Meanwhile, at the Wetlands

I did not get to the Wakarusa Wetlands much over the summer, but now that we are heading into fall, I plan to do something about that whenever I can. I took a couple of hours off yesterday to see if what I had been hearing about great numbers of pelicans was true. While a road grater scared many of them away right after I got there, a few remained. It is great to see them in this relatively new space (part of the mitigation for the SLT). While I in no way can speak to the anger and betrayal felt by so many regarding this sacred space, I am choosing to focus on making peace with my relationship with this place that has meant so much to me. I hope it will continue to be a place of relative safety for the beings who live there, and I hope that migrants continue to find it a restful and nourishing spot in the fall and spring.  It was wonderful to see thousands of gulls coming through high overhead and the blackbirds were dining on sunflower seeds. A few cormorants were hanging out in a tree, kingfishers patrolled, and grebes dived. Click on pictures to enlarge.

Sunrise Wetlands

© Chris Taylor

Red-winged blackbirds on sunflower

© Chris Taylor

Red-winged blackbirds in flight

© Chris Taylor

Cormorants

© Chris Taylor

American coot and grebe

© Chris Taylor

Belted kingfisher

© Chris Taylor

Pelicans in a line

© Chris Taylor

Content Protection by DMCA.com

Hummer Travels

I say something like this, every year. There is something both amazing and heartbreaking about watching the hummers in the fall. Most of the adults have left already, so we are now seeing the young ones. Here are these tiny birds, no more than six-months old, who will be crossing the Gulf of Mexico soon. Every year, I watch them camp out near the feeders for several days, even a few weeks sometimes, drinking all they can, fighting to keep that spot, and getting plumper by the day. I start to recognize them. One may have a particular white shape above the eye, or an interesting pattern as the ruby-throat begins to develop. I get attached. I worry about their journey. I watch the weather vane on our neighbor’s house to see wind change. I know a steady north wind may be when they take off, if they have stored enough to get to the next place in their migration south. I know I will never know if they made it, or if they return to our area next year, but I wish them a safe journey. Click on pictures to enlarge.

RT Hummingbird

© Chris Taylor

RT Hummingbirds

© Chris Taylor

RT Hummingbird

© Chris Taylor

RT Hummingbird

© Chris Taylor

Content Protection by DMCA.com

Fall Hummers

After seeing very few hummingbirds in the spring, they are now at our feeders in huge numbers, plumping up for the journey south. It has been so much fun watching them. At one feeder, it seems two adult males are sharing and running everyone else off. They spar with each other, but generally let each other drink. Everyone else has to work a bit harder to get to the nectar. It is an interesting dynamic. Sometimes, it seems aggressive. Other times, it seems more like play. Only they know. Click on pictures to enlarge.

RT Hummingbird

© Chris Taylor

RT Hummingbird

© Chris Taylor

RT Hummingbird

© Chris Taylor

RT Hummingbird

© Chris Taylor

RT Hummingbird

© Chris Taylor

RT Hummingbird

© Chris Taylor

Content Protection by DMCA.com

2016 Spring Yard-Birds

I never mean to wait this long to post. Here are a few of our year-round residents and spring visitors. Most of these are mid-May through mid-June. Click on pictures to enlarge.

Brown thrasher with peanut

© Chris Taylor

Rose-breasted grosbeak

© Chris Taylor

House finches

© Chris Taylor

Orioles

© Chris Taylor

Orchard oriole

© Chris Taylor

Orioles

© Chris Taylor

Gray catbird

© Chris Taylor

Male northern cardinal

© Chris Taylor

Content Protection by DMCA.com

Busy Wetlands

It has been a busy few days at the Wakarusa Wetlands. The wet, cool weather has been especially good for early morning walks. Shorebirds are arriving in abundance and year-round residents are busy staking out territory, courting, and gathering nest materials. Click on pictures to enlarge.

Common yellow-throat warbler

© Chris Taylor

Goslings

© Chris Taylor

White-crowned sparrow

© Chris Taylor

Caspian tern

© Chris Taylor

Cormorants

© Chris Taylor

Egret and terns

© Chris Taylor

Western kingbird

© Chris Taylor

Content Protection by DMCA.com

Cooper’s and Coyotes

It was a morning of coyotes and Cooper’s hawks. I took a walk through the Wakarusa Wetlands and it was relatively quiet until I ran into this beautiful coyote on my way back to the car. When I got home, I noticed the quiet immediately as I got out of the car, and the fact that no robins there to greet me looking for raisins. Sure enough, there was our neighborhood Cooper’s hawk sitting on the ground directly behind the brush pile (designed to give the birds some cover). Click on pictures to enlarge.

Cooper's hawk

© Chris Taylor

Cooper's hawk

© Chris Taylor

Coyote

© Chris Taylor

Coyote

© Chris Taylor

Content Protection by DMCA.com

Coyotes at Clinton

I went out to Clinton Lake this morning. It was a frisky (thankfully, not much wind!), but I am so glad I went. I was just thinking about how I had not seen any coyotes this winter, and there they were. So beautiful! Click on pictures to enlarge.

Coyote

© Chris Taylor

Coyote

© Chris Taylor

Coyote

© Chris Taylor

Content Protection by DMCA.com