Sunset and crescent moon | News, Sports, Jobs

PHOTO BY GARRY BRANDENBURG On November 25, in the early evening just after sunset, as the western sky was filled with beautiful colors, I captured this image of a crescent moon. By sheer luck, three Canada geese were also in the right place at the right time. Autumn is a fantastic time to render the landscape of Mother Nature in incredible and inspiring moments. My camera captured this instant of time at the last moment. Now it is a pleasure to share that moment with you. Enjoy.

As a photographer who is always looking for some new natural moment to reveal himself, many occasions turn out to be fleetingly quick. Luck is a good word for today’s image of a crescent moon.

That’s the first thing that caught my eye since the sun had just set a few moments before. With an evening sky painted in glorious colors, a series of trees silhouetted against the sky framed the scene perfectly.

The beam of light from the moon helped set the stage for this interaction between the earth and the moon. Now that December has entered our realm of time for the last month of the year 2022, some other astronomy data awaits adventurous people who want to head out at the right time, in the right place.

The maximum dates will be December 14 and 15, when the position of the Earth within its orbit of the Sun may allow the appearance of “shooting stars” from the meteor called Geminid. This is considered one of the most spectacular meteor showers of the year.

It is possible to observe 120 meteors per hour if the night sky conditions are clear. The best times will fall between December 13 at 5:40 pm and December 14 at 10:30 am Look up at the night sky in a general direction southwest, west, or slightly northwest.

Tips for better viewing include traveling outside of city lights to a dark place. Allow your eyes to adjust to the darkness of the night. Dress for the weather conditions at your viewing times.

A lawn chair and a nice blanket will help keep you comfortable. You can also use an interactive meteor shower sky map to find the radiant line to direct your attention to. The higher the radiant line, the more meteors are likely to be seen.

What one sees during a meteor shower are the remnant particles or pieces of an asteroid intersecting with the earth’s upper atmosphere.

Meteor rock debris burns up from the friction created by entering the upper atmospheric regions of very thin air. We earthlings call them shooting stars.


December 2022 is here. We’re less than a month away from the start of a new year, 2023. So while this year is almost a footnote in a history book, there’s still a lot going on in the outdoor world.

To begin with, the length of days is very short and getting shorter. Our shortest days will be December 20-23 with nine hours and six minutes of daylight.

The earliest sunsets will take place between December 7 and December 11 at 4:38 PM Central Standard Time. The last sunrises for the winter season will not occur until January 2-6 at 7:39 am

However, December 21 will be observed as the first official day of winter. Astronomers call this day the Winter Solstice. A few days later, on the 25th, it will be Christmas.

Other December events will revolve around the start of some gun deer hunting seasons. December 2nd is the close of the fall turkey season and also the end of the first segment of the deer archery season.

December 3-7 is the number one season for armed deer. Then a couple of days later, on December 10, the second season of Deer Gun opens.

That ends on December 18. Later, muzzleloader/second bow deer times reopen on December 19 and will run through January 10, 2023.

Iowa gun deer seasons are a primary control method to reduce the overall deer population in Iowa. Iowa deer are not equally dispersed due to habitat variations from edge to edge, north to south , From East to West.

That makes sense since wooded habitats along streams and rivers can support more deer than heavily cultivated open land. However, all counties, regardless of location and prevailing land uses, have deer.

Some simply have fewer deer than others. Iowa’s pre-hunt deer population is probably in the 400,000 range. All deer hunters will take out about 100,000 animals by the end of the season next month.

All deer hunter reports compiled by midweek show a take of just under 30,000. This number is in line with previous years. By the time all deer seasons end in January, an additional 70,000 deer will be taken.

Hunters are required to report deer catches and there are five ways to do this.

1. Online at, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

2. By phone through a toll-free number that is printed on the deer tag. This phone number is also available 24/7.

3. You can also go to a license dealer during their regular business hours.

4. By sending a text message to 1-800-771-4692 and following the prompts on your cell phone’s message panel.

5. The Go Iowa Outdoors app can also be accessed online.

Each of the above methods satisfies the requirement to report deer kills. You will be given a confirmation number. That number must be written on the transportation label segment of the deer license.

