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 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.
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I saw a gull dive-bombing grebes for their fish. It does not seem like it would be a very productive activity for gulls since grebes can stay under water for a very very long time. Click on pictures to enlarge.
Yesterday, I had a wonderful morning walking the Wakarusa Wetlands and was happy to see an egret had arrived. I decided with all this beautiful weather, this week, I work nights. I went back this morning and as I was coming down the path, seven egrets and five great blue herons came sailing in. It was magical! I was also privileged to see a host of little blue herons, green herons, blue and green-winged teal, grebes, and even a white-faced ibis. Click on pictures to enlarge.
These are from a very good Wakarusa wetlands walk on the morning of May 22 (sorry about the delay in posting). On this morning, I also visited the “new” area, where I discovered quite a few goslings. Click on pictures to enlarge.
I love grebes! They are just the cutest. I’m used to seeing pied-billed grebes around Lawrence (this one was near the 31st street entrance of the Wakarusa Wetlands), but I was more recently privileged to see a couple of horned grebes at Clinton. What a treat! I wish the picture quality was better on the horned-grebes, but it was a super cloudy day. Click on pictures to enlarge.
I love grebes. I love seeing them in intimate pairs like these two and their thoughtful expressions are extraordinary. Sadly, many grebe populations are threatened by pollution and disturbance of habitat. They are particularly in danger from oil spills. Click on pictures to enlarge.
I spend a few hours at the Wakarusa wetlands this morning. It started out pretty foggy, but once the sun came out, it was a very nice morning. Click on pictures to enlarge.