Sunday, May 13, 2007

Finale in Kansas

May 12, 2007

I was back in Kansas at Elkhart, making the obligatory sewage pond stop as I drove through. Then around Liberty by back roads, and on eastward. One of those long flat punctuated by Horned Lark drives, until I got close to Greensburg. Started seeing flashing lights down the road, and at the intersection, lots of cops and cars pulled over. Then I got directed north to go around the town. It was a week after the tornado, and the highway was still not open. There was some damage in sight, mostly stuff blown around by wind, and I never saw the heart of the destruction. But thirty miles north when I finally picked up another eastbound paved road, I crossed an area of damage there. It was the same storm that had hit Great Bend and flooded the Cheyenne Bottoms. I was headed for Cheney Reservoir from the west, and on a previous trip I'd made map notes of good habitat areas along the south shore at the intake end of the lake. It was getting on toward dark, and when I found my noted places, they had no camping signs. I kept wandering along there, and finally came to a little lakeside fisherman parking area, and stopped since it was dark. Fiddled around on the computer, making map notes, and checking off lists, and when I went to start again to go on to the state park, the battery was dead. I think I was sold an undersized battery, or there's something weak in the alternator. Usually there's no problem, but I'm learning not to draw down much power with the engine off. Given no choice, I crashed there. The next day was Sunday, and I figured some fisher folk would be showing up and I could get a jump.

May 13, 2007

Turns out the battery had regrouped its forces overnight, and there was enough juice to get me started. I hadn't spent any time in Wichita, and had a list of places to check out. First stop was the boardwalk at the state Park, really nice place to bird, not that many on the boardwalk itself, but the grassy areas along the trail leading there were good. Next stop was the Heron Rookery and that was good for a missing list tic, Little Blue Heron. Next stop was Sim Park, where I did a lot of walking. The birds were good, and lots of neat trails through some varied habitat, and finally a Mississippi Kite as I was leaving. I had been looking for it along the whole drive yesterday, and Greensburg was supposed to be the gimme place, but I think the trees there were not so habitable after the storm. Imagine Kites on nests in the night. On to Oak Park where I figured out where the good warbler woods was, and met Paul Griffith who was hanging out with a camera and a hummingbird feeder. Seems like there was another person too, and I can't recall the name. My apologies. Final stop was the Great Plains Nature Center. I found the advertised Bell's Vireos in the bush by the parking lot, but it took some work as they were in skulking mode. Enjoyed walking the trails around the ponds and wetlands, sorta crowded because of Sunday folk, and for some reason, the place, the Visitor Center anyhow, was closed on presumably the busiest day of the week. I guess it's a government employment thing, but how mis-guided.

Then the ride home, with a stop by Schermerhorn Park, overrun by Sunday folk and kids with loud music, but even then it's a good place if you get back in the woods up on the ridge. Their VC was closed too. Late afternoon, hot, stopped at a corner store over the Arkansas line for soda and a sandwich and was home just before dark. A little unloading and my favorite job of putting pins in the wall map coded for the kinds of stops I'd made.


Post a Comment

<< Home