Illinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
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Jeff Lampe

Jeff Lampe has been outdoor writer at the Journal Star in Peoria for 12 duck seasons. He lives in Elmwood with his wife Monica, sons Henry, Victor and Walter, and Llewellin setter Hawkeye. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., he is an avid fan of the Bills and still has mental scars from four consecutive Super Bowl losses. Outside of hunting and fishing, Lampe's main passion in Illinois was Class A boys basketball (which sadly no longer exists). Former publisher of the Class A Weekly newsletter, Lampe is a co-author of "100 Years of Madness" and "Classical Madness," both books focusing on prep basketball in Illinois.

Illinois Outdoors
 

Scattershooting

A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Open Blog Thursday

March 06, 2008 at 10:47 AM

I’ve actually been busy writing this week, getting ready for our March 30 Prairie State Outdoors fishing section, which will be distributed in papers all over Illinois including the Journal Star. Given all the grueling work involved, I need your help.

FROM Rich Klockenga of Edwards:

“Check out www.purplemartin.org on their Scout Report and you will see that the Purple Martins are already in the southern parts of Illinois. Last year my first martin arrived March 18. I have three gourd racks with 24 gourds each for a total of 72: 16 natural gourds and 8 Plastic gourds on each rack. Needless to say this is a pretty birdy place around here. Any effort you can make to get people aware and informed about Purple Martins and how to attract and care for them will be very much appreciated by me and other Martin enthusiasts.This Web site has great information about attracting Martins and also has a great forum that people can read and learn daily about Purple Martins. Last year I had 59 nesting pair and fledged 259 young Martins so there will be plenty of new Purple Martins for others to attract. I am ice fishing every day yet BUT I am also getting my Purple Martin colony ready for the 2008 season.”



FROM Roger Woodcock of Farmington:Illinois Outdoors

“I read the article two Sundays ago about all the red-tail hawks in our area. I have also seen quite a few. But I am actually writing to ask about the little hawks you see on power lines in almost the same numbers as the red tail. They are small birds (comparatively), about the size of a pigeon. Do you know the name of this bird?

“I counted 12 from Peoria to Farmington on Saturday and actually saw two sitting together in one spot. I’ve asked a couple of my friends and they don’t seem to know either. I want to call them a sparrow hawk, but doubt that’s right. They are not as magnificent as a red tail, but seems like kind of a neat bird anyway. I have seen them on occasion perched on a power line with a field mouse in one of their claws.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Those birds are American Kestrels. And yes they are pretty near, as shown by the photo of a female kestrel at right (taken by Chris Young of the Springfield State Journal-Register).

FROM David Prater of Lewistown:

“Before you put your guns away for the year, think about having them cleaned and serviced. Gunsmiths do not like last minute emergencies the week before the season opens. Any problems are fresh in your mind. Don’t wait until fall.”

FROM Herb Unkrich of Edwards:

“I think another reason you are seeing so many Red-tailed Hawks are the smorgasbords in the back yards of people who feed birds. A couple of weeks ago I had gone to town in the AM and when I looked out the window when I got home to see if I needed to go out and put some more feed for the birds, there were none in sight. All of a sudden a small bird dropped down in the bird bath that was 8 feet from the house and 10 feet from the sun porch.

“He got over to the edge of the bowl and was setting there when I caught some movement coming straight toward the house. It was a Red-tailed hawk. He grabbed that bird off the edge of the bowl in flight and u-turned in that 8 x 10 area. It all happen so fast!”

FROM Chris Ewalt of Farmington:

“This is just to let you know that a little over a month ago I saw something amazing. I drive to my business in Lewistown from Farmington and most of the time I take the blacktop between Canton and Cuba. I love to observe nature and on this day I noticed a deer near one of the large lakes kicking and trying to back track away from a bobcat. Just wanted to let you know that Fulton County has a bobcat.”

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