CHEYENNE BOTTOMS — I learned some significant things on my outing with Eric Giesing and Dr. Dan Witt at Cheyenne Bottoms this week.
After reading every Marsh Musings written by the two, I immediately jumped at the chance to go to the Bottoms with the two of them just to have a little of the fun that they seemed to have watching the wonderful wildlife we have to enjoy right here on the prairie.
After a little bit of a late start, every expectation I had was fulfilled. Much needed rain had greened up the area, and the grey, overcast sky kept away other visitors of the human variety. It also made for grand picture taking.
With observant eyes sharpened from years of watching small movements, the two showed me so much more than I could ever experience on my own in the rain-dampened quiet. The sounds of silence were only broken by the squawk of birds.
The largest green frog I have ever seen in my life barely exposed his head above the water while a swimming snake ripped through the canal, all things I would have missed had I been on my own.
Many birds grow a white patch on their face during mating season, such as teal, I learned from my teachers.
Wildlife has so much to teach as they follow the rhythms of instinct, reminding me of God and of the smallness of myself, tying me once again to this earth.
Every bird, even in the same variety, is different like the men I was with. One was young, seeking new experiences, knowing so much but with much to learn and one older, who knows that the peace of nature owns a piece of his heart, much as it owns a piece of mine.
The water line of the Bottoms had dropped 20 feet in three days after evaporating out Eric told me. Several ponds at the Bottoms are empty this spring due to the drought.
We saw sandpipers and avocets, yellow legs and clouds of dowitchers on this day. The highlight, of course, were the nine whooping cranes, standing in two lines for reasons they only know.
We saw a fat, great blue heron catch a bullhead for dinner and many others ascend gracefully off of the water.
There is nothing better than spending the afternoon in the peaceful harmony of good, kind friends and of nature and of musings of my own.