Deer with antlers need to have the tag attached to the antler. Deer Doe tags must be attached to one leg. Page 44 of the Iowa DNR Hunting Regulations booklet explains and illustrates what has been stated above.

Another December date to take into account is in the middle, the 15th. On this date, 2023 licenses of all kinds can be purchased for fishing, hunting or fur gathering. License vendors are spread across the state to serve outdoor enthusiasts looking forward to a new year of outdoor excursions in the Iowa countryside, forest, prairie and wetlands.


Citizen science will be back on stage from December 14 to January 5, 2023. This is the annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) to observe and count all species observed by teams or individuals.

The program began in 1900 and is now a stable of observations in the US and 19 other countries. It is a long-standing program of the National Audubon Society. It is an early winter bird census for a heavy 24 hour period of time.

Between December 14 and January 5, only one day is chosen to fit the schedule of an individual or a team of observers. The idea is to intensively cover the earth’s surface in a circular area 15 miles in diameter.

Birds seen or heard during that day are compiled into a list for reporting purposes at the end of the day. Comparing the birds observed this year with previous years allows a good comparison to be made.

Trends may become apparent for populations of some species increasing, others stable, or others declining. That’s the beauty of long-term observations using the same methodologies. It helps make the data collected more relevant.

There is also a bird count activity in February. It is known as the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). This count day is specific to President’s Day weekend.

From the comfort of your home while observing a feeding station from morning to night, you can keep a count of the species and how many of each. Information about the GBBC can be found online at the Audubon website. Look for the tab about GBBC.


The hunting instincts of some wild animals are a whole new topic. I will expand on this topic in future columns. But for now, here’s a bit of information to think about.

This first example was from Iowa State University when I was a student. Another colleague was involved in the intensive capture and removal of raccoons from the City of Ames.

Long story short, live traps were used to catch raccoons. They were ear tagged and released five, 10, 15, 20 and 25 miles away.

The continuous live capture process then took note of which animals returned, if any, and how long it took them to return.

Essentially, a large percentage of those raccoons caught just five to 10 miles away returned to their territory and were recaptured in just a few days. Those who are taken further away have less and less propensity to return “home”.

I got a lot of calls while I was the director of the Marshall County Board of Conservation from people saying the live caught a raccoon in Marshalltown and brought it to Timmons Grove to release it. Then I asked: “Did the raccoon beat you home?”

Their stunned reaction was that they didn’t think that was possible. I assured them that it was highly probable that the same raccoon would return.

Now here’s another example of a wild animal that we luckily don’t have here in Iowa, the grizzly bear. This study in Montana tracked a female grizzly bear for 21 years through a radio-tracking collar.

She was collared when she was 4 1/2 years old in May 1983. In the spring and summer of 1985, this female and her two pups had trouble raiding bee hives. She and her pups were captured live and moved 58 miles west to the other side of the Rocky Mountains. Two weeks later they were back where they started raiding hives again in the same area.

So, on June 29, 1985, the bear family was recaptured. This time they are moving 70 air miles away. At the end of the summer they are back.

In October 1989, the female was captured for the fourth time in her 10-year life. She and her two cubs were raiding and killing sheep.

They move her 131 air miles away to the Canadian border. In May 1990, she and her pups are back in Montana, in her former range. Hive owners have built heavy fences with strong electrical wires around the hives she once raided.

In 2002, this female grizzly was captured for the fifth time in her life, far outside her previous range. He is now 19 years old and has two small puppies. She raids other bee hives and teaches her pups the sweet taste of honey.

In the year 2000, she was killed by a poacher and her necklace was thrown into a river. The poacher was eventually caught by the authorities and in 2004 he was found guilty and paid a fine.

Whether it’s raccoons, grizzly bears, or birds returning to the same breeding wetlands as adults where they were born years before, wildlife’s foraging instincts are part of the wiring in their brains that will continue to attract life scientists and biologists. silvestre to investigate this fascinating aspect. of the natural world.


Mark Twain said: “Give each day a chance to become the most beautiful day of your life.”


Garry Brandenburg is the retired director of the Marshall County Board of Conservation. He graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in fish and wildlife biology.

Contact him at:

post office box 96

Albion, IA 50005

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