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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


A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Wild Things 5-25-06

May 25, 2008 at 08:48 AM


Number of species spotted in the May 10 Peoria County spring bird count, including one peregrine falcon and four adult bald eagles.

Mega-morel remembed

After writing about Bob Batterton’s seven-stemmed morel last week, I revisited the mushroom file and pulled the mega-shroom pictured above.

Patricia Selquist of Henry found this wild growth in Putnam County on May 7, 2002. There are 25 morel heads out of one stem, the largest five inches tall the smallest just two inches. Can anybody top that?

No? There may yet be time. Shroomers were still finding morels last week in Peoria and Putnam counties. Some were large, like the 9-incher found by Michael Stobaugh on Tuesday, the latest he’s found spring morels.

Did you know?

Illinois’ first three game wardens were appointed by the governor in 1885 and were stationed in Peoria, Chicago and Quincy.

Powerton problems

Anglers itching to launch at boat at Powerton Lake south of Pekin will have to wait awhile longer. How long is anybody’s guess now that the hoped-for Memorial Day completion date has been missed.

Problems with a leaking pipe in the discharge area persist and damage to the levee will continue until the pipe is fixed. Workers thought they had the problem solved last week, only to discover the pipe was still leaking.

“They’re working on it all the time, but it still could be awhile,” site manager Stan Weimer said. “The Illinois River bumping up like this all the time isn’t helping any.”

Tip of the week

Illinois will celebrate its annual free fishing weekend June 6-9. But don’t wait until then to go fishing. In fact, don’t wait until Memorial Day. Today should be a prime time to catch fish.

Prior to Friday’s cold rains, fishing had been excellent for bluegill, bass and catfish and anglers were still catching crappie. The same should be true today if the weather stays stable.

FOID note

Starting next Sunday, June 1, the state will only accept applications for a 10-year Firearm Owners Identification card. Up until that date, the old, more commonly available five-year forms will still be accepted. Cost for the 10-year FOID card is $10 as compared to $5 for the five-year card.

Birding bits

Mason County’s annual spring bird count yielded 154 species including 30 different warblers, according to Richard Bjorklund of Topeka. Also spotted were three eagle nests.

Unfortunately, buffalo gnats were “a visible bother” to the eagles. And Bjorklund has real worries the clouds of gnats may be one cause for great egrets to have apparently abandoned a nesting colony in the county.

Along the same lines, local bluebird guru Herb Unkrich noted deaths of young bluebirds last spring that appeared to be attributed to gnats. As a result, he has taken to treating his active nest boxes with pure extract of vanilla, which helps keep the insects at bay.

This ‘n that

Evergreen Lake boat rental and bait sale hours have been extended to 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days per week. ...  Polar bears have been listed as a threatened species by the Interior Department.



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