Thursday, March 06, 2008


Today was the first day of a three-week journey, and there will postings as I proceed. I drove across Iowa today, stopping at a couple of familiar sites to see how they have changed since January.

When I stopped at Neal Smith NWR southeast of Des Moines a couple months ago, the roads were snow covered but very passable. Today they were a muddy mess and I turned around without completing the full loop. I saw only one elk (antlerless) off in the distance, but the bison herd was closer to the road and I got a few "environment" shots of them and the big cottonwoods. Click on the image for a larger version.

After that it was off to Lock and Dam 18 to see if any eagles remained. As I drove across southeast Iowa, I actually saw 3-4 eagles near Radar O'Reilly's home town (Ottumwa) and saw quite a few hawks along the way. As I approached the dam about an hour before sunset I thought at first all the birds flying around were seagulls, but closer examination revealed about 20 eagles mixed in, both flying and roosting.

Rather than trying to add to the batch I posted in January, I got out my new video camera and tried it out. My Canon ZR60 gave up the ghost after three years, so I replaced it with a cheap Panasonic PV GS90. I stuck with a standard definition videocam rather than HD not only because it's a lot cheaper but the HD cameras seem to top out at 10-12x optical zoom, which is sort of useless for distant wildlife. The Panasonic has a 42x optical zoom. The image stabilization and the zoom seem smoother than my old Canon, although it seems as though the plastic case couldn't be much thinner. So, another new toy. When I get home I might try to put together a couple minutes of video for the web.

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