Sometimes, cloudy days are the best

It was incredibly bleak and cloudy yesterday, but still a wonderful time for making a lap around the lake. Sometimes, these cloudy days when no one is around are the best.

First, we met some cedar waxwings chowing down on berries.

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

There were numerous pelicans on the water and turkeys foraging the fields.

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

A heron rookery we visited last year was very active. It looks like some of the herons might already be incubating eggs.

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

We met an amazing Canada goose. He looks like he took a bath in white paint up to his neck. This is called “leucism,” It is not harmful, just reduced pigmentation.

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

We saw snow geese and Ross’s geese.

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

An beautiful group of deer posed for a shot before taking off for the woods.

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

My favorite part of the day was watching a group of snow geese (Canada geese, blue geese, greater white-fronted geese, and Ross’s geese too!) taking off from a field. So beautiful!

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

The last stop was a bald eagles’ nest where some brooding is going on. We visited last week and both parents were feeding. The eaglets are too small to see from the road right now. Can’t wait to watch them growing up!

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

 

 

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Come back here, you whippersnapper!

I was getting out of the car at the lake this morning when these two whizzed past me. Really, it looked more like play than anything serious. It was a beautiful sunny morning and it almost seemed like I could feel everyone breathing this huge sigh after all the bleak weather of late. Everyone seemed to have more spring in their steps, or wings. They chased each other for a while then headed off in different directions. It was fun to watch. Click on picture to enlarge.

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

 

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Eagles everywhere

I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many bald eagles around Lawrence as I have this winter. I imagine it has something to do with very low temperatures in the north. Whatever the reason, I am enjoying watching them. Yesterday, they seemed to be on every tree at the lake. I witnessed some courting (locking talons and spinning downward). I saw a couple exchanging fish while in flight, which I think is also courting. I also saw an interesting game of “keep away” that involved nine eagles. While I do not know what they are thinking and communicating, I cannot describe this as anything other than play and it is wonderful to witness. Click on pictures to enlarge.

bald eagle and crow

© Chris Taylor

bald eagle in flight

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bald eagle in tree on lake

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four bald eagles

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

bald eagles exchanging fish in flight

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bald eagles at play

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bald eagles courting

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bald eagles sitting on ice

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A morning of eagles

Winters in Kansas mean bald eagles! We took a drive around the lake on Sunday morning and were delighted to find a host of bald eagles doing bald eagle things.  After the lake, we drove to our favorite bald eagle nest to see the parents back and taking care of nestorations. Click on pictures to enlarge.

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

 

 

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Hard working parents

I went to see my favorite bald eagle parents this morning. While I was there, the little ones were fed and some nestorations took place. The little ones are too small to see from the road right now, but that will not last long. If  previous years are any indication, I imagine there are two up there. Click on pictures to enlarge.

©Chris Taylor

 

©Chris Taylor

©Chris Taylor

©Chris Taylor

 

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Wakarusa Wetlands and Clinton Lake

This warm weather is incredible–and a bit scary. Who knows what is in store for us this spring. There is a lot of activity at both the Wakarusa Wetlands and Clinton Lake.  Eastern Phoebes and tree swallows are here, a bit early. I looked everywhere for ospreys today, but no luck. I did see quite a few turtles and heard many frogs. Gulls were coming over in abundance and the geese are guarding potential nesting sites.

Click on pictures to enlarge.

© Chris Taylor

 

© Chris Taylor

 

© Chris Taylor

 

The sunrises at the Wakarusa Wetlands have been spectacular.

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© Chris Taylor

 

© Chris Taylor

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Incubating time again

I arrived just in time to see the parents make the incubating switch. I can never tell which one is which unless they are sitting right next to each other (female bald eagles are generally bigger). I think mom arrived to relieve dad and he is the one sitting on the branch. I look forward to seeing how many eaglets they have this year. Click on picture to enlarge.

© Chris Taylor

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New digs

The huge and very old nearby eagles’ nest is now being used by Canada geese (smart geese!). The drought we have been in is sadly very apparent when looking at the area around this nest that used to be completely covered with water. For me, this nest is like a kind of magical symbol of the return of bald eagles.  Click on pictures to enlarge.

© Chris Taylor

 

© Chris Taylor

Here is what it looked like when we first started visiting. Click on picture to enlarge.

© Chris Taylor

The eagle couple built a new nest not far from the old one. I wonder if they saw this dry season coming and decided they had better move to a place less accessible to those who do not swim. They may have also finally tired of all the noise and trash brought by those hunting and fishing in the area. Every time I went to watch, I found tons of trash. I found shell casings, fishing line, empty food containers, a couple of busted up old televisions, and of course, beer cans. Anyway, the new nest is super cool, and super high. I’m definitely not going to tell anyone where it is. 🙂

© Chris Taylor

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It’s beginning to look a lot like winter

While I haven’t been out as much as I would like, I love seeing the arrival of our wintering friends. Bald eagles from the north are beginning to arrive and the harriers seem to be swooping low over fields everywhere I look. I saw my first group of common goldeneyes last week (there is definitely nothing common about them; they are beautiful). Young deer are looking much more grownup than a few months ago. Click on pictures to enlarge.

© Chris Taylor

 

© Chris Taylor

 

© Chris Taylor

 

© Chris Taylor

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