Bald Eagles & More

Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge

Early Morning Flight
Early Morning Flight

Well, it’s that time of the year to go to Squaw Creek to see the eagles again.  I’ve gone there the last two Mondays is a row.  The water level is much better this year so there’s more to see. The first Monday was warm and there were a lot of Snow Geese.

Getting up at dawn!
Getting up at dawn!

But, almost no one talks about the swans.

Swans

Beautiful Swans

And Coots. As I mentioned on Facebook where I first posted this next picture, Coots get no respect but I really like them.  This one has a friend!

Yup! that's my friend Gibby Grebe!

Yup! that’s my friend Gabbie Grebe!

Because it was still warm, these guys were still sunning themselves.

Oh, does that sun feel good!

Oh, does that sun feel soooo good!

Last Monday it was a bit colder. It had been below freezing the previous couple of days so much of the water was frozen.  Many of the geese had moved to open water elsewhere but the mallards were still on some small areas of open water on the refuge.

Only about 49,720 Mallards
Only about 49,720 Mallards

I saw a lot of Herons but they all looked very cold to me.

It's too hard to fish in this very hard water!
It’s too hard to fish in this very hard water!

Here’s another one that looks cold and a little confused!

I didn't know I could walk on water!
I didn’t know I could walk on water!

I hardly ever go to Squaw Creek without seeing several White-tailed Bucks.  There was a much larger one but he wouldn’t cooperate to have his picture taken. These two young bucks walked towards me as if to see what was going on.

Hey buddy! Just what is that?
Hey buddy!  Just what is that thing your holding?

Of course you’ll see a lot of hawks there too.

It was looking for lunch!

It was looking for lunch!

But….. I’ll bet you never thought you’d see one of these………

The very rare.... No Head Eagle!
The very rare…. It’s a No Headed Eagle!

It was turning rather sharply which gives the allusion of no head. I think it’s a cool capture though!  😉

If you’d like to see some additional Bald Eagle pictures, go to the top of this blog. Click on Portfolio.  The first portfolio will include new eagle pictures from my two recent trips to Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge.

You All Come Back!
You All Come Back!

Thanks for coming!  Hope you enjoyed the trip!

Bill

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

Bald Eagles at Squaw Creek, Missouri

 

If you would like to see more recent photos of bald eagles see my post Bald Eagles of Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge at: http://wp.me/p1VR8B-rN

The last couple of years, I’ve gone to Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge in Missouri on the Monday before Thanksgiving to take images of bald eagles. It is a 7,350 acre refuge that was established in 1935.  This time of the year, hundreds of thousands of geese and ducks stop to rest on their migration south.  Monday’s count was over 203,000 geese and 90,000 ducks. A lot fewer than the 1,200,000 that I’ve seen there in the past. It just hasn’t been cold enough for most of them to migrate yet

Just a few geese

Bald Eagles follow the migration to feed on the sick and injured. According to Refuge count on Monday the 21st, there was only 1 adult and 23 immature eagles but I saw 4 adults and 18 immature ones. Mature eagles heads and tails turn white around age 4 or 5. Below is an image of one of the 4 that I saw.  There were 2 adults in the same tree but the sun was directly behind them!  Because of that, there was no way to get a decent shot so I didn’t try to take it.

Just 1 of 4 Bald Eagles

The first weekend in December the Refuge hosts Eagle Days. There may be as many as 150 to 300 eagles there at that time. I’ll be there with a group. Because of the crowd of people on Eagles Day, the eagles become nervous and fly away as you try to approach them. You can still see them but often at quite a distance. That’s the reason I like to go the Monday before Thanksgiving.

Oh, you will see many other raptors there as well.  I took a number of pictures of them too. Most are red-tailed hawks. However, I did get lucky and saw what I thought to be a prairie falcon swoop down to get it’s prey.  That was very cool!

Just before I left, I counted 30 deer all yarded up in the same field. There were so many that I couldn’t get them all in the viewfinder at one time but I did manage to get 18 of them in one image.  Can you tell which one is the only buck in the herd?

Only 18 of the 30 seen all together

He is the 4th one from the left. Be careful when you count. You may miss one. He’s the first one that is facing to the right.

I’ve added a new gallery for Squaw Creek above. The first 5 images were taken in the Spring. All the rest were taken this past Monday.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the blog and the images in the gallery.  Thanks for coming. Comments are welcomed.

