Thursday, June 3, 2010
I think that the cattle who range here may be helping to maintain a natural ecology for these hills, replacing the Bison whose grazing, in addition to prairie fires, maintained the native grasslands, which without fire and grazing would be taken over by forest.
Chorus frogs are "grikking" from every wet place all through the area, and as afternoon becomes evening, the ghostly aerial whinnies of Snipe sound from above in many quarters. I watched one dive, its feathers uluating as the tiny silhouette of the bird, high above me, swung down and then bottomed out. It repeated this several times, while others more distant winnow unseen over each of their territories.
Walking to investigate an Aspen grove growing around a small pond a few kilometres north of the park entrance, I was sitting on the grassy slope of the roadside to write in my journal, when I was surprised by a Snipe landing right in front of me just a few metres away. Rusty head, grey-brown back, long black bill and big dark eyes - it was calling raucously as it flew down to the short trapled grass by the grove, and then proceeded to call peevishly like someone punching the rubber bulb of a toy horn. A honk when its punched, and a smaller honk as it is released. Blinking its eyes at me, it turned and flew away soundlessly.
Posted by Aleta Karstad at 2:32 AM