Arkansas River in Wichita


After two dry summers in a row, we may be finding ourselves on the upswing towards ending our drought.

Here are a few panoramic shots I took with my phone this morning in Wichita, Kansas.



The photo above was taken from the bank at Watson Park. It shows the water levels from the John Mack bridge (at Pawnee street) to the Broadway Street bridge.


This one is from the opposite bank of the river, at Herman Hill Park.


And finally, the river at the Lincoln Street bridge and dam. This shows the newly constructed dam, fish passage, and walkway – the water has reached the edge of the sidewalks, and the debris line showed the water level had gone up onto and above the sidewalks earlier today!


Fishing for Foxes


My oldest nephew came for a visit last week and convinced me to take a late night fishing trip at our local reservoir.  I’d caught a few small fish with my new fishing rig earlier that afternoon, but couldn’t quite find the fish I was looking for.  It was a warm night without a breath of wind, so we waded out into the dark water as far as we dared, casting into the stillness.


No fish found our lures, but as we headed back to the shoreline, we noticed a small animal with a long fluffy tail near the water’s edge.  After a lot of whispering, it was decided that we needed a flashlight and a camera – and quick!


I’d read an article recently about nighttime flash photography of wildlife, but wasn’t quite prepared to try it myself.  Nonetheless, we worked out a plan where he’d locate the fox with the flashlight, and I’d quickly focus and snap a photo before the fox got scared.


Soon, we noticed not one, but two foxes exploring the rocks and beach around us!  Both seemed unfazed in their hunting by the light and flash, and allowed us to take some decent photographs.

IMG_7261We agreed, it was one of the best fishing trips we’d taken, although we spent more time on land than in the water.


One of the things I am most grateful for is that I work outdoors.  I frequently discover some amazing aspects of the prairie landscape, completely by accident.  Many of these times, I’m waiting – and I spend those two or ten minutes catching up on emails on my phone or looking through a lens.  Here are a few of the things I’d have missed this week, if I hadn’t been waiting.

Ornate Box Turtle

The ornate box turtle is terrestrial (non-aquatic), shy and our state’s official reptile. This one was racing across the concrete of our parking lot, so I followed her to the grass and took her portrait. Unfortunately, the group I was waiting for arrived before I could coax her out of her shell for a better look at her pretty face.

Bumble bee on lead plant

A bumblebee quickly and expertly maneuvered in and around a lead plant near my office, it’s wings stopped for a split second by a quick snap of my shutter.

Common Loon

At a local lake, I noticed this juvenile common loon diving near a fishing dock. I quietly moved closer for a better look and was able to capture a lovely pose as she stretched her wings.

Spring is for Burning


Controlled (or prescribed) burns are an important part of prairie management for wildlife, reducing the amount of dead plant materials next to the ground, controlling unwanted weeds and insects, and giving the prairie new life. Today I had a front row view!


Eastern red cedars can be invasive, and one way to reduce their impact is through prescribed burning.  This one went from fully engulfed in flames to ashes and a few wisps of smoke in less than a minute – it was impressive!