Wednesday, February 1st, 2023
Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Backyard and beyond: When less is more

Rick Voelker spied this unusual black woodchuck.

From the Backyard Val Cunningham

Many of nature’s creatures disappear before winter, either going to sleep in a den or migrating southward to find reliable food. As a result, the few birds and mammals that are winter regulars really hold our attention.

Jim Aarns’ trail cam photographed an amazing buck.

Jim Aarns describes himself as a retired hunter but still maintains his trail cams. He enjoyed finding a recent image of a handsome 12-point buck, taken right behind his house. “A week earlier, I got a photo of a 10-pointer and thought that had to be the biggest one out there, but I was wrong,” he wrote.

Cliff Price, a patient photographer, waited to take a perfect photo of trumpeter swans in a snowstorm. In Wisconsin, where Price lives, great effort has been made to restore this elegant species, once extirpated from the state.

A nearly all-white goldfinch showed up to feed at Rich Carlson’s finch feeders. “In all my years outdoors, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Carlson said of this bird that lacks its species’ normal coloration.

Also surprised by a variation in normal color was Rick Voelker, who’s seen plenty of brown woodchucks in his time. But he’d never seen a black one until one lumbered across his property in November.

Ashlee Valenti caught a bald eagle on takeoff.

Ashlee Valenti was watching the action along a shoreline and captured an adult bald eagle taking off for an hour or two of fishing. Carol Shaffer was entertained by the antics of the athletic chickadee visiting her feeder.

What is it with grouse and engine sounds? Ike Alexander was charmed by the grouse that walked into his sawmill this summer to spend a few days. “She was good company, but sometimes got in the way,” he noted.

A tardy bluebird triggered the shutter on Don Akin’s trail cam in late autumn, and Mike Mortensen’s trail cam caught a late brown thrasher at his heated birdbath.

After a long spell of overcast days, Darlene Herbster set out to find screech owls sunning themselves in roost holes, and caught a red-phase owl looking like a piece of bark.


Readers: Your images are always welcome here. Send prints to the surface mail address in the box, or send digital photo jpgs to Val Cunningham’s email. See contact info below.


CONTACT INFORMATION:

valwrites@comcast.netStan@naturesmart.com

Outdoor News:

Attn: Backyard and Beyond 9850 51st Ave. N., Suite 130 Plymouth, MN 55442-3271

 

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