Eagle Bluff Skills School April Classes

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Hunting fossils by the creek at Site 1.

What beautiful weather we had for these two first fossil hunts of the season through the Eagle Bluff Skills School! Friday was our traditional afternoon class and Saturday was our first morning class. The morning classes are great for those who want to buy one of the three fossil hunting maps I have compiled for Fillmore and Winona counties and go hunting on their own the rest of the day.

Site 1 offers an abandoned quarry, cave, a hidden stream where rare Silurian fossils can sometimes be found and great roadside hunting!

Hidden stream at Site 1 and more fossil finds!

Off to Site 2 and lots of fossils found here! It was hard to get people back into the Eagle Bluff van to get to our last site!

On the rocks at Site 2.

 

Pounding rock is always fun! He’ll get that fossil out yet! 😀

 

Beautiful brachiopods, sea shells, from an ancient sea shore when Minnesota was on the equator and under a shallow sea.

Site 3 always yields lots of fossils!

On the rocks at Site 3. This site is located just above a continuously occupied Native American Village for over 1,000 years, so occasionally Native American artifacts are found here also.

And sometimes we get to meet the local inhabitants!  LOL  😀

We encountered several Garter Snake nesting sites.

 

Ben found a great Fisherites!

 

This lady found a beautiful Hormatomas sp. gastropod and lots of other fossils!

 

This gal found a stunning hash plate of the Ordovician sea bottom and a complete Fisherites among other fossils!

In my opinion, a must see before you come and fossil hunt is the documentary video, 26 minutes, “The Mysteries of the Driftless”. Fossil hunting is a great family outing! I put together this post on fun things to see and do in Bluff Country which includes this video and others with lots of links:

Bluff Country: An Outdoor Paradise! Lots of LINKS!

Want to visit Bluff Country and come fossil hunting? Contact Eagle Bluff for their next fossil hunting classes, or contact me at bcfossillady@gmail.com for 507-922-0083 to book a private hunt or purchase some maps!

I also host guests and campers through Airbnb.com – Whispering Winds.

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/16054561?s=vau9UGtT

 

 

Categories: "Beach" Hunts, Caves, Fillmore County Hunts, Misc., Tourism, Tours, Videos, Village of Fillmore | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trilobite Identification Rock & More

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Caleb Scheer of Midwestpaleo.com found and labeled this rock.

Caleb Scheer of Midwestpaleo.com found and labeled this rock.

 

You should be able to right click and copy and paste this onto your desktop for close examination–open with Paint. So often we see pictures and photos of prepared specimens, however identifying them while in matrix is a whole new adventure. I had asked Caleb (Midwestpaleo.com on the sidebar–everything trilobite!) to take the time to do this for me, so that I can become better at identifying trilobites, etc.

I hope this helps you as much as it has me!

Thanks Caleb!

Here is an Excellent website for trilobite information: http://www.trilobites.info/index.htm  Dr. Sam Gon also has a 90 page color PDF book on trilobites for only $6.00! Just take it a bite at a time, not to get overwhelmed and realize that there are something like 5,000 different types of trilobites!

Caleb has 14 different species of trilobite labeled on this one rock. And 5 other classes or creatures. I found it much easier to have the list separated from the picture when I opened the copied picture with Paint, magnified it and moved around to all of the different numbered spots. So, I am going to type the list in and hopefully you will be able to copy it, print, and have a less frustrating time identifying things. 🙂

In Red: Trilobites

1. Celtencrinus spicitus parts

2. Proetus species cephalons (heads)

3. Ceraurus species cephalons

4. Flexicalymene species parts

5. Calyptaulax callicephalus

6. Hypodicranotus species

7. Anataphrus boreaus pygidium (tail)

8. Achatella

9. Spaerocoryphe

10. Thaleops laurentiana

11. Hardpidella

12. Encrinuroides species

13. Ceraurinus marginatus

14. Eomonorachas

 

In Green:

1. Tiny crinoids

2. Brachiopod

3. Clam

4. Bryozoan

5. Cystoid Plates

 

Isotelus Trilobite: I have found several of these, so they are fairly common in this area. A very large trilobite that can get over 2 feet long! Note the triangular shape? Bits of the shell left on? The final note for identification are the “crinkles” on the bottom two sides of the triangle. This guy probably would have been a foot long! I got him on the Cty. 11 cut about 4 miles northeast of Fountain–and this may well be Maquoketa Shale. But I have also found them above Rifle Hill Quarry in the Maquoketa Shale formation.

