I do my best to let our yard be natural, only doing what is required to keep us out of trouble with the city. This fall, I have had to do a lot of trimming of bushes and small trees along our fence that were getting close to the power lines. If I don’t trim it down, Westar will, and they will do it in the spring when birds have already nested and baby rabbits are hiding under the bushes. I try to be proactive, so they have few reasons to stomp around the yard. All of this means that the brush pile I have been adding to is much bigger this year. The white-throated sparrows seem to be loving it, and with two Cooper’s hawks, a merlin, and at least three free-roaming cats, it is much needed cover.
Finally, I am getting around to getting out to the Wetlands a bit more regularly. I always look forward to cold mornings when there are just a few humans on the paths. We nod at each other and sometimes share our stories of who we have been seeing. It is a kind of quiet community, and I would venture to say, one that brings some peace to many of us worrying about the current state of things. While we may not know what is coming, one thing I am sure about is my commitment to keep sharing and hoping more humans pay attention. Click on pictures to enlarge.
Not a great a picture, but I wanted to share this because I think this bald eagle couple might be contemplating a nest here. This would be a wonderful addition to the wetlands, and it looks like good real estate!
Northern Harrier trying to outmaneuver a group of sandpipers and a killdeer. They got away.
Deer and coyotes.
Bluebirds, goldfinches, and herons, oh my.
The Northern Harriers are back in all of their amazingness. I love watching them skim along the top of the grass. Yesterday, it was especially fun to watch how they were using the wind to their advantage by facing into it, and hovering almost motionless just inches from the ground. This morning, I was taking pictures of the sunrise from behind the tall grass and one was hovering right in front of me. Unfortunately, since the sun was behind him, I did not get much detail of his amazing face, but it certainly was fun to watch him so closely. Click on pictures to enlarge.
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.
Click on pictures to enlarge.
Much to the dismay of all the little birds enjoying our feeders, the Cooper’s has been hanging out in the yard just about every day the past couple of weeks. Click on pictures to enlarge.
Sitting in the backyard is so much better than television! Click on pictures to enlarge.
And, don’t forget the mammals.
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”
I was walking in the woods at the lake this morning and found a dead red-tailed hawk along the edge of the trees. From what I could tell, it looked like she had been shot. She was still clutching a small branch that I imagine broke off as she fell. I said a few words and covered her with some leaves and sticks so she will be out of sight of humans, but can peacefully become food for others and part of the earth. I think about all of the red-tails I have come into contact over the years, the joy of watching them fly, and the thoughtfulness of their eyes. Rest in peace.