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I am an outdoorsy guy. I like to take pictures outdoors, ride a bike, program computers, and a few other things.
The eastern face of Devils Tower in the Black Hills of Eastern Wyoming. © 2021 Randy Runtsch.

Geology, Landscapes, and Nature

Devils Tower is a unique geological feature by any name

“Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.” — Albert Einstein

The Black Hills of Western South Dakota and Eastern Wyoming feature rugged landscapes, dark pine forests, vibrant wildlife, and Mount Rushmore…


Statistics, Facts, Trivia, and Healthcare

Here are 15 categories of facts about the United States of America. Some figures may fascinate you. Others may shock you.

The Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.
The Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. Photo by VÍctor Daniel Giraldo on Unsplash.

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” — John Adams

The United States of America ranks as the fourth largest country by land area and the third by population. While…


Travel, Tourism, Texas, and History

Legends and history live on at the Alamo and four other missions in San Antonio, Texas

The church of Mission San José in San Antonio, Texas.
The church of Mission San José in San Antonio, Texas. © 2021 Randy Runtsch.

Before my wife and I planned a four-day trip to San Antonio, the only Spanish mission in the area that we knew of was the Alamo. But as we prepared for our journey, we learned that the U.S. …


Travel. Adventure. Wilderness. Nature Photography.

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northern Minnesota features over 1,100 lakes to explore by canoe.

Rangers paddle away from our camp on Brule Lake. Photo courtesy of Nick Runtsch.
Rangers paddle away from our camp on Brule Lake. Photo courtesy of Nick Runtsch.

“A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” — Howard Zahniser


Birds, Wildlife, Nature, and Photography

With curved bills that can measure over 8 inches long, the long-billed curlew is a strange sight

Long-billed curlew walking on the beach at Moss Landing in California.
Long-billed curlew walking on the beach at Moss Landing in California. ©2021 Randy Runtsch.

“…and then, I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?” — Vincent Willem van Gogh

My first sight of long-billed curlews stunned and surprised me. A pair of the tall shorebirds, with their long and downward-curved bills, marched slowly through the sparse…


Data Science, Data Analytics, Data Engineering, and Programming

There is a whole wide world of data to acquire, clean, transform, visualize, and analyze

Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash

The more I work with data, the more excited I become about the fields of data engineering, data analytics, and data science. There are so many techniques to learn, so much work to do, and so many ideas to share in writing. …


Birds, Wildlife, Nature, and Photography

Walk softly and carry a big lens

Sandhill Crane.
Sandhill Crane. © 2021 Randy Runtsch.

Introduction

On September 3, 1901, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt delivered his “Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick” speech at the Minnesota State Fair. Little did he know that two weeks later, an assassin would kill President William McKinley, thrusting him into the presidency at the age of 42.

In his…


Birds, Wildlife, Nature, and Photography

This large North American woodpecker prefers to feed on the ground

Female yellow-shafted Northern Flicker.
Female yellow-shafted Northern Flicker. © 2021 Randy Runtsch.

Unlike most woodpeckers in North America, the Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus), also called the Common Flicker, feeds mainly on the ground. While I typically spot these birds perched in trees, I recently watched and photographed a pair of yellow-shafted males forage on the ground at Essex Park near home.


Coyotes, Wildlife, Nature, and Photography

Coyotes thrive in urban settings as well as wild environments

A coyote peers out from the tallgrass prairie in Badlands National Park in South Dakota.
A coyote peers out from the tallgrass prairie in Badlands National Park in South Dakota. © 2021 Randy Runtsch.

“We don’t own the planet Earth, we belong to it. And we must share it with our wildlife. “— Steve Irwin

The crafty coyote (Canis latrans) is an adaptable carnivore and canine whose habitats range from wilderness preserves to urban areas. …


Birds, Nature, and Photography

While birds were scarce in the Root River Valley, I was rewarded with the sight of an Eastern Wood-Peewee

Eastern Wood-Peewee
Eastern Wood-Peewee. © 2021 Randy Runtsch.

I take most bird photos close to home. But each week, I try to roam further afield to experience different scenery and discover new species.

I visited the North Branch Root River Valley, about 15 miles (24 km) south of home yesterday, the first day of fall. The valley’s tree-topped…

Randy Runtsch

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