Time for Brush Piles

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.

white-throated sparrow on brush pile

© Chris Taylor

Cooper's hawk on brush pile.

© Chris Taylor

White-throated sparrow on brush pile.

© Chris Taylor

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Wetlands Updates

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!

Bald eagles

© Chris Taylor

Northern Harrier trying to outmaneuver a group of sandpipers and a killdeer. They got away.

Northern Harrier

© Chris Taylor

Deer and coyotes.

Deer

© Chris Taylor

Coyote

© Chris Taylor

Coyote

© Chris Taylor

Bluebirds, goldfinches, and herons, oh my.

Eastern bluebird

© Chris Taylor

Eastern bluebird

© Chris Taylor

American goldfinch

© Chris Taylor

American goldfinch

© Chris Taylor

Great blue heron

© Chris Taylor

Great blue heron

© Chris Taylor

Wakarusa Wetlands

© Chris Taylor

 

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Northern Harriers

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.

Northern Harrier

© Chris Taylor

Northern Harrier

© Chris Taylor

Northern Harrier

© Chris Taylor

Northern Harrier

© Chris Taylor

Northern Harrier

© Chris Taylor

Northern Harrier

© Chris Taylor

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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

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Celebrating backyard birds

Sitting in the backyard is so much better than television! Click on pictures to enlarge.

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

And, don’t forget the mammals.

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

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Morning hawk

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.

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

Excellent article in the Huffington Post

“Kansas Highway Construction May Unearth Human Remains”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-smarsh/kansas-highway-construction_b_4164775.html

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Wetlands Solidarity March

There will be a wetlands solidarity march on the University of Kansas campus Monday, April 14 at 11:15 AM. For more info, visit the Facebook page and wetlands history.

Stop this.

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

Save this.

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

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Rest in peace, red-tailed hawk

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.

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

 

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