Friday, September 27, 2013

Fake Buffaloes

I really thought I had them this time. I was at the place where the buffaloes(bison) live. You can see down into their huge home from a few places on the road and a nice viewing area inside the fence. I saw the large animals down there milling around. I thought I had them.

The only problem was that the supposed buffaloes were very far away. They almost looked like dots on the faraway grass. I couold just make out that they were big four-legged creatures. What else could they be?

I had to zoom all the way in with my camera to get these pictures. I couldn't see with my own eyes exactly what kind of creatures I was looking at. They were in the bison enclosure so they must be buffaloes, right?

Nope! They were plain old everyday cows. Moo! I wasn't able to find out until I got home and looked at the pictures on my computer. I have no idea why they were down there, but I feel as if I've been tricked. These evil cows pretended to be buffaloes, and I want answers! I'll probably never get them.

So my buffalo hunt continues. I'll still occasionally go back to this same place to look for them because I've been told they are there. So one of these days those cows will really be buffaloes. But this isn't the only place I'll be looking.

I have actually already found buffaloes at another place. I didn't get pictures because there was a big fence in the way. It was pointless to get pictures of the fence. But they don't always keep them behind that fence. I'll keep going back there until I can get some clear shots. So, good news! I'll talk to you later.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Barnyard Birds

These chickens may not be as fun as wild turkeys or rainbows, but I like them because they were running around loose. Sure that's kind of common, but they were also kind of little. There are some ducks in there too, but it's kind of hard to see in these pictures.

I don't often see little chickens like these. Maybe they are a particular kind of chicken. I don't know, I don't know that much about chickens. I just saw them and decided I had to stop and take a couple of pictures.

I took these pictures with my smartphone camera so I couldn't really zoom in too much. It was the whole scene I wanted to get anyway. The birds saw me and decided to try to run and hide in the cornfield off to the left. The ducks made it there first. The chickens weren't so fast.

I didn't even bother to get out of my truck to get these pictures. That may seem kind of lazy, but I think it makes me kind of versatile. I can get my pictures quick and then zoom on to the next mini adventure. I won't always do it like this, but it's a good option. Okay, I'll talk to you later.

Monday, September 23, 2013

I Got Pictures Of A Rainbow

Something I've been telling myself for a long time is to keep a camera with me at all times. The only problem with that is my camera isn't exactly small. It's kind of hard to lug it around unless I specifically intend to use it.

On this particular trip where I got these pictures of a rainbow I didn't have my main camera with me. I was lucky enough to have my new smartphone with me though. I just bought a new Nokia Lumia 521 Windows Phone. I got it because it was very cheap and it syncs up very nicely with Windows 8.

I don't use a phone much but I wanted this thing for the computer. The phone was a nice bonus. It's not the best smartphone camera because this one is Nokia's lower end model. But Nokia is known for its cameras so this one works pretty well anyway.

The whole point is that I'm extremely happy with my new toy and now I'll have a camera with me wherever I go. Now I shouldn't miss a golden opportunity that presents itself, such as this rainbow.

As far as thew rainbow goes, I couldn't believe I had the chance to get it. I never thought I'd get any rainbow pictures. They are so rare and surprising. This one was so strong in the sky though that nobody could have missed it.

The rainbow actually showed up in three different places. There were two ends and what looked like maybe a reflection. And it lasted for maybe fifteen minutes. This last picture was taken several miles away from the first two.

I got to watch the rainbow finally fading away into nothing. It's just amazing that the conditions were just right enough for it to appear. I always think that when I see one. I never saw one until I was an adult. By that time I never thought I would. I'm glad I was wrong. I'll talk to you later.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Super Deluxe Turkey Post

I promised you something that I've never had before. I promised you something that I've been searching for and hunting and trying so hard to get. What it turned out to be was just a turkey!

But wait! That's not quite as bad as it might sound. I really have been trying to get some pictures of turkeys. I only rarely saw them back near where I lived in Michigan, but they're common around here where I live in Iowa.

I've been seeing turkeys around here all the time, except when I had my camera with me. I kept telling myself that one day I'd get them, and that day has finally arrived. I got a nice little flock of them for you too, and I even have a short video.

And now I have a new episode of Rat TV. You get to see these wild turkeys in action, walking around doing those kinds of things that turkeys do. Sure you'll never get these 49 seconds back again, but you'll get to see turkeys!

