Nature Notes

Learn how plants and wildlife respond to seasonal changes throughout the year

Recent Bird Sightings-Aug 20-24

The wetlands seem to be alive with birds again, as Fall migration keeps ramping up.  This time of year is always exciting as conditions and birds change with every small front that comes through.  What you see one weekend can very well be totally different the next weekend.  So, make plans to get out often.   Water levels at Cheyenne Bottoms remain good, with some water in all pools.  However, several pools (3a, 3b, and 4a) are nearly [...]

Summer Birding at Cheyenne Bottoms

Summer is definitely here, and with it, brings a whole new season of birding at Cheyenne Bottoms.  The “dog days” of Summer do not provide an abundance of bird sightings; however, birders can still find some excellent sightings if they pay attention to the weather and time of day.   During the Summer months, Cheyenne Bottoms is dominated by wading birds (herons, egrets, ibis, avocets, and stilts) as well as pelicans, cormorants, and a few ducks.  Grassland nesting [...]

Recent Bird Sightings-Mar 27

Spring is in the air! And the birds are on time.  Cheyenne Bottoms is dominated by ducks right now.  Over the next couple weeks, try to come out to see the show.  Diversity is excellent, and the numbers of ducks are impressive.  Behind American coots, Blue-winged teal, Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, and Mallards are probably most numerous, but many other species of ducks will be available to see. Shorebirds are just starting to arrive.  TNC [...]

Greater Prairie-Chicken Lek Tours

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Just before the sun rises over the vast grasslands each Spring, while most people are still snug in their beds, Prairie-Chickens are busy putting on a show that is critical to their survival.  Male Prairie-Chickens strut around on communal mating grounds known as “leks,” where they fight, call, and dance to win the affection of females.  Only the best males are chosen to mate.  On a still morning on the prairie, their call, called a [...]

Snowy Owl spotted at Cheyenne Bottoms-Feb 11/12

Photo by Dan Witt

A Snowy Owl was observed at Cheyenne Bottoms Feb 11 and 12.  The bird was located on the dike between Pool 4a and 4b. UPDATE:  Robert Penner, The Nature Conservancy, is reporting a second Snowy Owl on the Cheyenne Bottoms Preserve on Feb. 12. UPDATE:  The first Snowy Owl has continued to be seen at the same location (Pool 4a/4b dike) quite regularly.  The last confirmed sighting was during the afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 19. [...]

Recent Bird Sightings-Feb 12

Some signs of Spring have shown up in the last week or so, with loads of geese and ducks showing up at Cheyenne Bottoms.  Sandhill cranes have also been regular sights flying over the Bottoms.   Another surprise visitor that was first spotted on Feb. 11 and again in the morning of Feb 12 was a Snowy Owl. Waterfowl numbers are impressive and diversity is increasing.  Mallards and pintails dominate, but a nice mixture of other ducks [...]

2014 Cheyenne Bottoms Christmas Bird Count

Nineteen observers conducted the Cheyenne Bottoms CBC on Monday, December 29th.  A chilly but clear and still morning provided good birding conditions; however, a weather front came in early in the afternoon, which brought falling temperatures and wind making conditions less than favorable.  Much of Cheyenne Bottoms’s pools had open water providing good conditions for viewing waterfowl. The Cheyenne Bottoms Christmas Bird Count encompasses a 15-mile diameter count circle that includes Cheyenne Bottoms as well as other parts of Barton County, including parts [...]

Recent Bird Sightings–Nov 5

Fall migration has been variable, and different birds are seen day-to-day.   Waterfowl numbers are increasing.  Duck diversity and abundance has increased nicely over the last week, with fewer Blue-winged teal.  Green-winged teal have seemed to move in in high abundance, and Norhtern Shovelers, Gadwall, and Redheads seem to be the next most abundant species.  In the past week, we have seen a large increase in Greater white-fronted geese, and a few Canada geese, Cackling geese, and [...]