Kids and Mentors Outdoors (KAMO)
As I left home this morning at about 10:30, a flock of about 20 snow buntings flew in kind of a circle around my car, like I have often seen. So the solitary bunting from yesterday found company! How did that happen? Is this an agreed upon meeting place? As Iris DeMent sings, I'll just let that mystery be.
On my evening stroll to the eagle nest, a single hen turkey ran through the corn field--again strange, w/o chicks, without a flock. Heard a pileated woodpecker, the big, redheaded one. No eagle at the nest, but crows flying by, high. Usually, chick or egg in the nest, there is always at least one eagle; another mystery.
Caught and killed a raccoon 2 days ago with fish skeleton as bait; this morning the cage was closed and on its side; there are at least 3 more coon around. Low prices, but will sell the hides. I'm trying to protect my summer corn crop. I've got a picture of a bobcat in the same area--that's why I'm using a cage trap.
On the way back from the eagle nest, I saw tufts of deer hair near deer tracks--Do they start losing their winter coat in March?
I am a member of KAMO Indianhead Chapter, those of us around Ladysmith WI. All of KAMO is working on how we can expand each chapter and add new chapters around Wisconsin. More on how we can do that next month, but I'd love to hear your ideas.
This evening at about 4 p.m. I decided to test my sprained ankle by hiking the half mile to the eagle nest--I thought I might have heard an eagle chick chirping earlier. On the road there, between open fields, I saw a single snow bunting, flashy black and white, robin sized bird. I have often seen flocks of about 20 in the same spot as they migrate north. As a flock, it is an impressive sight in the waning sunlight because their white wings are so shiny that it seems all you see are the wings as they do their synchronized performance. This one by itself seemed pretty lonely--is it lost? or waiting? It didn't seem injured.
With no leaves this time of year I stopped at the first good view of the eagle nest and put up my binoculars. Eagles often lay eggs in January but especially by the end of February, and I have seen them around. But the nest was empty. The chicks, if present, are too small to be visible during the first month, but I looked anyway. In about 2 minutes a beaautiful eagle swooped into the side of the nest, pecked around for 2 minutes and left. It was a warm day, still about 35 degrees F, so maybe mama eagle didn't need to keep chicks or eggs warm. Or maybe it's not egg laying time yet. I'll keep checking!
On the way back, the snow bunting was still there--why do they like that open field area? I read that they summer in the arctic.
Jim for the outdoors and KAMO
Picture from KAMO founder Mark Walters return Odyssey to Lake Onalaska. He brought a friend on this trip. Hard work and determination often times yields good luck - he camped on the ice for three days. You can catch the details of this and other adventures by going to "An Outdoorsman's Journal" on your browser.
Day two of Mark Walters trip to Lake Onalaska. Fishing has generally been slow as the oxygen is low in the water now. Mark's dog Fire loved the scraps of smoked fish that fell on the ice. Fish that were taken were stored in water filled crevice on the ice. Something that may be unique to this section of the river is that the pike, especially the large ones, feed in the darkness. One of his pike was taken at 1:00 A.M.
Coulee's sledding outing on YY on Saturday, February 10, 2018. 19 kids, 11 adults. Hill, play area, heated cabin, outhouse, fire pit, smoked trout from fishing outing at Genoa, marshmallows, chips, cheese curls. Frankfurters are the new official dog of our group and these were from St. Josephs Country Market. We extended our time for an hour because neither the kids nor the adults were ready to leave on this cold, but gorgeous day.
A group known as Friends of the Upper Mississippi FUM) is a support group for the local U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. FUM used to take kids out on local waters to introduce them to ice fishing. In early February that meant it was going to be cold and the fishing was often slow.
One year the Genoa Fish Hatchery, which is a part of UFWS, decided that they were going to do something about that. They began opening a trout pond for a public fishing event twice per year with a big heated tent (winter), food, and drink, volunteers and their staff running it. The FUM group supports it financially and with volunteers. The groups never looked back from that move and the pictures you see are the results.
Another important partnership is the one between U.W. - La Crosse student volunteers and KAMO. The students come along to fulfill volunteer hour requirements or just for a good time.This morning, two college students came along on the trip to enjoy and help. Quite honestly, they saved my bacon - I was the only mentor there. KAMO parents are always friendly and helpful and there was a couple of them there too.
Took a group of kids to the Genoa Fish Hatchery for their kids fishing day. The trout were biting and every kid got their limit of three. It was a blast. The two college student volunteers were instrumental in helping - they made our outing a great one.
What KAMO is in need of throughout the state is more volunteers.