I always wondered why male cardinals do not molt in the fall. It seems like that bright red would make one quite the target in the winter snow. This guy seems to be blending in pretty well. Click on pictures to enlarge.
This is what progress looks like at the Wakarusa Wetlands. It is not just for the “public’s protection” that one cannot get close to many of the construction areas of the SLT (they have roads blocked way beyond the distance they need); it is important to those involved to keep images like these hidden.
On a personal note, if this all wasn’t heartbreaking enough, this is my first encounter with a Kansas badger. I knew they lived in Kansas, but I had never seen one during my wanderings before yesterday.
Click on pictures to enlarge.
The year-round residents are getting into their winter groups and the winter residents like the juncos are here in abundance. Generally, at this time of year, I would be at the Wakarusa Wetlands four or more mornings a week. I know I am one of many deeply grieving this loss. I hope that those of us who are doing more feeding, putting up more cover, winter roosting boxes, and brush piles, can offset some of the habitat loss these birds are experiencing. Support the work the Haskell Students are doing here: https://www.facebook.com/wetlandspreservationorganization Click on pictures to enlarge.
When I was at the grocery store the other day, I was watching a small group of starlings sitting on a tower in the distance. I decided to get some pictures. While I was getting my camera out, they all scattered. When I zoomed in, they were in a murmuration and a falcon was chasing them. The murmation is designed to confuse raptors. They move in this tight formation, moving in synch in all these different ways like a cloud, confusing the raptor who cannot lock on to one single bird. This went on for a while. The raptor gave up and the starlings went back to their perch on the tower. It was something to watch! Click on pictures to enlarge.
Hummingbirds seem to be everywhere right now, buzzing around the yard, jostling for nectar. Each year, the amount we see during migration grows. I think this is not only because we just keep planting stuff, but we are seeing the children of birds who have visited in previous years. It’s very exciting! Click on pictures to enlarge.