This picture above was what I first saw when I found the turkeys. They were just milling around minding their own business until I came along. I'm glad they didn't seem to mind that I was there taking pictures of them.

I was able to move around and get a little bit closer to them because they seemed oblivious to my presence. I'm not really sure how smart turkeys are, but they sure do taste good. I didn't really get the chance to find out with these particular birds though. At least I got some pictures.

I really can't describe how happy I really was to get these pictures. I have wanted some pictures of turkeys for a long time now. I've been hunting them a lot longer than I've been hunting the buffaloes. I can't tell you how many times I've had to stop my car to let some turkeys cross the street, and I didn't have my camera.

Now I have in my next post another thing I've been watching for but never have gotten until now. I've only seen these things a few times in my life so I'm glad I'll be able to bring you some pictures. This is something you really have to get lucky to get a picture of it. And you have to just happen to have a camera with you. Watch for my next post to see what it is. Talk to you later.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Broken Kettle Grasslands

I decided to bring you some scenes of the Broken Kettle Grasslands in the Loess Hills near where I live. There is some beautiful scenery around here. I've been wanting to share some of this with you since I moved here, but every time I try something goes wrong.

Sometimes it gets overcast on the days I choose to go out. Sometimes it's the wrong time of the year to show you what I want. And sometimes I just take bad pictures. This time I think they came out pretty good, and the pictures represent what I see pretty well.

I took these pictures while I was out looking for buffaloes. They are supposed to live on the land that these pictures show. This time I thought I had them, but the animals I saw turned out to be cows. I don't know what they were doing down there where the buffaloes live, but there they were.

Even though I missed what I was really after, I was still able to get these pictures for you. I took them in between the times I was looking down there for buffaloes. Most of the time I wasn't thinking about getting any scenery pictures so I forgot to take more from other places.

Even though I didn't find any buffaloes, I was able to find some other animals that I've been looking for. I'll reveal just what those were in my very next post. I even have a video! I've never had pictures of this kind of animal before. I can't wait to share them! I'll talk to you later.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Black And White Birds

I tried and I tried, but I never could find out the identity of these birds. They're just simple little black and white birds, but I can't even find anything even similar. I feel like I should know what they are though. I could swear I've seen them before. But I still really have no clue.

I took these pictures at Five Ridge Prairie nature preserve, the subject of my last post. These birds were flying back and forth and perching on these bare branches, making it easy to get a few pictures. I actually got fifty five pictures of them all together. These are my favorites.

With the camera I have now I can get pictures like the one above, where I capture a bird landing on a branch. My last camera wasn't fast enough to do anything like that. I'd try to take a picture and the camera would hesitate until the moment was lost.

Now I can take multiple pictures with the blink of an eye. Birds like these don't stand a chance against me and my camera. I can get several pictures before they know I'm even there. Sure I've gotten a few bad pictures, but there are far more good ones than bad.

The only real problem now is identifying the birds I catch on camera. I thought this one was going to be easy. I guess that idea was wrong. Oh well, I still got the pictures. And I got to go outside and enjoy nature quite a bit.

You wouldn't believe how much you can see by just one or two little trips out to nature. These birds weren't the only things I got to see while I was out there. There were all sorts of other animals there too. I'll share some of them in other posts. There are flowers and other plants. So many things.

I've seen bigger animals than these birds. They'll be coming in future posts. I've also missed a few animals that I was looking for. I thought I was so close a few times, but I just couldn't catch up to any buffaloes. My hunt goes on. I'll talk to you later.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Five Ridge Prairie

I went to Five Ridge Prairie nature preserve the other day. I've been there many times now, and it has become my favorite nature park around here. But I have to tell you that it wasn't an easy place to find.

This park is at the end of a long and hilly dirt road that is kind of hidden when you're on the main highway. It took me about six months to find this place. I drove by it many times but I never could find that dirt road.

Finally I found it, and it's now one of my favorite places to visit. I don't come to this place nearly as much as I want, but I hope to change that now that I'm a bit more mobile than I was. I forget how much I love these kind of places until I finally get back to them.

That long absence can sometimes be a problem too. Five Ridge Prairie is not the easiest place to hike. It's all hills and valleys. It's pretty easy getting in there a ways, but getting out is kind of hard. I have to say it's all worht it though because the place is beautiful.

