Wednesday, October 25, 2017

This Land is Your Land?

What is your dream??

This arrived in the mail the other day I've hardly put it down just drooling all over it.

on the cover the yellow billed magpie found only in central and southern Cali. 

The Costa Rica trips would be my dream first choice...$2,754 includes air fare based on double occupancy for 10 days they also provide your meals, lodging, all ground transportation, and guided bird trips with expert naturalists...They have trips going to Cuba, Mexico, the Andes, Southern Africa, One includes Victoria Falls!!  There's domestic trips too, Texas, Virginia, NC, Wisconsin,  CA and some to New Brunswick Canada.  I like that it is chock full of location information so if you find yourself in the area you will know some good spots to check for birds!  I'm holding onto this, and holding onto hope that some day   
NOW , what if the next time this catalog arrived to my mailbox and these prices have increased by 133.3%
What would I think about that?   What if the things we need to keep our modern every day life increased by that amount...say Fridges, your electric rates, groceries....what would you say about that.  Would you think it's normal? 


If by some slim chance you're into conservative politics and still read this blog, (I'd be amazed) you best leave now!  Yes I'm dead serious.  It is not my intention to insult anyone but it is my intention to fight against ideology that is in direct and blatant conflict with creating a society that is inclusive and progressive, that uses fiction not fact to make policy and is trying to destroy the Democracy and the America that our fathers and mothers have left to us to protect and to build upon and to extend into the World freedom for all.  

Because yesterday I heard this on the news:  And it's REAL news not FAKE FAUX NEWS. 
So WTF are they thinking planning to raise the entrance fee into a National Park to $70????  That's  more than double a $30 entry to $70 is an increase of 133.3% ?  Have you ever heard of such a ridiculous plan?  What if you're the only one in the car?  That is wayyyyyy too high.   We own these parks, now the current regime is trying to steal these parks right out from  under us....Clearly it is a ploy to stop visitation and to then sell off or lease out, our forced into bankruptcy and defunked National Parks and Monuments, to BIG Gas n Oil to be used up ruined and destroyed.

ZINKE has got to go...the man is a CROOK along with most all of the so called CABINET, and the man and vice man in the Oval office are liars and  crooks they do not have the best interest of Americans at heart.
So what can we do short of an uprising?  Everyone can write a letter to the NPS! At least let your voice be heard.  I've already written mine... they've already raised the Senior Pass to $80, my sis lost hers when she lost her pocketbook, so it can't be "replaced" it has to be repurchased at the new price...so TAKE good care of your pass don't lose it!
Why do I say this...okay think about it, since WHEN does the GOP care anything about our National Parks?  They have been trying to drill, frack, strip mine, and pollute the Parks all along,  and now all of a sudden they raise the fees so "The parks can be repaired, and modernized."  Yeah Right!!  It simply is not and never has been part of their agenda!!

The GOP is ruining our Nation.  REALLY!, this is good how?  Just like the EPA they have destroyed it, and now they are onto the Parks Service, they want to destroy it too.  We did nothing for so long on cleaning up the environment we were just beginning to realize the changes we needed to make, and now they are doing everything a Communist Regime would do deny the science, tell you your own eyes lie to you...and SO Many believe it, I've had people on facebook, scream at me that Climate Change is a myth....if so then why are the Glaciers melting, ever so fast, okay one guy said the Earth is cooling...it's normal, so I asked him why doesn't he sit in his garage with the door closed and the engine running then, if having all this CO2 in the air is normal, it may be normal after a huge Volcanic Event, there is nothing normal about what we are doing it is Anti-normal our job is to use our heads to Neutralize the Threat WE have Become to the Planet.  I'm not saying  we can't have modern life I'm saying we put the cart before the horse now we need to correct that.

Where will this insane type policy lead us?  We will soon be a nation of the poor down trodden, I hope somewhere a nation will open its arms to US as we USED to do for others when their government constant took away and never gave back!  Look at how they are treating Puerto Rico? A $300 million bid went to a company in MT one that Zinke has ties with and the company has only 2 full time employees, how the heck does that add up to anything but corruption???
Of course this is not the only thing they have done that made my blood boil so far EVERYTHING they've done has been in direct conflict with my thinking of what should be done, but this one has broken the camel's back so to speak.
Why do we politely say nothing?
It is UP to US to  STOP THEM!! One thing I'm doing is fight fire with fire, ActBlue is a Progressive Super Pac, they accept donations as small as $3 and you can pay via paypal, I have supported them in the past and if they can help get the right people in office it may be our only hope.

