I think that we don’t think enough about the impact of our Wetlands on the big picture of birding and hunting in our area. In the past month, I have had turkey hunters from Canada (efficiently shooting traditional archery) and a new birding friend from Wisconsin who called KWEC and requested taxi service for a day of birding after completing a day of business in our community. His business project will benefit all of us and he is very pleased with the progress which will be a topic of business news very soon. We had a terrific day and he loved the Avocets, Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, and the Mississippi Kites nesting around the cemetery. He got to hold a rat snake at KWEC with students from Ellsworth. Since my taxi doesn’t qualify for fares or tips, he made a very substantial donation to Pam’s butterfly project at KWEC and we are all grateful. We dined at three places and he stayed at a local motel. I have no idea how much money the Canadians put into our community. The Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira Refuge attract so many people. The current migration is going gang-busters, and I have met several people with amazing credentials in the world of wildlife observation and management who are travelers from other states and countries. It continues to strengthen my certainty of the decision Sandra and I made in 1990 when we moved here, and to continue our lives in this area since retiring five years ago. Has it really been that long?
We have beautiful water and birds at the Bottoms and Quivira. Avocets, Phalaropes, Ibis, egrets, and babies of several species are growing like weeds. The mosquito population is substantial and eager to invade vehicles and nostrils. The Black Terns and Swallows enjoy the feast. It is pure magic in motion when those birds are swooping and diving in their feeding process. Memorable photographs happen in the slanted light of early morning or late afternoon. Sitting silently and listening to the bird calls is certainly a peaceful way to end the day five minutes from home. We are so fortunate!
Check out the bird list at KWEC. It is updated daily and the numbers and species have been stunning. One of the more beautiful birds is the Godwit. There are two types and both are here in big numbers. I have never seen this many Phalaropes in any migration. They spin and sweep in their feeding process—I wish I could show you video—and they are striking in appearance. I haven’t seen the strange White Ibis that is visiting for several days now. I still see the snow geese, but haven’t observed the White-front for a couple of weeks. The Rails and secretive night herons are showing up and there are a few snakes out and about. Be careful with them—they have their place.
The colors and sounds of our marsh are peaking and I hope all of you sample the joy and peace of our special place in Kansas. We are certainly gifted!