Posts Tagged ‘Wisconsin

17
Apr
10

A Pleasant Spring

To those of you who have been regulars to this blog during its many re-creations, you know that Spring is my least favorite season.  The weather can be very fickle; rainy one day, bright and sunny the next and snowing the next.  This Spring has been different, with the weather being…well…summed up in one word – pleasant.

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So pleasant that yesterday, while taking pictures, I barely looked for deer which is my overriding preoccupation when I’m hiking.  Instead, I just took in the scenery unfolding as green takes over.

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While I photographed, other people moved around the park.  A couple jogged, and, according to the woman, “Getting ready for Summer.”  I understand.  With Spring’s fresh pleasant weather I’ve been more active also, and can feel the muscles tightening with every step I take.

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Later as I hiked along the edge of one of the large fields in the park, I could hear them approaching again.  They asked me about those large birds in the field and I answered they were Sandhill Cranes.  They continued on, chatting about their day, while I wondered how aware they were to the beauty around them.

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I had just taken some shots of an Osprey gliding overhead, when I noticed a Bald Eagle flying across the park in the distance behind me.  I know it isn’t a very good shot – the bird was just too far away.  But we just don’t see them in this part of Wisconsin that often.  It’s late in the year for it to be migrating, so I’m hoping it is a permanent resident.

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Toward the end of my hike a pair of Sandhill Cranes flew over.

20
Mar
10

Yesterday’s Hike, Today’s Weather

I went hiking for about four hours yesterday.  I went at eleven o’clock in the morning and got back home around three.  Not the best time of day for shooting photos, but since I knew what the weather had in store for us, I knew later in the day – around sunset – would be even worse.  So I went to the park knowing I would see geese and got a surprise visit from a Muskrat.  Then I hiked for several miles trying to find deer.  I had tracked several including a buck for about a mile, but somehow they figured out I was there and doubled back on me, escaping on my flank.  While the light won’t always be perfect, I know the deer can offer shots that I and maybe others will enjoy.  Like the shot below.

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Shortly after finding these deer yesterday, the wind changed direction and as sailors would say, the air freshened.  I have spent a good deal of my life in the outdoors, especially during the times I’ve lived in Wisconsin.  I know what a change in wind direction and freshening breezes mean.  Time to find shelter, or, as was the case yesterday, go home.  Like I said a few days ago, it is spring but we may still get a snowstorm or two.  When I woke this morning this is what my backyard looked like.

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This should melt today and with a little luck we’ll have some sunshine around sunset.

26
Feb
10

Welcome Sight

Wisconsin has had a lot of snow this past week, but it melted almost as fast as it hit the ground.  Now, ice has begun to melt, revealing this ice-covered stream.

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17
Jan
10

Sauk City: Bald Eagle in Flight

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Eagles have returned to Sauk City, Wisconsin.  The weather on Saturday, being overcast and foggy, didn’t give me the best lighting, but I still managed to get some nice shots to share with you this week.  Enjoy.

20
Apr
09

On This Day, April 20: Hearst’s War

April 20, 1898

McKinley asks for declaration of war with Spain

President William McKinley asks Congress to declare war on Spain on this day in 1898.

In 1895, Cuba, located less than 100 miles south of the United States, attempted to overthrow Spanish colonial rule. The rebels received financial assistance from private U.S. interests and used America as a base of operations from which to attack. The Spanish military responded with brutal force; approximately 100,000 Cuban civilians died in wretched conditions within Spanish concentration camps between 1895 and 1898. McKinley originally tried to avoid an armed conflict with Spain, but the American media, led by newspaper baron Randolph Hearst, lambasted McKinley as “weak” and whipped up popular sentiment for a war to give Cubans their independence.

On February 17, 1898, the battleship USS Maine, moored in Havana’s harbor, sank after being rocked by two explosions; 252 men onboard were killed. Hawks in the media and within the government immediately blamed Spain, and President McKinley, abandoning his hopes for neutrality in the Cuban-Spanish conflict, bowed to Congressional calls for war. (It was later discovered that the explosion was caused by the spontaneous ignition of faulty ammunitions onboard the Maine.)