You can call me a liberal, an out of touch hippie, an opinionated lefty, but no one will call me Silent.
I will go back under my soap box for a while but I won't remain silent while parts of the Nation I love so much are dragged into darkness.
Viva' la National Park System!  We must fight to save it.



PEACE
Every day is a new Adventure.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Fall, Revisited

When I arrived home it was cool and blue sky, marvelous....then BAM...it changed,  had a couple weeks of sucky weather,  fall out from Nate. It gets really crazy during Hurricane season in the south...you never know when the weather will turn on you...I'm only just now getting a handle on all the dead wood and over grown shrubs and hedges around here.  I have been making busy with lots of  trimming of branches and other stuff...and even the gate is overgrown...

                                                      filling up the trailer with trimmings

Another chore: a large limb fell and smashed a section of my aging yard fence.  I headed to Lowes for supplies to fix it up...found out it was cheaper to buy this damaged section than to start from scratch so that's what I did...one broken picket made this 8 ft section half price...fine by me cause it will blend in better,  other sections have broken pickets...

                                                   once it's weathered it will blend right in


                                                             eastern bluebird

       I can tell from this shot the new door panels I put on the bird houses have been squirrel chewed!! WTH??

Here is another hunt n seek shot for you, the Northern Parula I mentioned,  they summer here so it's not rare to see one...but rare for me to catch a photo of one...do you see it?

                                                                female northern parula 

A DIY project I'm glad to have behind me:
The storm door that enters the screen porch had to have a doggie door.  There was an old doggie door missing the flap in the shed...my X removed the metal bottom panel of this storm door and got rid of it...so I put screen in the bottom and that worked for keeping bugs out but the dogs couldn't get out without me coming out to open it, I used to keep it slightly ajar, but then a bird got in and that was bad...so that didn't work out.  I made a new bottom section of scrap wood...and fashioned  a flap from a vinyl place mat! It works!  Another $80 saved, more like $180 in this case you can purchase a storm door sporting a doggie entrance but it is not cheap. I did it for $1 for the place mat at the Dollar Store.

                                                  dogs can get in and out and no birds and no mosquitoes 

Hard to get a crisp shot anymore with my ailing camera...even a still bird close as this Northern Cardinal is blurred! BUT for now I'm still using it! With all the car repairs I had this past year, I'm trying to wait as long as possible to replace this camera...and that means the one I want to get is getting older and cheaper :o)


              Three deer sneaked into the pasture the other day I sneaky shot of one. 

                                                               white tailed deer

So after almost 2 weeks of HOT humid horrible weather, it improved, chilled down in fact I've had to use the heat!  I'm  outside again tending to chores and cutting up firewood.  

                                                                 I have a lot in common with beavers 

Overhead I saw this Yellow Throated Warbler,  Got this really bad awful photo but at least I can add it to my yard list.  

                                                   Yellow Throated Warbler
                                                       
It was so backlit I ran it through an editing program just to see what it was...glad I did cause I thought it was a yellow rump which is pretty common here, but after the editing I could see the yellow throat, the wide bright white wing bars, and the black face line including the eye...so a new yard bird for me. Normally I see these when I walk around Goodale State Park in the spring. 

Picking birds outta the twigs is hard with any camera! 

                                                    ^ northern cardinal female  >

See that dogwood tree trying to bloom? That's how warm it got; the buds that should wait till spring started to open...the birds love the red berries in fall and that's what the cardinal is after.

I've enjoyed reconnecting with my yard birds....here's our Carolina Chickadee...looks like a Coal Tit to some of you I'm sure!


I get daily visits from our State Bird the Carolina Wren.


...here is one I don't have to go far to find, just check my feeder and he will be there the Tufted Titmouse with his ink black big eye...so much more colorful than the Juniper Titmouse I was seeing in Colorado...but not as cool looking as JO's Bridled Titmouse down in Arizona!


Another common bird (but not in large numbers in my yard) is the Eastern Phoebe...a couple have been hanging around fighting over the best mosquitoes...

e phoebe


The Eastern Phoebe

Today I was chasing Ruby Crowned Kinglets around the yard I counted 5 in the Holly bush out back...they can hover almost like a hummingbird and they are super small...


Then up on the dead limb the Red Bellied Woodpecker was knocking quite loud...pecking out bugs..this shots shows why it's called Red Bellied!  


Red Bellied Woodpecker

Wow... he is gorgeous!!

My winter yard birds have not arrived yet, it will be good to see them again!  


PEACE
Every day is a new Adventure.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

AND then Back Home...

