We have been in Kansas City for the past week visiting friends and family and dining out a bit and hitting some golf balls.
It has certainly rained a lot while we were gone. The Bottoms have regained a lot of water, but are still not full. The drought was a terrible thing for our wetlands. Karl called me while we were out of town and reported a Brown Pelican in the marsh with our regular white pelicans . A couple of weeks ago, we had some black-bellied whistling ducks come through.
There have been some very unusual characters end up here on occasion-- roseate spoonbills, various sea ducks, odd storks-- and I started to wonder why would a odd bird (or critter for that matter) stray that far off the beaten path. We had a bull elk wandering the Bottoms not too long ago, and a tagged lynx was caught in Great Bend. Snowy owls are thousands of miles from home.
I did a little bit of Google research and the two “stock” answers are bad weather which blows them off course, and a change in food supply that alters migratory patterns. I think that is true for the Snowy owls. I have more questions than answers-- I know I should talk to Rob and Karl and Charlie-- but it seems unlikely to me that a single bird or critter would be alone in making a huge lunge like that out of their normal spots. I am betting that some of you know things about this, and I hope you will share the info with all of us.
It is certainly different to have the mosquitoes back and standing water in the fields and ditches. I heard a couple of farmers fussing about mud and combines-- their conversation brought back memories of my younger days when I cut wheat all the way to Canada with a guy from Groom, Texas(my home town) named Cornelius Weiberg who tried to find a new way to kill me about every day of that traveling Baldwin/Gleaner harvest job. The wonderful ladies in Kansas fed us better than anywhere else, and kids working harvest can eat quite a bit. I remember the pies and cucumber salad with onions and cream, carrot salad and my first bierock.....
Just a quick update on Clyde-- I saw him last week before we left for KC. I have not seen him since returning-- but I did see a doe with twin fawns Wednesday morning standing knee deep in water in Pool 2. It has occurred to me that “Clyde” might be “Claudia” which would easily explain the toughness and ability to survive much better than sissy boys....
The marsh is relatively quiet right now-- a few herons and egrets and ducks-- and if you have any questions at all for clouds of mosquitoes-- now is the time!!!
Doc Witt is a retired physician and avid photographer.