Swift, successful naval battles in the Philippines and the army’s capture of Santiago and Puerto Rico, led by future President Theodore Roosevelt and his band of “Rough Riders,” ended what became known as the Spanish-American War in four months with relatively few casualties. The quick success boosted American confidence, leading to further intervention in foreign affairs in an attempt to liberate what were, in the eyes of the U.S. government, at least, oppressed nations yearning for democracy and independence. Although contemporaries of McKinley and Roosevelt called it a “splendid little war,” the Spanish-American War is now viewed by most historians as a war of American imperialism.

“McKinley asks for declaration of war with Spain,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=501 [accessed Apr 20, 2009]

On This Day

1139 – The Second Lateran Council opened in Rome.

1689 – The siege of Londonderry began. Supporters of James II attacked the city.

1769 – Ottawa Chief Pontiac was murdered by an Illinois Indian in Cahokia.

1775 – The British began the siege of Boston.

1792 – France declared war on Austria, Prussia, and Sardinia. It was the start of the French Revolutionary wars.

1809 – Napoleon defeated Austria at Battle of Abensberg, Bavaria.

1836 – The U.S. territory of Wisconsin was created by the U.S. Congress.

1902 – Scientists Marie and Pierre Curie isolated the radioactive element radium.

1945 – Soviet troops began their attack on Berlin.

1962 – The New Orleans Citizens’ Council offered a free one-way ride for blacks to move to northern states.

1967 – U.S. planes bombed Haiphong for first time during the Vietnam War.

1972 – The manned lunar module from Apollo 16 landed on the moon.

1978 – The Korean Airliner 007 was shot down while in Russian airspace.

1988 – The U.S. Air Forces’ Stealth (B-2 bomber) was officially unveiled.

1999 – 13 people were killed at Columbine High School in Littleton, CO, when two teenagers opened fire on them with shotguns and pipebombs. The two gunmen then killed themselves.

April 20, 1971

“Fragging” on the rise in U.S. units

The Pentagon releases figures confirming that fragging incidents are on the rise. In 1970, 209 such incidents caused the deaths of 34 men; in 1969, 96 such incidents cost 34 men their lives. Fragging was a slang term used to describe U.S. military personnel tossing of fragmentation hand grenades (hence the term “fragging”) usually into sleeping areas to murder fellow soldiers. It was usually directed primarily against unit leaders, officers, and noncommissioned officers.

Fragging was rare in the early days of U.S. involvement in ground combat, but it became increasingly common as the rapid turnover caused by the one-year rotation policy weakened unit cohesion. With leadership and morale already declining in the face of repetitive Vietnam tours, the withdrawal of public support led to soldiers questioning their purpose on the battlefield. The situation worsened with the gradual U.S. troop withdrawal that began in 1969. As some troops were withdrawn, discipline and motivation declined as many remaining soldiers began to question why they had to continue fighting.

Fragging incidents in combat were usually attempts to remove leaders perceived to be incompetent and a threat to survival. Most fragging incidents, however, occurred in rear-echelon units and were committed by soldiers on drugs or because unit leaders were enforcing anti-drug policies. Unit leaders who were perceived to be too stringent in the enforcement of discipline or regulations sometimes received warnings via a fragmentation grenade, with the safety pin left on, but with their name painted on it left on their bunk, or a smoke grenade discharged under their bunk. Most understood the message, and intimidation through threat of fragging far exceeded actual incidents.

“”Fragging” on the rise in U.S. units,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1796 [accessed Apr 20, 2009]

28
Jan
09

Eagles in Flight

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27
Jan
09

Perched Eagles

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Having read the flyer posted by Ferry Bluff Eagle Council I had parked my car Friday morning in the VFW Park, hoping to get some Eagle shots.  I spotted this pair perched in a tree about a half mile from where I had parked.  So I decided to take some pictures.

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When they suddenly flew off their perch I thought I was going to get a chance to shoot a pair of Eagles flying together as they passed my car.  What happened next was totally unexpected.

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I had thought the Eagles were playing and that they were flying upriver toward me, but from this picture you can see they aren’t looking upriver to where they’re going to fly.  They’re looking down at the river.

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They then both swoop down onto the river and in this picture the object of their desires can easily be seen.  I’m not sure what kind of duck it is, but there were a lot of Common Mergansers in the area.

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I don’t know if the force of the attacking Eagle knocked the duck into the water or if in one last desperate attempt to survive the duck dove into the water  — the result is the same, Splash one duck.

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They circled around the area where the duck entered the water.

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They even seemed prepared to scoop something out of the water.

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The duck didn’t reemerge and after circling for a few minutes.

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They both flew off…downstream.

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