I finally decided to replace my now very old Canon 5D Mark ii. The 5D has been a remarkable camera. It has been reliable in all the Kansas weather extremes, and I’ve dropped it more than once. This camera has been a hard worker for about 12 years. I’m trying out the Canon EOS R. While I have not been able to spend as much time with it as I would like, so far, it takes some pretty sharp pics. I can’t wait to be out more when the weather cools off a bit!
Seeing thousands of blackbirds taking off this morning with the big, beautiful moon in the background was incredible. I wish I’d had more time for setting up the shot, but that’s rarely possible with wildlife photography, and that’s just one of the beautiful things about it.
I have not been out as much as I would like between the extreme cold and the extreme work. I love arriving at the Wakarusa Wetlands early enough to see the blackbirds taking off. Now they are staking out territory for nesting. Looking forward to spring and everyone it brings. I am still posting one picture a day on Twitter to raise awareness of our vanishing wildlife: https://twitter.com/LillyCTaylor/status/975320248428781568
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.
The area I used to visit three or four times a week at the Wakarusa Wetlands is open again. While I did not venture north to areas most affected by the construction, I was overjoyed to go back in to my usual spots. The mitigation areas looked very good from what I could see. The newer Maple Marsh, Ibis Swale, Duck Lake, and Shorebird Shallows were all busy with geese, grebes, gulls, and assorted ducks (many mallards, Northern shovelers, and teal). Killdeer were all along the edges. I did not get a lot of pictures this morning, but I saw a beaver, mink, and muskrat from a distance as well as a big group of deer. I am trying to stay positive, but do worry about how all of the proposed development along 31st is going to affect this area. It looks like there is one path that goes under the highway where Louisiana Street was. I hope that once the highway is finished and heavily traveled that animals use that. I could not see from where I was how that all works, but I am keeping my fingers crossed. An updated map can be found, here: http://www.bakeru.edu/images/pdf/About/Wetlands/Wetlands_Area_Mapweb.pdf
After all this rain of late, the Wakarusa Wetlands are indeed wet, and muddy. Some of my favorite walks have been on these chilly spring mornings. Yesterday, it was so foggy when I got there I could not see very far in front of me, so I moved a bit more slowly to make sure I did not surprise any deer or coyotes. Really, I am sure they know I am coming long before I see them, so it is me that gets the surprise. The fog is mysterious, a little scary, and beautiful. Click on pictures to enlarge.
Once the fog cleared, the sun provided some amazing light. A mink came swimming by and a harrier swooped along the top of the tall grass.
I could not resist stopping by for a few minutes again this morning. Coots were exploring, the Eastern phoebe was guarding the gate, and the turtles were sunning.
He stayed in this position singing his heart out for quite a while. Click on pictures to enlarge.
While it hasn’t started snowing yet, the rain and sleet have arrived. I went out to the yard to take a few pictures and noticed little bits of green poking out. Click on pictures to enlarge.