Trip to the Wichitas 5/5…

Erin and I went to the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge on May 5th. Our primary goal was to find Post Oak Falls. Last week we were close to finding it, but we never could locate it. This week, though, I had GPS coordinates. This has to be one of my favorite trips to the Wichitas because we saw so many different animals on this trip. We saw three different types of egret: snowy, great, and cattle. We saw lizards, prairie dogs, plains bison, horses, wild turkey, a cormorant, fish, turtles, dragonflies, butterflies, longhorns, a deer, an armadillo, and many birds. It was really neat to get pictures of everything we saw. Best of all, we found Post Oak Falls!

As we were driving down to Charon's Garden, the location of Post Oak Falls, we spotted a wild turkey out in a large field. We stopped and I took some pictures. Another car had stopped to see it, too. However, they honked their horn a couple of times. Each time they did, the turkey would gobble quite a bit in reply. After we started hiking through Charon's Garden, we saw a snowy egret in the shallows at the north end of Treasure Lake. Sometimes he was sitting still waiting for fish to come by, other times he was doing what I call a hunting dance. He would stretch out his wings, and walk around, and sometimes jump out and back into the water. Probably to confuse and round-up the fish. I got a few good pictures of all of this. From there, it took a bit of searching, but we followed the GPS coordinates and found Post Oak Falls! It was down to a mild trickle, but there was definitely water flowing over it. We saw quite a few butterflies and lizards in this area. Also, we saw an armadillo that another pair of hikers had pointed out to us.

After finding Post Oak Falls, we went for a short hike around French Lake. We were hoping to see one of the local otters, but we couldn't find him. While we were there, we saw a great egret in the water. When we approached to take some pictures he took off. I was able to get a few shots of him in flight. Then he settled back down in French Lake further away from us. We hiked around some more, but couldn't get a good picture. As we were hiking, I saw a bird fluttering around in a far off tree. I took a picture hoping to later find out what bird it was. I had forgotten about it until I downloaded the pictures. As I was looking through them, I came across a very, very colorful bird. I couldn't believe that there was a bird this colorful in Oklahoma! It was a painted bunting, and it had red, and yellow, and green, and blue feathers! Quite the sight to see. I'll definitely watch for this guy the next time I'm hiking around French Lake.

After hiking around French Lake, we decided to go visit Prairie Dog Town. We saw quite a few prairie dog pups. Unlike last week, there were no large birds nearby so all the prairie dogs seemed to be more active today. We saw a bison heard heading away from us and disappearing behind a hill. When we left the prairie dogs, we stopped in the road to get several shots of the bison grazing. There were even some cattle egrets wandering around with the bison. I sometimes wonder why they do that. Also, after we left Charon's Garden we saw a deer in the road. However, neither of us had our gear handy, so we didn't get a shot. But still, overall this was an excellent trip and I really liked the pictures I got today.
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