There are so many things that happen in the spring. Ours is finally here with the right “feel” in the air.
In the domestic arena, the grass needs mowing, asparagus is producing, garden plants are being planted, and golf clubs are being dusted off. Kids are in track, baseball and tennis and are thinking about summer vacation. We renew our relationship with our neighbors and talk about how nice the weather is, how hard the wind blows, and how we hope the tornadoes skip us this year.
In the outdoor world, things are also starting to accelerate. Contrary to popular belief, fishing is not particularly “better” in the spring. It is just more comfortable to fish in warm weather. Crappie are more congregated and predictable through the ice, but ice is too unpredictable for most of us. Turkey season, the white bass spawn up the Saline and Smokey Hill rivers, and morel mushrooms making their annual appearance seem to mark the presence of spring in my mind.
The annual spring bird migration is the big event at the Bottoms and Quivira. Robins are here and making nests. The owls and eagles already have babies. Their breeding season is different from the other birds. Great horned owls lay their eggs in late January and incubate for 28 days. I’m sure a lot of you watch the eagle cams and follow those babies. Shore birds are HERE at the Bottoms as we speak! I have seen plovers, avocets, sandpipers, yellowlegs, ibis, egrets and herons. Ducks and geese have moved on or are starting to nest. I don’t know why one mallard goes to Canada and another one breeds and has babies at the Bottoms. That is another subject for me to discuss with my smart birding friends. Karl is moving water into the main conservation pool to save as much as we can. We always need rain…. The whooping cranes and sandhill cranes are past our area now. It is a gift to be able to see them in their urgent travels. We will start to see upland sandpipers sitting on fence posts very soon. Pheasants are breeding and the cocks are sparring for supremacy. The prairie chickens are winding down their courting rituals. That is a sight that most never see—but you can do it if you call KWEC and go with them to a lek. I continue to be amazed at the outdoor opportunities we have through the energy, goodness and wisdom of those wonderful people.
Take the time to go see the beauty and abundance of wildlife at the Bottoms and Quivira. The landscape is different at both places, and it is a mistake not to see each of them-especially this time of year. You will probably see a vehicle with a big lens sticking out the window—stop and say “Hi” and we will visit!
Doc Witt is an avid outdoorsman and retired physician.