When I don't go to these places for a long time I can get kind of out of shape to be doing this stuff. I knew that would be a problem this time, but I hoped to pace myself a bit so I could minimize the pain. I've learned that no amount of pacing really helps all that much here.

Going in is mostly downhill at the beginning. And then you get to this beautiful place where there are all sorts of birds and other wildlife. You don't always see them because there are plenty of places to hide, but they're out there.

I decided before I even got there that I wasn't going to go very far into this section because I knew I'd wear myself out while I was still inside this huge place. But while I was in there I learned that I was more out of shape than I had hoped.

After a short rest I turned and began to maqke my way back out of the park. It was okay at first, but I was already tiring out much too fast. With my dog Isabella wanting to pull her leash in every direction at once while she explored, it wasn't an easy journey.

As we got to that hill we had to climb to get out of there, I was already to tired to really keep going. Still, I had to get out of there somehow, so I kept right on going. The farther I went up that hill the more I ran out of breath. Isabella wasn't doing very well either, so I had to stop and rest several times.

I did finally make it out of there, even though I thought I was going to die trying. I gave Isabella a nice big drink of water, which she needed badly. The good thing is that I got all of these pictures and some other good stuff. And now that I've made the journey once, I'll be going back as soon as I can.

I'll talk to you later.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Turkey Vulture

I sometimes let time get away from me. I'm writing this post very late in the night. I usually write kind of late because it's nice and quiet then, but this is kind of pushing it. I say all this just because it's the first thought in my mind when I started the post.

Now that I got that out of the way I can talk about the pictures I have in my post today. On my newest little adventure I spotted this turkey vulture flying close by overhead. I thought it was a hawk when I saw it because it looked so small.

Hawks aren't usually very small for birds either, but many of them are smaller than turkey vultures. Most turkey vultures I've seen are pretty big. This one seemed quite a bit smaller than usual, but then I also saw another one that was about the same size.

This area is just full of these turkey vultures. I see them just about everywhere. I've also seen hawks here and there, but maybe some of them were turkey vultures. I'll have to take a closer look next time I see a hawk flying around. It's not easy sometimes.

I'm sure there is way to tell thew difference by looking at the wing shape or something like that, but I don't know how to do that quite yet. I really do think that if I keep watching I'll learn how to do that at some point.

I sometimes wonder what these birds are doing when I see them circling above. I'm sure they're just either looking for food or they've spotted some food on the ground. I've often seen them on the road picking at a dead animal, their preferred meal.

I saw this one flying around near the entrance to a huge nature park. I had just gotten out of my truck and I was on my way into the park. I'll tell the story of that little adventure in my next post. For now I was just glad that my camera focused so well on this bird. Talk to you later.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Broken Kettle Flowers

I sometimes forget that simple things can be some of the most enjoyable things. I've been driving by Broken Kettle Grasslands a lot, and I've been seeing that it's just full of these yellow flowers. I never really paid much attention to them until now.

Broken Kettle Grasslands is a huge place. It's the largest open prairie in the Midwest. There are wild buffaloes in there. The only problem is that it's closed off to the public most of the time. This place is kept specifically to preserve the area.

There are a few places where you can go to observe it from the outside, but you can't really go in. I've been to a place where I've seen evidence of the buffaloes, but they weren't there at the time. So I'm still searching for them.

You can see the flowers in the picture above. It's the closest I could get because the fence in the picture is electrified. It's there to keep the wild animals in and safe, and to keep humans out. But this close is all I really needed to be.

What attracted me was this field of yellow. I didn't need to get close enough to find out the identity of the flowers. I know some of them are sunflowers and some of them are goldenrod. There is a third kind that I don't know about though.

That third kind will probably remain a mystery. Seeing that field of yellow all the time is the beauty of this place. Individual details are irrelevant. The picture really doesn't do this place justice. I wish I could have done better. Oh well.

I'm still looking for the identity of the birds I mentioned before. I'll share them as soon as I have it. I'll talk to you later.

Friday, September 6, 2013

A Little Scenery

Even though there are sunflowers in the foreground of these pictures, that's not really what this post or the pictures are about. I initially was just taking pictures of more sunflowers, but then I realized that I just thought this was a beautiful scene.

I was kind of testing out the zoom on the camera. What you see in the pictures was pretty far away and up a hill from me. These are some of the first real nature pictures I've had the chance to take with my new camera. I was on a short little adventure to one of my favorite nature parks.

