I was watching a great blue heron come flying into the marina at Clinton Lake the other day, and to my surprise, she landed right in the water, picked up a fish, then flew off. It almost seemed like she was swimming like a pelican would. I have never seen one do that before. When she took off, she kind of did that running on water thing coots do when they take off super fast. It all happened so fast, but was amazing to watch. Click on pictures to enlarge.
I am in love with this belted kingfisher. I have seen her before patrolling up and down the spillway at Clinton Lake. This morning was the first time I have ever been close enough to get a decent picture. I love the sounds she makes and her head-first dives into the water. And, of course, how remarkably cool she looks. Click on pictures to enlarge.
I have not been to the Wakarusa Wetlands as much as I would like over the last few weeks, but I am not sure that is a bad thing. My walk there on Monday was on one of those five degree mornings. The sparrows were moving about in the long grass, but not coming out in the open much. I saw a few hawks and a bald eagle made a quick pass high overhead, but I did not see any mammals. No beavers. No deer. No coyotes. I have not seen a mink in months. The noise and the ever-growing gash made by this equipment are changing the land in ways we will never fully understand.
Construction closures: http://www.ksdot.org/topekametro/laneclose.asp
Wetlands Preservation Organization: https://www.facebook.com/wetlandspreservationorganization
Voices of the Wakarusa Wetlands: https://www.facebook.com/voicesofthewakarusawetlands
Occupy the Wakarusa Wetlands: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Occupy-the-Wakarusa-Wetlands/1380914642133457
It makes me sad that every morning for the past couple of weeks I have been reading about more sightings of snowy owls in the lower 48. I am afraid we are going to have another irruption year. The frequency of this is all about climate change, though I have not seen many writing about this, particularly in birding discussions (of course!). I so loved getting to see them when they were in Lawrence in 2012. However, I also learned a great deal about them and what I learned was heartbreaking. They are here because they are starving. They have little experience with humans and are vulnerable to attack, cars, planes, buildings, etc. Because they have so little experience with humans, people are often able to get pretty close to them before they fly away. This adds another layer of stress to a hungry bird who is trying to conserve energy. Please, if you see them, act responsibly. Observe these beautiful birds from a distance. Show some respect. If you see a snowy owl in distress, contact a rehabber who can help and while you are at it, make a donation.
Birding in the National Parks: Snowy Owl Invasion, Round Two
One of the many beautiful hawks wintering at the Wakarusa Wetlands. I think this is a Cooper’s, but might be a Sharp-shinned; I get these guys confused sometimes. Click on pictures to enlarge.
Excellent article in the Huffington Post
“Kansas Highway Construction May Unearth Human Remains”