Isotelus Pygidium (tail)

Isotelus Pygidium (tail)

 

Here is a hash plate I found at the Hwy. 52 cut just below Fountain with at least 8 Eomonorachas trilobite pygidiums-2 on the “front” and 6 on the “back”! Just tap to make the pictures larger. What do YOU see?!

Front side of hash plate with at least two trilobite pygidiums in it.

Front side of hash plate with at least two trilobite pygidiums in it.

 

One pygidium on front.

One pygidium on front.

 

One pygidium on the side of the front.

One pygidium on the side of the front.

 

 

 

Back side of hash plate with at least 6 trilobite pygidium.

Back side of hash plate with at least 6 trilobite pygidium.

 

2 pygidium on back.

2 pygidium on back.

 

Two more pygidium on back.

Two more pygidium on back.

 

And another pair on the back!

And another pair on the back!

 

Some of those brown shell casings are probably from trilobites. I am really only recognizing the pygidiums so far, so there may well be far more trilobites and more species on this plate. 😀 But hopefully this helps you on your hunts!

At this point, if I were going to recommend 3 proven trilobite hunt locations, they would be:

1. The Maquoketa Shale about 1 to 2 miles north of the village of Fillmore on County 5, go to the upper end. I have pulled 4 whole rollers out of there.

2. Just south of Fillmore about 2 miles on Cty. 5 is a huge roadcut on the west side. Great for receptaculitids but the upper end is good for trilobites–don’t miss the shelf in the middle if you dare!

3. The hash plates on Hwy. 52, like just below Fountain not a quarter of a mile, the ditch going south on the west side of the highway–yeah, lots of trilos in there! And hey, jump over to my BluffCountryWoman.com blog about Adventure and Fun in Bluff Country and do a search on Fountain–several nice places to take a break and eat!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Horn Coral Video

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zz

zz

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Snow Cover!

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Spring Valley Creek at Whispering Winds.

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Coco Says VOTE!

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Coco, the donkey, getting out the vote!

Coco, the donkey, getting out the vote!

Coco is a 28 year old wild burro adopted through the BLM Adopt-A-Horse-Or-Burro program in 1989. He has more ribbons and trophies than most horses. He has been a wonderful ambassador for the Program and donkeys in general his entire life.

In my home, the policy is that if you don’t vote you don’t get to complain or have a voice about politics!

VOTE!

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Just for FUN! Halloween 2016

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I LOVE decorating for Halloween! The challenge is to do it inexpensively, so I thought I would share a few of the scenes and a few of my tips.  🙂

ww-ghost-townJust an old garden stake and some leftover quarter inch wood painted up. The zombie coming out of the ground I made with a scape of plywood, the two hands were $1 at the Dollar Store, a scrape of chicken wire to create the mold with about a half a can of Great Stuff foam over that and a piece of an old black skirt. Everything draped in a piece of poly cobweb.

Entrance to the house.

Entrance to the house.

witch-and-upper-porch-2

ghoul-ponycart

witch-and-cauldronThe cauldron in front of the witch has solar lights in it covered with a piece of plastic green table cloth with eye balls and cockroaches glued to it – lights up at night!

witchLove this witch’s face and 7′ tall! $5 at Family Dollar!

ghoul-by-door

$1 ghoul by the door.

garage-door-2Closeup of the garage door. This is a $7 scene setter from Party City taped onto 4 mil black plastic and hung with magnets – pretty cool!

murphy-wild-eyedMurphy the mini horse decked out in his costume for Halloween!

 

door-creepycritter

We’ll see if this video works. It is the $16.88 Walmart special light show.

two-skeleton-birdsAn old bird cage painted black with two $1 skeleton birds in it.  🙂

pumpkin-head-fence

detached-garage-betterOn the garage door I have a piece of a Halloween door cover taped onto black plastic and held up by magnet on a roll.

coco-barn-betterCoco the donkey in his Halloween get up!  😀

entrance-to-parkWalking down into the campfire area.

video-zombie-crossing

Hope this video works as it features the creepy music! Bummer, I’m not getting any sound on this video, please let me know if you do – It is kind of creepy!  LOL  😀

zombie-crossingZombie Crossing! Creepy skeleton guy coming out of Hell is again just a piece of plywood with chicken wire and spray foam and a piece of black skirt over it. Silicone caulked the $1 head and $1 arms to it.

zombie-girl-onlyZombie Girl was 50 cents at a rummage sale made up with some old makeup.

spider-mummyMummy has a chicken wire frame covered in strips of an old sheet and then covered in poly spiderweb with spiders!

scary-face$1 scary face!

skeleton-bird

eyesCreepy eyes out of plywood with some craft paint.

bats-by-rhubarbBats from the Dollar Store hung on an apple tree.

ghost-girlGhost girl is chicken wire molded and spray painted white.

ghost-by-brook

ghost-by-picnic-table

mushroom-tree-faceLeftover quarter inch plywood jigsawed into eyes and mouth, painted white and then used a black marker to fill in.

playground-treeGhosts and Goblins by the “playground tree” as the kids call it with swings and a tree fort.

pumkin-pinataPinata Fun! $1 Chinese lantern filled with $3 of wrapped candy!

pumpkin-pinate-with-candy

Hope this inspires someone to have some fun this Halloween!