Bill

 

So Kansas Is Flat!

Most people think Kansas is really…… flat. Well, there might just be a few surprises.  Some of you have heard of the Kansas Flint Hills but many have not ventured to the very western part of the state.  Yes, it is very flat in that part of the state.  However, if you venture down the long dusty road pictured below,

The Long Dusty Road

and after you think that you’re really lost this time for sure, you’ll find some very interesting formations. First, you’ll see

What happened to the Flat Land?

followed by what you came looking for all the while, Monument Rocks. This landmark is on private land but the owners are generous to share it with the public.  These limestone formations were formed 80 million years ago and were once the floor of a vast inland sea.

Monument Rocks

 

The image below shows my car as a reference to how tall these “rocks” are.  They’re about 70 feet tall and you can walk right up to them. As a testament to the people that visit, I saw no graffiti which is refreshing.

They are tall

 

Not too far from Monument Rock, you’ll find another surprise. It’s an oasis called Lake Scott State Park and Wildlife Area.  The flat plains drop to this startling oasis with natural springs, deep wooded canyons and craggy bluffs.

Lake Scott

While I had a bobcat visit my camp, I also saw many of these circling above. They’re turkey vultures. I kept wondering if they were trying to tell me something!!!

Turkey Vulture

I also saw the weirdest bison, I’ve ever seen. The owners claimed them to be purebred bison or American Buffalo but they look like Beefalo to me.  What do you think?

American Bison or Beefalo?

Oh, by the way, Lake Scott is rich in Kansas history too. Several Indian tribes have occupied the area. Indians reported French fur traders at the settlement in 1727.  Not more than a stones throw away, the last white casualty of the Indian Wars in Kansas, Colonel William H. Lewis, was wounded and later died while trying to round up some Cheyenne men, women children who had escaped a reservation in Oklahoma as they were crossing through the area.

And you thought that western Kansas was just flat cattle country. I hope you’ve enjoyed the images and the little bit of history along with them.

Hope you come back again!

Bill

Something New on Saturday

I’ve always wanted to attend a Native American
Pow Wow or Festival. Well, I had a chance on Saturday to go to the KC Indian Art Market and Cultural Festival at the Line Creek Community Center.  It was wonderful!

They had many tables set up in a large tent where people from different tribes offered for sale a variety of beautifully hand crafted art, jewelry and other Native American goods.

Below is an image of Mr. Dennis Rogers. Mr. Rogers is a world famous Navajo dancer and storyteller.  He started the program with a beautiful prayer and Blessing.

Mr. Dennis Rogers
Mr. Dennis Rogers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He told stories both verbally and through his magnificent dancing. He had the audience captivated.  Below are some of his dance moves. I especially liked his hoop dancing.

Telling a story through dancing
Captivating the audiance

Hoop Dance (I believe this depicts Mother Earth)

Next we enjoyed the mellow and magnificent sounds of the flute played by Mr. Terry Lee Whetstone.  WOW!  You really had to be there.  Words just do not describe how truly beautiful it was.  He played quite a number of different types of flutes some made from horns of animals.

Mr. Terry Lee Whetstone
Making a magical sound from the horn of an animal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr Terry Lee Whetstone....The profile of a Master!

We were also entertained by the Haskell Intertribal Cultural Club. They were dressed in their tribal dress and attire. They were all different and very colorful.  Each person told us about the significance of their attire. Unfortunately, I was not fast enough to get each person’s permission to post their pictures here. However, I did get the permission from the person dancing below. I believe his name is Waylon.

One of the Haskell Intertribal Cultural Club Dancers

Of course there had to be a dedicated storyteller. Meet Christine Freeman. She was telling stories most of the day in the tipi that is at the beginning of this post.

She is a wonderful storyteller and connected with not only the children but with the adults as well.  I felt a special connection with her myself. She wanted to be sure that I always had a bit of Mother Earth with me for many nice reasons. Too many to mention here.  She gave me a beautiful red stone made of glass.  We all know that glass comes from sand……and…..sand is part of Mother Earth.  I will carry it with me.  Thank you Christine!

Everyone was very friendly and the stories all had important lessons about life and nature. What a great way to spend the day.

Well, I guess that you can tell from this long post that I had a great time. If you’ve never gone to one of these events, you should put it on your “Bucket List” to go to at least one. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the images and my rambling.  Please come back and stay tuned!

