Spotted in the Flint Hills in the Last Week
by Rachel Creager Ireland
This year for the fourth time I spent mid-May commuting to White Memorial Camp, north of Council Grove. It’s a bit of a drive, but mostly on National Scenic Byway, KS 177. The remainder is gravel, through pastures to the end of a little peninsula surrounded by Council Grove lake. I go there for a job, which is to massage the attendees of Kelley Hunt and Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg’s wonderful Brave Voice songwriting workshop and retreat. It’s a beautiful group whom I love to work with. The bonus is that this remote drive has incredible diversity of wildlife, particularly birds. So every year I am equally excited to do this job as to get there and back. Here’s a list of the many species I saw, most without even getting out of the car.
Butterfly milkweed, not yet blooming.
Wild blue indigo, in luscious bloom.
Cobaea beardtongue, plentiful this year.
Daisy fleabane, blooming rather early, I believe.
Lots of Arkansas rose.
several scissor-tailed flycatchers
dozens of turkey vultures
lots of killdeer
one indigo bunting, which thoughtfully landed in a tree in easy view. I actually stopped the car for this one.
The last two reptiles were here at the motel, but I love them so much I didn’t want to leave them off the list.
Since I was a child I’ve wanted to see a zebra swallowtail butterfly, but never did, until this week.
And mustn’t forget — this one doesn’t belong on my list because I didn’t personally see it, but several of the musicians saw a mountain lion, and got pictures. Don’t tell Fish and Wildlife, they still don’t want to admit that mountain lions are in Kansas.