Kansas

I spent the last few days in extreme southwest Kansas visiting the Cimarron National Grassland and surrounding area. Spring has arrived here and the short grass prairie is full of life and bird song. Grasshopper, Cassin’s, and Lark Sparrows along with Western Meadowlarks and Lark Buntings have been the most conspicuous grassland species. This evening I watched as thunderstorms made their way over the golden prairie punctuated here and there by prairie yucca. As the sun went down the owls came out – I saw a Short-eared Owl wing silently by as several Burrowing Owls called in the distance. As it got darker both Barn Owls and a Great Horned Owl called as well.


Singing adult male Grashopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum). Cimarron National Grassland, Kansas. April. (Gerrit Vyn)
Singing adult male Grashopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum). Cimarron National Grassland, Kansas. April. (Gerrit Vyn)


The last two morning I have been photographing Lesser Prairie-Chickens at a lek south of the Cimarron River. Lesser Prairie-Chickens are very active on their leks. Males make a variety of raucous vocalizations and actively move around the lek challenging other males at territorial boundaries. This was my first experience with Lesser Prairie-Chickens and I have found them to be every bit as interesting as Greater Prairie-Chickens and quite a bit more lively. I was lucky to have one still morning and made a surround-sound recording of the action.\

I’ll have to keep this post short (again) as I’m headed north with little time to spare.


Adult male Lesser Prairie-Chicken displaying. This species dwindling remaining breeding range lies at the heart of the wind belt where large wind energy project are planned. (Gerrit Vyn)
Adult male Lesser Prairie-Chicken displaying. This species dwindling remaining breeding range lies at the heart of the wind belt where large wind energy project are planned. (Gerrit Vyn)


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