Hello, and thanks for paying a visit. This final post from our September 2014 trip to the west will focus on a few highlights from a couple of spots in central Kansas, Quivera NWR and Cheyenne Bottoms, or what I like to call the birding Mecca of the central plains. I apologize for the grey shots, but during the far too few hours we spent here, we were given mostly heavy overcast skies.
These two locations and their combined 60,00+ acres are incredibly important for nearly 400 species of birds. The vast wetlands of Cheyenne Bottoms and the salt marsh and sand prairie habitats of Quivera NWR provide habitat for breading birds such as the endangered interior populations of the Least Tern, pictured above. Other nesting birds, which utilize these habitats, include Swainson’s Hawks, Mississippi Kites, Snowy Plover, American Avocet and White-faced Ibis.
With most of my birding experiences restricted to the southern half of the Show-me State, some of what I observed simply shocked me. Observing hundreds of the American Avocet was something I could not have imagined previously.
Also found in the hundreds, White-faced Ibis were as common as gulls!
Referred to by someone as an inverse sunflower, I found the YHBB to be stunning, even if they were in their off-season plumage.
Numerous Franklin’s Gulls were a nice surprise. Oh, how a trip in every season is critical at these locations!
Just to show we were interested in more than just birds… I am sure the coyotes make quite a living on these habitats.
What an unexpected treat. My first non-winter Merlin.
Wilson’s Phaleropes were found in the dozens among the big and little marshes of Quivera NWR.
As cute as any terrier that ever was, a lone Willet patiently posed for me. And finally, a Ring-neck Pheasant hen showed me her backside during the our evening visit to Cheyenne Bottoms. Until next time…