Ozark Bill Travels West – Part Four – Quivira NWR & Cheyenne Bottoms

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.

Least Tern
Least Tern

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.

American Avocet
American Avocet

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.

White-faced Ibis
White-faced Ibis

Also found in the hundreds, White-faced Ibis were as common as gulls!

Yellow-headed Blackbird
Yellow-headed Blackbird

Referred to by someone as an inverse sunflower, I found the YHBB to be stunning, even if they were in their off-season plumage.

Franklin's Gulls
Franklin’s Gulls

Numerous Franklin’s Gulls were a nice surprise.  Oh, how a trip in every season is critical at these locations!

Coyote Bird
Coyote Bird

Just to show we were interested in more than just birds…  I am sure the coyotes make quite a living on these habitats.

Merlin
Merlin

What an unexpected treat.  My first non-winter Merlin.

Wilson's Phalerope
Wilson’s Phalerope

Wilson’s Phaleropes were found in the dozens among the big and little marshes of Quivera NWR.

Willet
Willet

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…

Ring-necked Pheasant
Ring-necked Pheasant

 

 

 

 

 

 

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