 

 

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Fossil Camp!

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Want to spend a day, a weekend, or a week immersed in fossil hunting the most fossiliferous county in Minnesota and enjoy the amenities that Bluff Country has to offer?

whispering-winds-black-eyed-susans

Half-Day Fossil Hunt – $40 per person

A morning or afternoon fossil hunt that starts with a tour of the fossil gardens at Whispering Winds to familiarize your eye with the fossils you will be hunting.

Trilobite ID display.

Trilobite ID display.

Minnesota Geodes

Minnesota Geodes

 

Gastropod walk and many more fossil gardens.

Gastropod walk and many more fossil gardens.

The fossil barn is the place to go to practice your prepping skills and see examples of how you can display your finds and ways to incorporate fossils into your crafts.

fossil-barn-trilobite

fossil-barn-front-aquarium

Then off on a personalized hunt targeting the fossils you hope to collect.

A Full Day of Hunting and Prepping – $70 per person

Go on a coordinated hunt in the morning, break for lunch, then choose from one of two maps to go hunting on your own.

sloans book cover

After the hunt, come back to Whispering Winds and spend some time prepping your fossils in the fossil barn.

Fossil Prep Area

Fossil Prep Area

Weekend Hunt –

Create your own personalized fossil hunt!

Camping $25 per night per tent.

Camping $25 per night per tent.

Camp at Whispering Winds by the stocked trout steam (must have a Minnesota Fishing License with Trout Stamp to fish) and enjoy a campfire with wood provided. Forgot something?

spring-valley-hometown-minnesota-sign

No worries, if I don’t have it on premises all of Spring Valley’s stores are within a mile’s drive. Only $25 a night per tent and with the private camping everything you bring is safe as you go out and enjoy Bluff Country!

Buy a fossil hunting map – $5 – and go out hunting on your own! A formal tour of the fossil gardens and fossil barn is $10 per person or just wander the grounds on your own.

Bring your fossils back and I will identify them for you. For $10 an hour per person you can use the fossil barn with the prep tools, yes I will teach you how to safely use them, and prep your own fossils. There are even tools and supplies (extra) to make your fossils into jewelry!

make your own jewelry

Other Amenities

Often families have fossil hunters and non-fossil hunters.  🙂  Whispering Winds is located next to the Spring Valley Park which has an 8 miles RT bike trail and playground. And of course there are hundreds of miles of bike trails in Bluff Country!

Spring Valley bike trail

Spring Valley bike trail

There is lots to do in Bluff Country besides fossil hunting, check out this post: http://www.bluffcountryfossils.net/blog/bluff-country-an-outdoor-paradise-lots-of-links/

Whispering Winds is a hobby farm, so there are flower and food gardens (I’m a Fillmore County Master Gardener with a passion for permaculture),

bev-in-garden

free range pet hens,

new-chicken

white doves traversing blue skies and available for celebratory white dove releases, a horse, donkey and pony.

2colada-coco-kids

Pony/donkey rides and “My Little Pony” decorating are options.

jax-veah-murphy

There is a “playground tree” with swings and a tree fort,

playground-tree

tire swing,

tire-swing-jax

 

fishing,

first-trout-cu

a swing by the creek,

swing-by-creek

a pergola by the koi ponds and grill area,

catching-fish-v-j

and a hammock to relax in and just unwind.

hammock-by-creek

And of course there are parties optional.  🙂

coco-nate-banner-better

Don’t want to camp? I rent my upstairs out at $60 a night. The queen size memory foam bed is comfy and children can bunk in the front room with the TV. And you have cooking privileges in the kitchen, or at the grill, so you can bring your own food.

Contact Beverly at bcfossillady@gmail.com or call 507-922-0083 this is a landline to leave your message slowly and clearly and your number twice.

