So wonderful to see this group of American Avocets at the wetlands this morning! They are a bit hard to see, but there are also some Wilson’s Phalarope in the mix. It was a cold, wet, windy morning, so the pelicans were hanging out pretty close together. I also saw my first sora of the season. I have been hearing them, but this was the first good look. Click on pictures to enlarge.
I see them frequently at the wetlands, but this one let me get some decent pictures. Nice to get a closer look! Click to enlarge.
A morning at the wetlands without coyote sightings is always a bit disappointing. They are just so amazing. I am always looking for them and if I wait long enough, I can usually spot one watching me from a safe distance. They always stop and look for a while, we acknowledge each other, and then they go back to what they were doing. I imagine they have a pretty good sense of who they should worry about and that is certainly a good thing with so many people out to get them. Cloudy days are great for seeing them, but not so great for pictures. Click on pictures to enlarge.
Doing my part to upset the beavers. There was a great deal of tail-slapping going on, so I took the hint and went on my way. Click on pictures to enlarge.
I particularly want to highlight coyotes because they are in more danger than ever from this administration and wildlife “management” agencies propelled by junk science and blood lust who think they have a mandate for destruction. An administration hell bent on plundering natural resources and destroying more public land for animal agriculture is going to be even worse about attempting to destroy those they see as “scavengers” or “predators.” Celebrate the coyote. Click on pictures to enlarge.
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.
It is that time of year again when I have trouble staying at my desk and getting my work done. The number of migrants at the Wakarusa Wetlands has been astounding. And, of course, the year-round residents like the deer and bald eagles are always a pleasure to see. Click on pictures to enlarge.
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.
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.
This is what progress looks like at the Wakarusa Wetlands. It is not just for the “public’s protection” that one cannot get close to many of the construction areas of the SLT (they have roads blocked way beyond the distance they need); it is important to those involved to keep images like these hidden.
On a personal note, if this all wasn’t heartbreaking enough, this is my first encounter with a Kansas badger. I knew they lived in Kansas, but I had never seen one during my wanderings before yesterday.
Click on pictures to enlarge.