I have been feeling pretty tired lately I'm happy to get the last of these experiences down so the history of my adventures are saved.  Now taking things a little slower this week.  Last week I burned up the daylight with catching up on outside chores, cutting grass, trimming hedges, taking 2 trailer loads of tree debris to the dump.  This year I killed my leaf blower and my hedge trimmer so new ones are sitting in cardboard boxes in the van...(birthday presents to self) I was too pooped to even bring them in and unbox them...I went with electric ones again.  I had thought I wanted cordless...but then realized when the battery refuses to recharge that is an expensive item to buy, actually as much as a new one, so I purchased the 2 yr extended warranty for $14 so I'm covered for at least 2 yrs without anymore out of pocket expense...also got a new chain for my chain saw...it's time to start sawing up and splitting some wood for the fireplace. 

Today in the yard along with the last few days of our ruby throated hummers I saw yellow billed cuckoo, and northern parula an adult female.  I'm itching to go check some of the areas south of me for shorebirds, if I wait a couple more weeks I think I'll get a bigger reward, so until then Ill share the LAST post of my trip back from the West.  

bygone era in Kansas

Upon leaving Cheyenne Bottoms, near Great Bend Kansas, Highway 4 takes a slight northern route toward Lindsborg, KS and then East to Council Grove.  The old Santa Fe Trail came right through Council Grove on it's way from Independence, Missouri to Santa Fe New Mexico. It was a trail more like an early national highway bringing settlers, goods, and equipment into the unsettled west.  Now Council Grove is a stop over on the Flint Hills Scenic Byway,  Hwy 177.  I turned South.  The Flint Hills regions of Kansas has an under laying rock layer making it unsuitable for plowing so ranching and cattle grazing is the main stay of life in this area....back in the days millions of buffalo roamed these hills, with deer and antelope.   

Farmers and Drovers Bank 1898 Council Grove, KS

The Flint Hills S-Byway passes mostly through tall grass prairie, and a few small towns, Council Grove, Cotton Wood Falls, Strong City , and Cassoday.   Cassoday claims to be the "prairie chicken capital of the world" I didn't see nary a one.  



The Cottonwood Falls Chase County Courthouse 1873

Flint Hills Scenic Byway




Strong City, KS once called Cottonwood Station because the train stopped here, then changed to Strong City  for William B. Strong President of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe RR
(later merged with Burlington RR now known as BNSF RR) 1871

Near the end of the Flint Hills Scenic Byway is the Tall Grass Prairie National Preserve...so I stopped.


Unfortunately I got there too late to take the ONE Bus Trip into the preserve, (week days they have one trip at 11 am) It takes you on a 3 1/2 mile ride back into the preserve and to the Bison Herd they have there...and only a few trails allow dogs.


I feel that they could at least do one ride back every hr or so since it's such a short ride and get some electric carts to use... the thing is people want to preserve what they can see and visit...and the other trails into the preserve are long and out in the open with no shade...soooo

I took a short hike on the Bottom Land Nature Trail..



it was one of the 3 trails they allow dogs on...

lots of prairie flowers...


...and some thistles that drew some goldfinch do you see the goldfinch in this photo?? He is pretty well hidden...


On the grounds are the remnants of the Jones Family's 7,000 acre Spring Hill Stock Farm...from which the preserve is made up from...it is now at 11,000 acres in size. 

Spring Hill Ranch House

The Spring Hill Barn

Tours are available of the house, barn and grounds...I was not really interested in touring the buildings I'm way too impatient...so I got my passport book stamped, took the Nature Trail hike with the girls, it was HOT and WINDY...

and then headed on...picking up hwy 54 east at the end of 177  and we stopped near Fort Scott, KS just short of the Missouri State Line.  We camped at the Bourbon Lake County Park, it was free!  Nice lake had a heron pay us a visit...can you find the heron?  All sorts of scavenger hunts in this post...


The dogs loved it here they were able to run around off leash...and we had a quiet night..with millions of frogs singing us a lullaby. 


Next day  it was hammer down to get home in 2 days so an early start to Wednesday...we continued on Hwy 54 and intersected I-49 South and then picked up I-40 East at Fort Smith, Arkansas...and drove through the Ozarks...

I-40 East through the Ozark Mountains

And  we took I-55 South near Memphis, TN  and cut over to I-22/78 in Mississippi,  this route can be a bit weird if you try to get on Hwy 78 back in Memphis it can be one long sit after another as the highways intersect in a busy area....I stay on I-55 south and take one of the roads that cuts over to I22/78 a little farther south after that is is traffic free.   We stopped in Waterford south of Holly Springs, MS and stayed in Wall Doxie State Park, we arrived just at dusk. losing that hour getting back into central time made it hard, then we lost another one the next day!  

the VC of Wall Doxie State Park in Mississippi 

The lake there...


We didn't hang around  next morning after breakfast we got on I-22 East and picked up I-20 East in Birmingham, AL and took it all the way to within 11 miles of home...got home about 9 pm Thursday night on the 21st  of Sept.   This is the last of my scheduled posts.
I ended up according to ebird with a new life list of 412 so added 14 new species overall.  Some of the split ones I thought were counting were not...like that Scrub Jay...apparently.  

I had a great Summer in Colorado!! I really hope I can go back next year and pick up where I left off!!



PEACE
Every day is a new Adventure.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Cheyenne Bottoms, Great Bend Kansas

Hwy 4 is very scenic with farms dotting the horizon and some have seen better days... I think of a tornado when I see this type scene, wonder how this small structure is still standing, and the windmill is still in operation. 


If you stop at one of the information centers in Kansas you might learn about the Post Rocks.  There is actually a Post Rock Scenic Byway...but you can see post rock almost anywhere in Kansas...


...and it is exactly what you think it is, rock cut to become fence posts...they are not tall...


I think in the beginning it was just land boundary markers, then later wire was added...


Limestone post last for years...and faced with no trees to cut for wood post the rock served it's purpose..

I have driven on I-70 across Kansas SOOOO many times over the years on trips to visit my sis, so this time I did NOT want to see one single mile of Kansas via I-70.  So taking back roads across was my plan and never going near St Louis Missouri was another part of my plan.  So I studied the map to see what else I might find interesting on the back roads of Kansas.  I saw a little blurb called "Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area" right off hwy 4 just a little bit south...so made a bee line for that.  Awesome huge place!! Amazing amount of wading birds, some waterfowl, and white pelicans.   The dirt roads were very rough other than that it was a good auto tour of about 8 miles.  I drove slow and saw what I could from the van,  the reeds were tall and made it a little hard to view the birds...I entered via Great Bend side and exited the tour on the Education Center side...


Hundreds of Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, and some Little Blue Herons were spotted, as well as Great Blue Herons, Ibis Glossy and White Faced...

Glossy Ibis

Snowy Egrets 

the water level in the canals can be raised and lowered by a series of dykes...

wood duck 

Waterfowl I spotted included Cinnamon Teal, Wood Duck, Ruddy Duck, Mallard, Mottled Duck, Canada Goose, Pied Billed Grebe, American Coot., Double Crested Cormorant, to name a few..

Cinnamon Teal

young Ruddy Duck

...and way up high lots of white pelican coming in for landings...the shoreline of the lake was 50 ft deep with white pelicans..I estimated 2,000 but I think that is way short of the reality. 


white Pelicans line the shoreline

sooo many, awesome to see... also in great numbers were tree swallows & mixed flocks of blackbirds...and lots of Franklin's Gulls. 

Imm Red winged Blackbird 

Franklin's Gull

and I spotted this Peregrine with a kill, unfortunately a truck pulling a boat passed by so fast it scared the bird and he took off and dropped his kill...hope he was able to retrieve it..



If you happen to be in this area in April they have good Prairie Chicken Lek tours so says the website...
Reservations ONLY so plan early, you can get the info on that link. 


I wasn't as enthusiastic about taking photos on this day I had some problems with my camera, and the day was HOT cruising on those dirt roads with windows down was hard and the dogs were panting so I finally just gave up rolled up the windows put on the AC and left...this would be a great spot to hit about the 3rd week of October!    
I think the miles were catching up with me, so I  traveled only another 40 miles and stopped for the night...found a really great quiet spot...at the Kanopolis Lake Army COE Riverside Park campground a great deal with an electric site costing me only $4. I used the electric to run the fans Kansas was HOT!  The big lake was across the road with a a larger campground, but I just needed a quiet spot to spend the evening and walk the dogs,  a good trail took us down to the Smokey Hill  River, and it had a little waterfall...only about 3 ft high but still it was nice the sound of falling water...
Smokey Hill River

Another cool thing in this campground was all these trees had painted lady butterflies all over the trunks!  Thousands of them..in fact I moved to a site away a  bit to get away from them cause they were getting into the van and everything...



Never seen anything like this...and down along the river, I saw a lot of monarch butterflies fluttering by...Really awesome experience!

In the morning I drove over the dam to see the lake...and saw TONS more Franklin's Gulls...


chattering Franklin's Gulls

Then continued  East to the Flint Hills Region of Kansas. 



More on that next post....


PEACE
Every day is a new Adventure.