Pat’s earlier post about Spring in Doniphan County inspired me to include a couple of shots I took yesterday. Thanks Pat for sharing your day with us.
Yesterday morning Craig Hensley from the Schlagle Environmental Library at Wyandotte county lake guided me to a nice showy orchid in full bud, that he had found nearby. Craig is new to the library, this year and is the site manager. If you are in the area you’ll want to get to know him—he’s a licensed bird bander and fanatical wildflower enthusiast. I’m thinking we should schedule a spring KABT field trip with Craig in the near future.
This is the first showy orchid I had set eyes on in over 35 years. Good stuff. Inspired, later in the day I renewed my quest to find the orchid in Douglas county. Headed out on a quest deep into the woods–at least as deep as you can get in this part of the country. There is one thing that over the years of wandering in the woods is guaranteed to trigger my startle reflex into flight mode. You know–the kind of scare so deep that you almost have to sit down to get all the vital signs back down to normal ranges. No, I’m not talking about an unexpected Crotalus encounter—I’m talking turkey, here.
With my head down, wandering aimlessly but quietly, looking intently for the smallish leaves of the showy orchid, I was totally brought back into a different world as a hen turkey exploded off her nest, 6 feet in front of me. Man, what an immediate overload of sensory input. Turkey’s are so large you can’t imagine that one could be that close without you seeing it–especially when you are looking so hard at the ground. But the racket they make as they get into powered flight coupled with all the violent noise of twigs and branches breaking amounts to stimulus overload. Naturally, I was so startled that I couldn’t move, let alone take a photo. A special event. Her nest was at the base of a tree under some greenbrier. She had just started with only one egg as of yesterday.
As I slowly recovered and settled back down to looking for the orchids that I just knew had to be in the vicinity, I looked down at my feet and voila….
The fright was worth it. Now I know where her nest is, I’ll try and get out earlier in the day when she isn’t there, as I return to try and capture the plants in full flower.