Southern Zone) open Oct. 19.
Anticipate much more literature and forecast season information forthcoming during the next several weeks, as well as waterfowl regulations.
Several specialty seasons are close at hand, too, with wild ginseng digging permitted beginning Sept. 1, and lake sturgeon hook and line fishing opening on selected waters Sept. 7. Both ginseng and lake sturgeon seasons have additional gathering requirements, so educate carefully.
Autumn color changes have begun to appear. Look for these in splashes and dots as autumn blooms, colorful fruits, attractive stems, and early leaf transformations, some due to mild disease infections.
Because of the diverse habitats and vegetation types, colors in southern Wisconsin come as smaller patches than in the northern and eastern regions. Take advantage of color transformations in farm crops, marshlands and shorelines, too.
Autumn is generally a favorite season for many, in part due to the variety of changes and viewing opportunities. It only occurs once a year, so be sure to take advantage.

Contact Jerry Davis, a freelance writer, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 608-924-1112

Wild Birds Unlimited

Karen Perry from Wild Birds Unlimited

Everyone loves bluebirds, but did you know that the feathers themselves do not contain any blue pigment?
How could this be?
Feather coloration comes from light reflecting off two potential sources: pigments and feather structures (structural colors).
The red of a northern cardinal or yellow of a goldfinch comes from carotenoid pigments within their feathers. The birds get these pigments from fruits and seeds in their diet. Similarly, the black feathers of a crow or the brown of a cedar waxwing comes from melanin pigments in their feathers. Each pigment reflects the particular wavelengths of visible light (remember the ROYGBIV of the rainbow) that give them their respective color, while absorbing the other wavelengths of light. In other words, the color you see is the wavelengths of visible light (the ROYGBIV) reflected by the pigments in the feather.
But what about blue?
Well, there is no blue pigment within feathers. Rather, blue is a structural color created by the reflection of blue wavelengths of light off melanin granules and the tiny air spaces around them within the feather. As sunlight contacts a bluebird feather, the blue wavelengths of visible light are reflected off the feather by these tiny airspaces. Meanwhile, the other colors are absorbed. Your eyes see the reflected light and - Voila! - the feather appears blue! This also explains why a bluebird or blue jay will look grayish-brown in the shade.
You can demonstrate this at home using a blue jay feather you might find in your yard. Look at the top (outer) surface of feather in the sunlight and it will appear blue from the reflected blue wavelengths of light. Then go inside and hold the feather against a sunny window to backlight it. The sunlight is no longer reflecting off the top of the feather towards your eyes and it will appear grayish-brown from the melanin pigment!
As you can see we are always looking for ways to educate, so remember Wild Birds Unlimited for all your backyard bird feeding needs and questions!  If we don't know the answer we know how to find it.
Stop in and see us at Wild Birds Unlimited during the end of our WBU Bark Butter sale! 608-781-5088.
Happy Birding!
Karen Perry