Categories: Fossil Hunts, Misc., Prepping on a Budget, Tourism, Tours | Tags: | Leave a comment

Eagle Bluff September Fossil Tour 2016

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root-river-branch-in-sun

It was a beautiful day to fossil hunt with temps in the high 60s, very little humidity and sunshine! A group of 9 students boarded the Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center bus and trucked on over to Whispering Winds, Spring Valley, to start their fossil hunt. Participants included a retired WSU prof (PapaDave on TFF), a current WSU prof, and a young lady, PJ, aspiring to be a geologist, and several experienced fossil hunts – lots of knowledge here!

PapaDave brought along some of his better finds from our Labor Day hunt to share and get photographed.

dave-sharing

Including this incredible trilobite!

Trilobite Cast

Trilobite Cast

We started at the fossil barn.

fossil-barn-parking

And made our way around to the different stations, this is not all inclusive.

Trilobite ID display.

Trilobite ID display.

Minnesota Geodes

Minnesota Geodes

Gastropods

Gastropods

The purpose being to accustom their eyes to the Ordovican fossils they are likely to find. It is important to see fossils in an unprepared condition, just as you would find them out hunting.

Then back to the fossil barn where they got to see, and if desired, practice with some prepping tools.

fossil-barn-front-aquarium

fossil-barn-prep-area

fossil-barn-acid-prep

This group was in a hurry and wanted to get out on the rocks ASAP, so we went to S-1 (coordinated with my Spring Valley fossil hunting map).

PJ checking out the hidden spring.

PJ checking out the hidden spring.

Seven inches of rain in the last week and we had fossils!

Seven inches of rain in the last week and we had fossils!

Onto site S-2 where we split into two groups, half going to the Stewartville member of the Galena (noted for gastropods and cephalopods) and the other half to the Prosser member of the Galena Formation – noted for trilobites & crinoids.

site-2-on-the-rocks

site-2

A very nice Hormatoma sp. was found.

A very nice Hormatoma sp. was found.

PJ working the rock.

PJ working the rock.

Then we followed the Root River to site S-5.

site-5-2

site-5-1

It was a glorious day with fresh rock down from the face of this cut.

PJ investigating a fossil.

PJ investigating a fossil.

One gal even found a geode!

Opened geode.

Opened geode.

Outside of the geode after breaking it.

Outside of the geode after breaking it.

Not the prettiest geode, but now she knew what to look for.  🙂

As the group moved down towards the lower end of the road cut a rock riddled with Fisherites was found!

Rock with layers of Fisherites.

Rock with layers of Fisherites.

 

PJ with a complete Fisherite.

PJ with a complete Fisherite.

Galena Formation Fisherite.

Galena Formation Fisherite.

 

Excavating layers of Fisherites.

Excavating layers of Fisherites.

This group practically had to be dragged off the rocks! LOL  😀

As we trudged back up to the Eagle Bluff van, one lady found what we believe to be a fox skull.

fox-skull

This group went home with their bags heavy with lots of fossils!

Link to thefossilforum.com post:

http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/68473-7-days-of-fossil-fun/

Categories: Fillmore County Hunts, Geodes, Tours | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Labor Day 2016 with TFF Friends

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A couple of TFF (thefossilforum.com) friends, Raggedy Man and Fossilized6s (read as “fossil success”), and came over from Wisconsin on Saturday to fossil hunt. They set up their tents in my yard by the trout stream and camp fire ring – great place to camp!

two tents 2 better

campfire over view

We poured over Dr. Sloan’s book:

sloans book cover

This is the one “must have” book if you are hunting fossils in Minnesota. Information on how to get the book is on the “Fossil Facts” bar of my webpage. For faster shipping use a money order, not a check.  🙂

These guys are trilobite hunters, so we were checking out Sloan’s trilo info:

sloans trilobite pic page

Sloans trilobite list pageJust tap on the image to enlarge it. They bought the 3 maps I have of area hunting sites and off we went.

Our first stop was S-1 on the Spring Valley map. They actually went back there 3x and even found a trilobite layer!

Contemplating the rock at S-1.

Contemplating the rock at S-1.

From there we jumped to S-2

s.2

and then S-6, where Fossilized6s was pleased to find some unusual trilo molts and Raggedy Man found a geodized ceph while exploring further down the cut.

S.6 charlie

Then we went to a site I only take real trilobite hunters too.

Nature Road Charlie

We were surprised to see these toys set on the rock!

nature road horse.bear

nature road charlie too

At that point I was exhausted so they struck out on their own.

The next day TFF member PapaDave joined us. They were comparing notes, finds, prep tools, and deciding where to go.

fossil hunters comparing notes

We started with the fossil literature famous Rifle Hill Quarry.

Rifle Hill Quarry Lake

Charlie hunting rifle hill

f.12 maquoketa

Then moved on to the Maquoketa Shale site F-12.

We stopped briefly to overview sites F-10 & F11.

