Thursday, February 2, 2012


 27* this am.  and plenty of moisture in the air made for the right conditions to form fog over our area.  That meant a two hour delay for school this morning.  Jason had another post of a nice brown that he caught yesterday.   So that's all the motivation I needed to hit the trout stream before school. On the drive to the stream I came upon a large flock of about 40 turkeys that had come off to the bluffs to feed down in the valley along the stream.

When I down along the stream my eyes are always pealed looking for arrow heads, fossils and anything else that catches my eye.  This morning it was this crinoid stem, barchiopods and coral fossils.

Studying fossils helps us appreciate the history of life on Earth. They provide a link between geology and biology that is valuable to the study of global changes and how life adapts.
Crinoids lived anchored to the sea floor by flexible, rooted stems. Segments of the rounded
 stems are commonly found as fossils.Often called "sea lilies," crinoids are actually animals related to starfish. This 350 million-year-old (Mississippian) specimen from along the stream, which in life would filter sea water for food particles. 

Here's an update on the chunk of antler I found along the stream last Monday.  After I cleaned it up a little, it apperars to be peterfied.  From the looks of the large base it was from a large deer or my hope is it's from an Elk.  Scientists believe that elk first appeared on the North American continent approximately 120,000 years ago during the Ice Age when the glaciers exposed a land bridge between what is now Siberia and Alaska.
Elk were once common on the Iowa Prairie landscape.
Records from early settlers, identify that Elk were using most parts of the state of Iowa, with larger concentration in the western 2/3's of the state.
Are fore fathers found the Elk to be and excellent food source.
The last record of free roaming Elk in Iowa, was in 1871 and this chunk of antler may have come from an Elk that roamed these valleys hundreds or thousands of years before that. 

In his "Notes on the Mammals of Iowa," presented to the Boston Society of Natural History in 1871, J.A. Allen tells a fairly typical tale: "In the severer weather of winter they [elk] were often driven to seek shelter and food in the vicinity of the settlements. At such times the people not satisfied with killing enough for their present need, mercilessly engaged in an exterminating butchery. Rendered bold by their extremity, the elk were easily dispatched with such implements as axes and corn-knives, Now only a few linger where formerly thousands lived, and these are rapidly disappearing."

So, this morning I started out using a small fly, with no luck.  After I snapped my line I switched over to a small spinner, that wouldn't spin.  The end result was this small brown.
  Not a bad way to start the work day.

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