Illinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
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Jeff Lampe
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

Illinois hunting and fishing

June 4: Picture of the Day

June 04, 2010 at 09:10 AM

After two straight days of less-than-stellar photos, I woke with a plan and left home in search of meadowlarks, baby rabbits or a picturesque unmowed ditch.

Turns out I was able to find all three elements in the same place, plus the bonus bobwhite above. No coincidence that. As I stopped to take pictures of the grassy ditch along a Peoria County gravel road, a quail whistled in the distance. That’s not unusual, since we have a decent population around Elmwood. Seeing those whistling bobwhites is another matter, though. Just doesn’t happen very often when you have a camera in hand and need a picture. So I’m very thankful to this fellow for popping up onto a gate and letting me take a few pictures before we flew off into a corn field nearby.

I’m also glad to see all the shaggy ditches around. Sadly, they won’t last for long. The last of the beans are in for most farmers and the next phase of agriculture around here is mowing. That will spell an end to many bobwhites, baby rabbits and other critters. And why? Don’t say weed control. Farm fields are sprayed with enough chemicals to keep the weeds under control. And spot-spraying noxious weeds that might crop up would take less time than all the mowing. It would save lots of critters, too.

Nope. The real reason for mowing is boredom and the misplaced idea that a clean-shaven ditch is more appealing. That mentality is a hard one to change.

Guess I’d better get that ditch picture soon, since they won’t be shaggy for long.

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