It certainly has been a while since an update. While I have not been able to get to the wetlands as often as I would like, when I have gone, it has been considerably quieter than usual. I meet others walking there who have had the same experience and wonder, “Where are all the birds? Where are all the mammals?” There are likely several reasons–the large number of off-leash dogs, noise from the SLT, more people using it for running and biking, and of course, climate change. I like going when the weather is bad so I can have it to myself for the most part. That’s how I got to see this amazing mink.
We are seeing quite a few juvenile ruby-throats now. After such a slow spring and summer, it is so good to see them jostling over the feeders!
The Climate Strike is a great tool to raise awareness, but among those walking out tomorrow in my hometown, the cognitive dissonance abounds. Animal agriculture is the number one contributor to climate change. Stop denying this and we might get somewhere.
Cardinal fledglings seem to be everywhere right now. I’m so glad to see so many in our yard this summer. It’s been a tough one with the heat and severe storms just about every other day, several free-roaming neighborhood cats, and a Cooper’s hawk nest nearby.
We are coming off a terrible heatwave in my part of the state. Interestingly, when it started last week, the oriole adults and fledglings just disappeared. We still have plenty of catbirds coming to the jelly feeders, but I have not seen an oriole in over a week. There have also been significantly fewer ruby-throated hummingbirds visiting this year.
I am loving the crisp mornings we’ve had the last few days. The tree swallows are here in abundance now; pied-billed grebes are popping up in all the ponds and marshes; the wood ducks are in the owl box; herons are dancing around everywhere. The moon is full and glorious.
I went for a long walk in the wetlands this morning. Just as I was leaving, a bald eagle came swirling high above. It was amazing to watch them circling lower and lower before dropping down to the water and snatching a fish with such precision. I never get tired of seeing their speed and agility. I have not pinpointed where the nest is, but I know there is one nearby.
One of the best things about cold days at the wetlands is how few humans are around. Fewer humans means I get to see more mammals, and that means coyotes. I love how they watch me from a safe distance. This one was getting ready to turn down the path I was on, saw me, thought better of it, and backed up into some brush. I stopped and waited for her thinking she would come back out and go where she needed to. Sure enough, she came out and ran off in the other direction. It is always a gift to watch them.
It was 16 degrees when I started at the wetlands this morning, so I had it to myself. I got some amazing looks at this norther harrier who landed on the pole right in front of me. It was incredible to see him fly in. He didn’t stay long, but moved to a nearby tree, did a little shrieking, and then was joined by another harrier. They took off together. Wonderful!
Check out the latest issue of The New Territory with a focus on sanctuaries. An essay on the Wakarusa Wetlands by Soren Larsen and Jay T. Johnson is included with some pictures by yours truly.
The New Territory Issue 07: