Squaw Creek/Loess Bluffs Wildlife Refuge, Midwest Flooding, Hope, and the CFFC Photo Challenge: Feathers

At Squaw Creek/Loess Bluffs Wildlife Refuge – sometimes there’s a chance to get (relatively) up close and personal with feathers…

Squaw Creek/Loess Bluffs - Heron - evening light

Heron – autumn light

And sometimes, still lots of feathers, but maybe not so close…

Squaw Creek/Loess Bluffs - Fall Migration - geese in the air, masses of starlings

Fall Migration – geese in the air & a few stragglers from the masses of starlings that swarm like nanoparticles

Squaw Creek/Loess Bluffs - Geese - ice in winter

Squaw Creek/Loess Bluffs Geese – cold feet on the ice in winter.

I’ve been wondering if I’ll get a chance to see any birds when I visit the midwest this summer. Flooding along the Missouri River in March this spring breached many levees in the area. Not just the roadway around the wildlife refuge, but even the Expressway a few miles over had to be closed after damage from flooding.

There was a 500-year flood along the Missouri River in the 1990s too, the year our office was transferred from Kansas City to Atlanta. I remember flying back and forth for work, and seeing the river spread out like an inland sea below.

A few years earlier I’d seen a schoolhouse for sale in a small town near the river, and considered buying it to renovate as a home. I had regrets about passing on that plan, but during the flood, the roads leading to the town with the schoolhouse were closed. It would have been hard to sell my schoolhouse and move, so it was just as well my scheme didn’t work out.

Squaw Creek/Loess Bluffs - heron in summer

Heron – Squaw Creek in summer.

Birds can fly to safety in a flood, but what happens to everyone else? Do they get swept away?

Squaw Creek/Loess Bluffs - frog in the mud - spring 2018

Squaw Creek/Loess Bluffs – froggy nestling in the mud – spring 2018

Squaw Creek/Loess Bluffs - swimming muskrat - spring 2018

Squaw Creek/Loess Bluffs – swimming muskrat – spring 2018

And fish – what happens to them when the river rages through?

Squaw Creek/Loess Bluffs - fishing heron - spring 2018

Fishing heron/muskrat mounds – Spring 2018

Here’s hoping all the creatures survived. I just called the office and found that, despite what the website still says, the auto-tour route around the refuge is open again.  I’m hoping (there’s that word “hope” again) it stays that way. You know about hope, right? — “Hope is the thing with feathers.”

Hope is the Thing with Feathers by Emily Dickinson

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all …

 

Squaw Creek/Loess Bluffs Wildlife Refuge

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Feathers

 

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Water, Swans, Loess Bluffs, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Serene

Funny, there’s one thing so many serene images have in common: water. Doesn’t everyone long for a lakeside/seaside/brookside view? Is it because we are 60% water, born swimming, and all little mermaids at heart? Perhaps it’s because that’s where we came from, historically speaking (you know, crawling out of the primordial soup and all)?

Here are some somewhat-serene swans at Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge in Missouri last week —

Swans - Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Mound City MO

Swan silhouettes in the evening light.

Swans - Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Mound City MO

Getting nibbley…

Swans - Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Mound City MO

Swans - Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Mound City MO

Still, sometimes there’s trouble in paradise.

Vacation trips are so much more enjoyable now that I don’t have to worry about my house. Water is not so peaceful and serene if it is leaking in the basement, for example.

Swans - Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Mound City MO

I kept trying for ‘seven swans a-swimming’ but six is the best I could do.

Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Mound City MO

Look closely at the sky. Your screen isn’t dirty – there are geese flying in for the evening.

But back to the primordial soup — I’ve always thought it would be fun to come up with a recipe, something to have for dinner when feeling primeval or dining in a single cell. Pasta in little amoeba shapes would be tasty, oh, and spiralized vegetables, and maybe some asparagus for its weird look.

What would you put in your primordial soup?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Serene

More on the Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge (aka Squaw Creek)

Why I love October, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Glow

I was hoping the pineapple sage would bloom before I closed on my house. I was in luck —

Bee on pineapple sage

Iphonography: one of the last photos I took before moving.

Now there’s pineapple sage and bee synchronicity with this week’s photo challenge — I see that someone else loves October for the same reasons I do.

There’s nothing like a clear blue October day for glowing light. This one’s from yesterday afternoon at Squaw Creek (now Loess Hills National Wildlife Preserve near Mound City MO) —

A Pile of Pelicans

A pile of pelicans

It’s not just October, I love September too — and was happy to get to see my toad lilies bloom one more time. Toad Lily bloom

Plus, this year for the first time there were babies, hundreds of them! They made a carpet of little plants around the mother plant, and bloomed – each one just a leaf with a bloom.

But remember the pineapple sage? Hummingbirds like it too – though they are not so obliging as to hold still for their photo op.

Hummingbird on pineapple sage

How do you love October?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Glow

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Autumn Changes (Weekly Photo Challenge: Transition)

It’s autumn, the season of transitions: the leaves are on their way down, the geese are on their way south, and I’m just home from Thanksgiving holiday, trying to get back to my chores.

Geese take a rest on their migration through the mid-western U.S. —

Geese at Squaw Creek Wildlife Refuge

Geese at the Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Mound City MO.

When they all fly up at once, out across the marsh, they’re like swirling dots in a pointillist composition.

Over 200,000 geese fly up at Squaw Creek Wildlife Refuge.

Geese in the air. The water was icy, and every blade of grass was coated — I’d fly up too.

… and speaking of pointillism, Britannica’s On This Day just reminded me that today is the birthday of painter Georges Seurat (1859-1891).

Back in the wildlife preserve, the eagles have arrived… slow geese better beware.

Eagle - Squaw Creek Swans are in transition too, and cleaning up (like I need to be doing).

Swans at Squaw Creek Wildlife Preserve

Do you celebrate Thanksgiving? If so, I hope you had a happy one.

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Transition

Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge

And more on Georges Seurat

Lewis and Clark, Squaw Creek, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Silhouette

When I took this silhouette photo I didn’t notice the heron had a companion.  Now I see there’s a turtle too, or is that an artfully contrived bump on a log?

Heron in silhouette, Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge

Heron in silhouette, Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge

I nearly always stop by Squaw Creek when I’m visiting in the midwest. By the time I go back in the fall, there’ll be millions of migrating geese and other water fowl. When I went looking for more silhouettes this trip, these two plucky ducks offered themselves.

Ducks in silhouette, Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge

Ducks in silhouette, Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge

As for Lewis and Clark, I grew up watching for these signs. Our explorers are pointing north and west, but when it came time for my own private Corps of Discovery, my route lay east, and I never got to follow them. This sign is just down the road a piece from Squaw Creek.

Louis and Clark Trail sign

Lewis and Clark Trail sign — we were looking for Big Lake. It’s just over yonder.

Meanwhile, I haven’t given up on downsizing, I just took a few vacation days. And I did take along some homework…

Care for some light airplane reading?

Stuff - Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things

Stuff – Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things

 

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