Monday, February 16, 2009

Quivira National Wildlife Refuge

This was sunset at Quiviria National Wildlife Refuge Sunday afternoon. I love going down there and it's only about a thirty minute drive from Hutchinson, where I live. In these days when eco-tourism is of such great interest, I wish we promoted this facility more. It's an amazing place to be, but it's hard to express to people how cool it is without them actually going.

I think you also just have to be a person who appreciates nature in all its forms. Quivira is a huge bird watching area. The birds were settled down by the time I took this photo, but you can see them dotting the sky above the horizon. I don't think I've ever been to Quivira when the sunset wasn't gorgeous.

We saw three otters yesterday. At least we think they were otters. This one and another swimming, and then one on land as we were leaving.

I loved the ripples this guy was making in the placid waters. It seems appropriate for a calm afternoon that he would have the place to himself as he glided through the water.

All of these photos were taken on the last mile and a half of the Wildlife Drive at Quivira. I am enchanted with this photo of the three birds silhouetted on the grasses. It was rare to see only a few of them at a time.

Something like 95% of migratory birds in the US move through Quivira at some point during the year. I'm not a bird watcher, but I appreciate the diversity that offers. In the autumn even Whooping Cranes become temporary residents.

I don't know my birds, but I'm guessing these are a very common variety considering how plentiful they are. I love this photo where you can see the blur of some flying while others are settling in for the night.

Earlier, they were swarming every which way. The sky was just black at times.

I don't know that I've ever shot so many photos directly into the sun before, but I wanted to capture that moment. The beginning of sunset, when twilight is coming, is my favorite time of day when I'm in nature. I love that beautiful pastel you only see at sunset.
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