Bill

Just a few more from Yellowstone then we’ll move on

Sometimes you just have to take the image because it grabs you. That’s the case with the image below. It’s a quiet spot less than a mile from where I camped. I think it’s the clouds that make the scene.

Quiet Pond at Dusk

The weather forecasters called for a 20% chance of thunder storms each day. They were pretty accurate!  We’d have a clash of lightning followed by thunder and then a few minutes of sprinkles. This next image might give a visual of what it was like.

It's all in the Clouds!

In a previous post, I showed an image of Old Faithful. The image below was taken on the opposite side of where that one was taken.  The light is much better in this image. I just love the highlights. …….. I’m still learning!

Old Faithful in Good Light!

The image below was taken in the Midway Geyser Basin area. I was trying to take a picture of the Grand Prismatic Spring but the fog from it was blowing right in my face so I had to settle for this pool.  Sorry, I don’t know the name of it but it’s still beautiful.

A Pool Circled in Gold!

Remember the picture of the elk in the river?  Well, this is part of his harem and what he was guarding.

Mom & Baby Elk

The kid below was hiding so well that I almost didn’t see it. They really blend in well with the sagebrush!  It was with the Bighorn Ram that I posted earlier.

Bighorn Kid

I hope you’ve enjoyed these images from Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. They are such wonderful places. I may go back again next year.  I still haven’t gotten the image of the big moose that I have in my mind’s eye. We’ll see!

Well, that’s it for now. It’s time to move on to fall colors around home.  In a month or so, I’ll  be heading to Squaw Creek to see if I can get some decent images of Bald Eagles. So, please stay tuned and….. Thanks for coming!

PS: I’m still working on that gallery. It’s not quite as easy to set up the way I would like as I first thought but I’ll figure it out!

Bye! ……

Hello again! Just a few more images from Grand Teton NP

The image below is for all of you that like the color blue. I think it’s a bit too blue but it’s what I saw that morning.

Blue Reflections

If you look closely to the left of the image below, you’ll see what I believe to be the bunk house in the shadow of the mountains.

The Bunk House

Now remember that I said on a previous post that I hiked in 1.7 miles in the very early morning to get images of moose before the passenger boat arrived?  Well, this is what I saw just before the boat got there.

Moose in the Very Early Morning
Moose in the early morning

On my way back from taking the image above, I saw a female osprey fly to her nest with a fish to feed her two young chicks.  The previous osprey image that I posted was taken about two and a half hours after this one when the male returned with a fish.  Sorry, I just couldn’t resist posting this image too.

Female Osprey feeding her young

That’s it for now. Still working on putting a gallery together.

Thanks for coming!

Well, I’m back!

I’m back home now and have more than 2300 images to go through.  I thought that I’d share a few highlights. The previous images were all taken in Grand Teton NP.  All but the last one in this post were taken in Yellowstone.

This Big Boy was standing guard over his harem which included a couple of young.  I was on my way to West Yellowstone early in the morning when I saw him.  I always feel so lucky to get a shot like this.

This big boy was actually protecting his harem which included a couple of yourg
Big Boy in the River

The next morning, I headed to Lamar Valley where there are hundreds of bison. I always try to leave camp long before the sun comes up to catch the early morning glow.

Because they were up on ridge, I hiked out to get some shots of the herd with the hills in the background.  As I did so, they started to move towards me so I had to scurry back towards my car. The above was taken just before they crossed the road in front of me.

Who's really in charge here?

This bison must have known that he was holding up traffic.  As you can see, he’s sticking his tongue out as he’s crossing the road right in front of me!

The following day, I went to Gardiner which is 5 miles north of the park to do some laundry and to get something good to eat.  Had the best grilled cheese sandwich and onion rings ever!  On the way back, I saw several big horned sheep right at mid day.  Now this guy doesn’t have really impressive horns but he seems to be doing alright because he had a couple of ewes with him.

This last picture is for all you horse lovers out there.  It was taken as I was heading home. I decided to go through Teton NP to Jackson on my way to the Teton Raptor Center. This was such a beautiful scene with the low clouds and fog that I had to stop to take the shot.

Horses grazing in the morning

Well, that’s it for now.  I hope you’ve enjoyed these images.  I’ll post more as I go through the rest of the 2300.  My goal is to have them sorted in a real gallery.  It might take a while for me to figure that out so, please stay tuned.

Thanks for coming!