pawnee national grasslands
metal rusting and dented
aliens long gone
Listening to the trees
I like to take the time out to listen to the trees,
much in the same way that I listen to a sea shell,
holding my ear against the rough bark of the trunk,
hearing the inner singing of the sap.
It’s a lovely sound, the beating of the heart of the tree. ~ Madeleine L’Engle
Twofer Tuesday: antelope edition
Last week after leaving the Crow Valley Campground, we drove the 21-mile Birding Tour in the Pawnee National Grasslands. Alas, due to strong winds and dust, there weren’t a whole lot of birds out and about (aside from a huge number of Horned Larks which we’d never seen before plus some hawks on the ground that were too far away to identify).
However, we were gifted with antelope sightings. This small herd ran away from us as we sat idling on the road way far away from them. It seems antelope do not take any chances and will bolt at the first sign of danger.
And here they are after reaching a distance far enough away to feel safe. They stopped and wheeled around to watch us.
The scenery for that entire bumpy drive on the gravel roads was brown-brown-brown and we constantly scanned for movement. My (hopeful) eyes were often tricked into believing I saw running antelope, but it was almost always tumbling tumbleweeds blowing across the desolate landscape. Those tumbleweeds moved very quickly and I would’ve loved to see one blowing alongside the running antelope in order to compare speeds.
The antelope, though, brought me the most joy. No contest.
We took our first camping trip of the year at the Pawnee National Grasslands. That area is supposed to provide a magnificent night sky and we went in hopes of seeing the meteor shower. Turns out we didn’t put much effort into the sky because the high winds made it unpleasant. So unpleasant, in fact, that we came home a day early.
The good news is, there was a lull in the wind on Thursday evening and we walked the trails around the Crow Valley Campground. The lighting was divine as birds serenaded us. Here’s a Red-winged Blackbird in song:
And here’s an American Robin singing as it perches on the fence next to a couple of the MANY tumbleweeds in the area (which I either leapt over or plowed through when running on the trails the next morning):
Here’s a Western Meadowlark singing its heart out:
This last one–Turkey Vulture– was silent, but it was a thrill when Zippy spotted it because on our maiden voyage last April, a whole bunch of Turkey Vultures roosted above our campervan.
Others may disagree, but I consider a Turkey Vulture sighting a good omen for the coming camping season.