High Plains Drifter

disclaimer:  "The meteorological views/forecast thinking expressed are those solely of the author of this blog
and do not necessarily represent those of official National Weather Service forecast products,
therefore read and enjoy at your own risk and edification!"

February 25, 2006

Quivira short-trip 2/24

Filed under: Photography — Mike U @ 3:16 pm

It was a beautiful Friday afternoon and I had the day off, so I opted to head out to Quivira and see if I could spot any early-arriving migrants such as the sandhill crane. Well, I didn’t see any cranes, and my overall “luck” was pretty poor Friday afternoon/early evening. I did spot a couple Great Blue Herons, and I managed to get an interested landscape shot of a GBH in silhouette that I liked. Only about a handfull of keepers from this trip, which is somewhat dissapointing. The geese on Big Salt Marsh just weren’t moving much and were clear on the other side on the west end of the marsh which is farther from the road, plus with the sun setting in the west-southwest, it makes for horrible lighting. There may have been a couple Cranes in that huge bunch but I didn’t spot any. After visiting Bosque NWR last month, I’m finding myself missing the cranes. I have a feeling I may have to head up to the Platte Valley sometime in March….where almost a half a million cranes spend about 5 weeks between North Platte and Grand Island along the Platte.


One thing that is very fun to photograph I’m finding are the swarms of Blackbirds and Starling. I wasn’t dissapointed yesterday evening. As sunset approaches, red-winged blackbirds begin to congregate into massive flocks and just roost about anywhere… tree limbs, the tall prairie grass, or even a gravel road! I was driving north on the main refuge route when I encountered one such flock of blackbirds. What strange birds. Anyway, I think tomorrow morning I may get up very early and head out to Quivira for morning photography before bowling in a tournament later in the morning in Great Bend. (edited to correct mis-identification of this bird!)

February 24, 2006

Signs of Spring

Filed under: Misc,UTM Updates — Mike U @ 12:30 pm

It’s funny actually, because we really didn’t have much of a winter. Winter actually occurred in two different "bursts" if you will — Early December was a fairly cold outbreak and then just last week was another short-lived burst of arctic cold. Funny timing too, as the brunt of the cold air hit the high plains during the main day of the National Storm Chaser Convention on Saturday 2/18. Saturday morning Denver reached -15°F which was a record for the date. I pretty much stayed in the convention hotel from Friday afternoon until Sunday evening. Anyway, more details on the convention later on. I have some photos from the convention posted in the Gallery, but I haven’t written captions yet. I’ll probably get to that tonight.

It’s another 3-day weekend for me; this afternoon (Friday 24th) I’ll head out to Quivira for some bird photography. It’ll be interesting to see how many cranes and other migrants have made up to Central KS so far. It’s been really cold the past couple of weeks, but now that it’s finally warming up nicely with a good southwest wind… I bet the past couple of days birds have really been moving. I’ll see what I can find. There should be at least some sandhills. Sunday I’ll be bowling in a scratch tournament in Great Bend and I’ll also use that as an excuse to get out and shoot more in the morning before the tourney as well as after… since both Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira are just pretty much right there near Great Bend.

February 1, 2006

NM Photo Trip Day 5: Bandelier & Back Home

Filed under: Photography — Mike U @ 12:18 pm

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