Articles By: Curtis Wolf

Curtis Wolf is the site manager at Ft. Hays State University’s Kansas Wetlands Education Center (KWEC) at Cheyenne Bottoms. Curtis received a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology and a Master of Science degree in Biology at FHSU, studying freshwater mussels. Before taking the job at the KWEC, Curtis was a biology instructor at Barton County Community College in Great Bend.

Recent Bird Sightings-Weekend of Feb 22

The weekend of February 22-23 was a great bird-watching weekend at Cheyenne Bottoms.  Many waterfowl have shown up at the wetland over the past week.  Here are some observations that were reported: Greater white fronted geese–>1,000 Snow geese–>100,000 Ross’s geese–138 Cackling geese–34 Canada geese–500 Gadwall–7 American wigeon–10 Malllard–>2,000 Northern pintail–>2,000 Green-winged teal–5 Redhead–>200 Bufflehead–2 Common Goldeneye–1 Hooded merganser–4 Common merganser–25 Ring-necked pheasant–2 Great blue heron–1 Northern harrier–3 Red-tailed hawk–1 American coot–9 Ring-billed gull–20 Snowy owl–2 [...]

The Wetland Explorer-Winter Visitors

Snowy Owl

This article appeared in the Great Bend Tribune on Sunday, February 16 as part of the monthly KWEC column, The Wetland Explorer. Often, when people talk about big white birds being seen at Cheyenne Bottoms, the immediate thing that comes to mind is whooping cranes, the endangered birds that migrate through the Cheyenne Bottoms area every Spring and Fall.  However, when visitors come in the Kansas Wetlands Education Center this time of year and talk [...]

2013 Cheyenne Bottoms Christmas Bird Count

Twenty-one observers conducted the Cheyenne Bottoms CBC on Saturday December 14th.  A cold, cloudy, windy morning made early birding a little challenging, but the sun coming out by mid-morning warmed the area and made birds quite active.  Most of Cheyenne Bottoms was frozen solid, so waterfowl, besides geese were hard to find; however, sandpits and city ponds were common hangouts.  The Cheyenne Bottoms Christmas Bird Count encompasses a 15-mile diameter count circle that includes Cheyenne Bottoms as well [...]

Boy Scout Service Project

Boy Scouts 157

We were fortunate to have Boy Scouts from Troop 157-Great Bend at the Center today for a service project day.  The group worked on clearing many honey locust tree saplings that popped up along the KWEC-George Stumps Nature Trail.  The boys cut the trees and treated the cuts with chemical so the invasive trees would not return next spring.  They troop also worked on seeding some annual ryegrass seed around the new KWEC picnic shelter.  [...]

Tricolored Heron

Tricolored heron at Cheyenne Bottoms August 17, 2013

Visitors reported a Tricolored heron at Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area today (August 17).  KWEC staff were able to photograph the bird. The heron was located in Pool 4a near the North Hub, which is near the location of the vault toilet at the center of the Wildlife Area.

The Wetland Explorer – 101 Ways to Help Birds

Red-winged blackbirds converge on bird feeders at the KWEC this winter.  Blackbirds can be a nuisance.  Removing your feeders for a few days when nuisance birds are overtaking them is one way you can help other bird species.

This article appeared in the Great Bend Tribune on Sunday, May 19 as part of the monthly KWEC column, The Wetland Explorer. Saturday, April 27 was one of the bigger days of events for the Kansas Wetlands Education Center with three very different scheduled events taking place.  The morning had the first-ever Wild Goose Chase 5k and 1 mile Fun Run at Cheyenne Bottoms with 160 participants running or walking over the dike roads.   For [...]

The Wetland Explorer – Fear the Fear

tarantula

This article appeared in the Great Bend Tribune on Sunday, February 17 as part of the monthly KWEC column, The Wetland Explorer. What are you most afraid of?  The dark?  Spiders?  Snakes?  Things that go bump in the night?  Many of the common fears expressed by humans relate back to animals.  You are probably aware of arachnophobia (the fear of spiders), but are you familiar with some of these other common animal phobias- Ophidiophobia (snakes), [...]

The Wetland Explorer–The Water(less) Year in Review

USGS Drought Poster

This article appeared in the Great Bend Tribune on Sunday, November 18 as part of the monthly KWEC column, The Wetland Explorer. Has Cheyenne Bottoms dried up before?  How much rain will it take to fill Cheyenne Bottoms again?  Did the two inch rain we received last weekend fill up Cheyenne Bottoms?  Why can’t we drill water wells and fill Cheyenne Bottoms? All of these questions, and others, have started common conversations at the Kansas [...]