Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ok-la-ho-ma...where the wind...

Leaving Hutchinson was bittersweet. We had so much fun with all our friends, and after four visits, "Hutch" seems a lot like home. It was time to move on, though, so we departed on Wednesday, October 17, for another of our favorite places, Coon Creek Cove Corps of Engineers Park on Kaw Lake east of Ponca City, OK.

We enjoy Coon Creek Cove, and have visited several times. The spaces are large, with plenty of room to hike or bike and lots of birds to watch. This visit, we saw several flocks of Canada Geese, American Avocets, and hundreds of American White Pelicans.

The geese were in and out of the cove behind our RV site. They never stayed long, but as soon as one group left, another took its place.

The American Avocets were great fun to watch. The flock moved as one bird, wading, then putting their long, curved bills in the water together in search of food. They are very distinctive with their upturned bills and striking black and white striped backs.

And then there were the pelicans, hundreds of them. We had seen flashes of white in the distanct sky during the afternoon hours, but just at dusk the flocks moved into our cove. They didn't stay long. By the time I grabbed my camera and long lens, they had begun to move out into the lake. I managed to get a couple of shots...but nothing that could convey just how many birds there were. They were striking with their white plumage and black wingtips.... Maybe the next time they will arrive earlier in the day and stay longer.
They call it "Ok-la-ho-ma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plains!" We recognized it right away. The wind was strong on Wednesday when we arrived at Kaw Lake, and stronger still on Thursday. We had sustained winds of 31+ mph with gusts to 50! The rig rocked, and when entering we had to hang on to the door to keep it from smashing into the side of the coach. By noon, dust from the recently-harvested and newly-plowed fields was swirling high into the sky. Morning's bright blue was being swallowed up by a dirty brownish-yellow haze. Our eyes were skritchy, and we could smell the dust on the wind. Just going out for our morning walk was a chore, so we cut it short and mostly stayed inside. By Friday, we had had enough. The dust had settled somewhat, but the wind still made being outside disagreeable, so we packed up and headed south, looking for better weather

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