Monthly Archives: April 2023

April 22, 2023

This morning I got up very early to watch lekking Greater Prairie Chickens in a blind near the Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge in Kansas.  There were seven males and one female.

Here’s the female–the Lady of the Lek–surrounded by three performing males:

Greater Prairie Chickens

Males facing off in their courts:

Greater Prairie Chickens (male)

Greater Prairie Chickens (male)

Close-ups of the males:

Greater Prairie Chicken

A close-up of one of the males:

Greater Prairie Chicken (male)

Later in the day:

Eastern Phoebe

Swainson’s Thrush

April 18, 2023

After work, I walked in the Bear Creek Greenbelt.  It was very windy.  Here’s Mama Owl bracing herself:

Great Horned Owl

A Cooper’s Hawk in the woods:

Cooper’s Hawk

A House Finch taking meager shelter in a field.

House Finch

April 16, 2023

This morning I showed up in the Bear Creek Greenbelt even earlier than I did yesterday.  The Great Horned Owlets were alone at the nest.

Great Horned Owlets

After a short while, Mama Owl showed up:

Mama Great Horned Owl returns to the nest

She’ll still feed the owlets, although they now pick at the prey themselves:

Mama Great Horned Owl feeding owlet

Rat was on the menu:

Mama Great Horned Owl with prey

There’s not much room in the nest for both owlets and Mama Owl.  I heard something drop from the nest.  It was a headless rabbit.  View of the nest from another angle, after feeding and after the sun came up:

Great Horned Owl and owlet

Mama Owl left the nest again, and the two owlets snoozed.

Great Horned Owlets

Mama Owl was nearby, on the other side of the creek, being harassed by an American Crow.  Here she is, right before she launched after the crow.

Great Horned Owl

She chased off the crow and then returned to the nest, briefly.

Great Horned Owl at nest

Meanwhile, Papa Owl–unmoving (or unmoved?)–was perched above Bear Creek to the east.

Great Horned Owl

I left, taking a last glance at Mama Owl, who was now perched along Bear Creek, to the west of the nest:

Great Horned Owl

A friend let me know that, within minutes, Mama Owl recovered the headless rabbit from the forest floor and returned it to the nest.

April 15, 2023

As promised, yesterday we had snow, on and off, from morning to evening.  Today I headed into the Bear Creek Greenbelt early.  I was too late to view the feeding.  Though I arrived right before dawn, the Great Horned Owls were fat and happy (prey in the foreground).

Great Horned Owl and owlet #1 (owlet #2 is tucked under Mama Owl, in the dark space just above the prey)

Great Horned Owl and owlet #2 making an appearance

Great Horned Owl bending down toward prey, and owlet #2 edging in front of owlet #1

Great Horned Owl and owlet #2

Great Horned Owl and owlet #2

And in a tree not far away:

Great Blue Heron

A friend and I then drove to Matthews Winters Park, the first time there for both of us.  The birding was fantastic (my first Broad-tailed Hummingbird and Chipping Sparrow of the season), but the scenery was what kept me reaching for my phone to photograph (my telephoto lens was useless in this regard).

April 13, 2023

Tomorrow is supposed to be rainy, turning to snow overnight.  So today after work I headed to Bear Creek Lake Park.

There appears to be only one Great Horned Owlet left in the cavity nest:

Great Horned Owlet


Its parents were nearby, in adjacent trees.

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl

April 12, 2023

As I’ve said before, there’s no mama like a Great Horned Owl Mama:

Great Horned Owl and owlet

Great Horned Owl feeding owlet while the other watches

The whole family (a rat–courtesy of Papa–dangling from Mama’s bill):

Great Horned Owls and owlets


April 10, 2023

After work I went to Bear Creek Lake Park.  One of the owlets in the cavity nest was visible:

Great Horned Owlet

An adult was nearby:

Great Horned Owl

At the reservoir I saw several Killdeer.  Here’s one:


A few Blue-winged Teal and Green-winged Teal were present.  Here’s a female Green-winged Teal on the mudflats:

Green-winged Teal

Even when there seems like there are no sparrows around, more often than not a Song Sparrow will make itself known.

Song Sparrow