I never walked any of the trails yet, but I plan to in the next few days. I was just there on my hunt for more sunflowers. I guess this is kind of a post about sunflowers. I think they're just incidental though. When I began taking the picture I realized what a nice little scene it made so I took a few pictures of it.

What I liked about this picture is the yellow flowers all around - not all sunflowers - and the misty quality to the sky in the background. The two trees seemed to line everything up in a pleasant way. I don't mean to go on and on as if this is the most beautiful scene I've ever seen. It's just kind of nice. I thought it was worth doing this post about it.

The two pictures look almost identical, but there is one important difference. The exposure between the two is different. You can see that the first one is brighter than the second. That was purely by accident. I was slowly raising the camera as I took the pictures. It was just my unsteady hand. I like the first one a little better.

I have some pictures of birds coming up, but I want to find out what kind they are before I share them with you. The new camera performed excellently with the pictures. I usually get a lot of out of focus pictures, but I got none this time.I hope to bring that to you soon. Talk to you later.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Fort Brule Monument

 I came upon this historical site completely by accident. I've driven by this place countless times without ever noticing that it was there. I was out on another buffalo hunt and I just happened to pick this place to turn around.

Needless to say, I never found the buffaloes I was looking for. I thought I would find them near this place, but they just weren't on the road I thought they would be. In fact, nothing there looked at all familiar, so I think I got the location completely wrong.

I guess it was just complete luck that I found this place. It's called the Fort Brule Monument. There are actually little historical sites all over the place around here, but I haven't seen any quite as interesting as this one.

This stone was erected to mark the site of Fort Brule. Fort Brule was, as you might have guessed, a fort that was erected by soldiers and settlers in 1862 as protection against hostile Indians. It didn't really last very long, as it was abandoned in 1868.

The important part  here is that this isa the site of an actual fort. I didn't know there were any forts around here. This was news to me when I found it by the roadside. It's always fun to come across a piece of actual history like this.

If you click on the picture above you can read as much of the story as I know now. I'm not sure there was much more to the story than what you can read here because the fort lasted only just a short time. Even though it was just a short time though, the fort was a piece of history that not many people remember now.

Now this place is just a lonely old stone monument that sites by the side of the road waiting for someone like me to just happen along while out on another little adventure. It's kind of sad in a way. Just think of how many other places like this that must exist throughout the country. They're all just waiting and hoping to be rediscovered.

I'm glad I was one of the people who happened by this little monument. Most people will never share it with the rest of the world. Now that more people know about it, maybe it's not quite so lost to time. This is one place that will be remembered as long as The Everyday Adventurer exists. I'll talk to you later.

Monday, September 2, 2013


I was almost too late to get these pictures of these wild sunflowers. I've been seeing these plants on the sides of the roads that I've been traveling for the past couple of weeks. I kept telling myself that I was going to get my camera and stop to get some pictures. I kept saying it, but I wasn't doing it.

Well I finally did it! Some of the flowers have already lost their petals though. There was one huge field of them that I planned on showing, but many of the flowers were now bare. Luckily these flowers are growing everywhere around here.

The pictures I have today are from three different locations. I went all over to get these because I was determined to get lots of good pictures. I picked the three I like best, and here they are. I may bring out some of the others at some later time, but I like these right now.

One thing this little adventure reminded me was that I haven't been doing things like this enough. I've been concentrating so much on my bigger trips that I forgot to just drive around the countryside taking pictures. I also kept putting off visiting a few of the nature parks.

So now I plan on visiting the nearest nature park so I can get out and stretch my legs a bit on the trails. I sometimes forget that I always feel so much better after I've hiked a good long nature trail for a day. The anticipation of getting back to that right now is great.

I'm going to be seeing more flowers like these and even some other kinds. I hope to see some good wildlife along the way too. I'm not counting on too much wildlife though because there are more places for animals to hide here than in the city.

Just from my little adventure from these pictures and my new little plans, I am hoping that my writing gets a little better because I am more excited than I have been. I forget how much I enjoy nature when I am away from it. The big places are fun, but nature is what I really like.

Just looking at these pictures of sunflowers makes me excited for the future. I was out getting closeup pictures right there in the weeds. It can't get much better than that. I'm going to go to bed tonight with visions of these flowers floating around in my head. I'll talk to you later.