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Marsh Musings

The marsh is starting to hum a little bit. Fall migration is starting and seems to be heading toward a large number and species of birds. I saw baby teal in the marsh yesterday. The pelicans are really showing off and the night herons and ibis are very plentiful. It’s not that long until teal season will be here.  

This Black-crowned Night Heron sitting on the machinery at the Bottoms is a signal for us. The machinery at the Bottoms is ancient. I have watched our friends work on this equipment and such for years now. We have reached a tipping point — if we all don’t get in the game we will lose a lot of habitat to cattails and phragmites. KDWPT has received a federal aid grant to replace/add water pumps, structures to manage water and replace worn-out tractors, sprayers, etc that are failing.  

Kansas Ducks Unlimited has started a two-year campaign (titled Bring Back the Bottoms) to raise an additional $300,000 to leverage the federal grant funds. This is a huge opportunity for us in the hunting and birding community to step up and make a difference. Major DU Sponsors are aiming at a donation of $10,000 over 5 years that can be specifically directed to the “Bring Back the Bottoms” campaign which gives local control over our donations. There are multiple levels of donations to accommodate all of the folks who want to help. I personally plan to donate pictures of our marsh and its inhabitants for DU to sell and specifically target this project. If you have any pictures in mind that I have in my library please let me know. I am all in to support this project. There will be a kick-off dinner at Camp Aldrich on Aug. 15 — please plan to show up and join in making our marsh the best it can be. Kansas DU will also sponsor a dinner in Kansas City in December of 2019. Curtis Wolf at KWEC is treasurer of this event and can give specific info. Call him at 785-623-3189. Thanks for all that our hunting and Birding community does to support our great marsh!

Heat and rain don’t seem to bother the migrants in our marsh. The cattle egrets are here in large numbers following the herd and tractors. There are still lots of gulls and terns. I think there are more Great Blue Herons than I can recall. The shore birds are showing up and love the mud flats that are exposed as work on moving water ramps up. The mosquitoes aren’t too bad, the birds aren’t bashful, and viewing and photography are good. Go look them over!


Doctor Dan Witt is a retired physician and nature enthusiast.