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