Friday, May 11, 2012

Within a Mile of My House

Mother Killdeer feigning injury to draw me away from her babies

Mother and two baby Killdeer who live in the intersection

An Upland Plover or Upland Sandpiper - back from the brink of extinction

Eastern Kingbird

Might be a Missouri evening primrose
I began noticing a tiny little bird scurrying at break-neck speed on the ground each time I turned at the intersection near my house.  The bird was so small that it eventually occurred to me that it was a baby bird.  After that, I slowed well ahead of the intersection, looking for the tiny bird.  Soon, I discovered two baby birds and their mother.  The next step was to have the camera ready.  Slowing the car to a stop threatened the mother bird. She went in the opposite direction of her babies and displayed her tail in an attempt to draw my attention, and to apparently appear wounded.  The entire time, she and the babies were whistling and piping in alarm.

A few fence posts down the road, an upland plover perched and waited for me to take its photo.  I did not know that this bird was hunted almost to extinction but now is entirely protected.  Audubon describes its voice, "Well known for its beautiful song, whistled trills and mournful wind-like sounds."  Exactly what you would expect of an open grassland bird. 

The Eastern Kingbird was perched in Ginger's pasture.  These are the little birds often seen chasing hawks through the sky, defending their home territory and nest.  I do not understand why a 24" hawk would be threatened by an 8 1/2" bird.  Perhaps the hawks are simply being magnanimous, or as is often the case with pests, you just yield to get them out of your hair (feathers).

The last treasure from the roadside is a yellow prairie extravagance.  I surely would have noticed this spectacular flower long before now, but I do not recall ever seeing it before.  I had to take photos and then find my Wildflowers and Grasses of Kansas book.  I think this plant might be a Missouri primrose, but I am not entirely sure.  No matter what it is named, it is beautiful.

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