Then we hit site F-9 and turned a far amount of rock.

f.9 all three

Cut F.9

Wild flowers in the wind.

Wild flowers in the wind.

Then off to sites F-7 and F-8 where Fossilized6s found his trilobite!

Charlie with trilo standing

Then we hit site F-15 where PapaDave got an awesome trilo imprint, shell intact, that I would be proud to have found!

Trilobite Cast

Trilobite Cast

f.14 rm

And Fossilized6s worked site F-14.

f.15 charlie

The trilobite hunters finally conceded that we could go to my favorite site.

gq pond

gq raggedy man

PapaDave got some great cephs and gastropods. I got a couple of nice gastropods and Raggedy Man landed himself the Ordovician Index Fossil (Index Fossils only lived in one time period, so when you find them you know absolutely what time you are in.) Maclurites.

My favorite fossil for this hunt was this Hormatoma sp. gastropod - Stewartville member of the Galena Formation.

My favorite fossil for this hunt was this Hormatoma sp. gastropod – Stewartville member of the Galena Formation.

We headed back to Whispering Winds where PapaDave said goodbye, I collapsed from exhaustion, and Raggedy Man and Fossilized6s went back out hunting.

I can’t say what everyone found as there were just too many fossils collected! But here are pics of some of what I came home with.

labor day fossils 2

labor day fossils 1

labor day fossils 3

worm fossil rock

And what appears to be a very red worm burrow or perhaps even coprolite – fossilized poop!

Some more of PapaDave’s spectacular finds!

Ordovician Gastropod.

Ordovician Gastropod.

Complete Fisherite.

Complete Fisherite.

Beautiful Cephalopod.

Beautiful Cephalopod.

The guys hunted some on Monday morning on their way home and I hunted in the afternoon discovering FIVE new virgin fossil hunting sites! Then I stopped at O’Connell’s Excavating in Spring Valley and spied this lovely rock.

mac rock

Well, I stopped back on Tuesday to see how much they wanted for it and it was already spoken for…  🙁

But then I found this!

There is about a six inch across cephalopod portion in the top of this monolithic rock!

There is about a six inch across cephalopod portion in the top of this monolithic rock!

Fossil friends and extraordinary fossils, Labor Day doesn’t get much better than that!  😀

Link to thefossilforum.com post on this hunt:

http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/68473-7-days-of-fossil-fun/

 

Categories: Fillmore County Hunts | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Lila’s Big Vacation Fossil Hunt!

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Lila with her perfect Hormatoma out of the rock.

Lila with her perfect Hormatoma out of the rock.

Lila loves to fossil hunt with her Dad. Dad says, “Lila knows more about dinosaurs than I do!” The family was going on vacation and Dad asked Lila what special thing she wanted to do on their vacation.

Lila said, “I want to fossil hunt and find a gastropod!”

So Lila’s Dad contacted me and set up a fossil hunt just for her. All three of her brothers came too. And I had two five-year-old grandkids in tow also – Jax and Veah.

First we went to Masonic Park where she got to see the hidden stream that comes out from under a bluff.

hidden stream with everyone

lila.kids spring

Dad and Lila searched around the creek for fossils.

shawn.lila spring hunting

But they really didn’t find any.

Meanwhile Jax had started to throw rocks into the water, so we decided to leave and go to another fossil hunting spot.

Jax & Veah

Jax & Veah

Lila and her Dad were fossil hunting together.

Shawn and daughter on the rocks

Oh my! Withing 5 minutes Lila had found a beautiful Hormatoma sp. stuck in a rock! Her dad got it out for her.

Lila with her Hormatoma sp. in sitsu.

Lila with her Hormatoma sp. in sitsu.

 

Hormatoma sp.

Hormatoma sp.

Her twin brothers were also fossil hunting along with Jax.

boys on the rocks 2

Jax and the Twins.

Jax and the Twins.

 

They were finding fossils!

They were finding fossils!

Lila, her Dad, and her brothers found lots of fossils!

In less than a half hour they found all these fossils!

In less than a half hour they found all these fossils!

Hormatoma sp.

Hormatoma sp.

Fisherite cross section

Fisherite cross section

 

That may even be fluorescent like this one under a black light.

That may even be fluorescent like this one under a black light.

 

What's this??? We won't know until Dad preps it out a bit.

What’s this??? We won’t know until Dad preps it out a bit.

Lila was happy with all the fossils she collected.

Lila's fossil finds.

Lila’s fossil finds.

 

Categories: Fillmore County Hunts, Fluorescent Fossils, Fossil Hunts, Gastropods, Kids Hunts | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment