Squaw Creek NWR

A trip to Mound City, Missouri would not be complete without a visit to Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge. My dad grew up in Mound City, which means I grew up visiting my grandparents there. Although I always enjoyed the trip to Squaw Creek, what stands out in my mind is waking up before dawn on Thanksgiving to drive to the refuge and greet the day with the migrating Snow Geese. The sight of thousands of geese in the morning light was beautiful, but the sounds are really what made it memorable. Hopefully this year I can make a trip up there and experience the spectacle again.


Wedding Gifts

Earlier this summer I received a wedding invitation for one of my good friends from optometry school. Naturally I was looking forward to seeing her again and was excited to attend the wedding, but the idea of finding the right wedding gift was daunting. Usually, it's no big deal to wade through the pages of items on the gift registry, but for some of my friends that just doesn't seem right. I know these lists are created for the benefit of both the guests (to make it easier) and the couple (to make sure they get what they actually want). However, the things are often so impersonal. I would rather get a gift that is one of a kind or will be identified as a wedding present years later. Perhaps my motive is selfish (I want them to remember who gave the gift)......perhaps not (I want them to get something unique that they enjoy)....I guess it doesn't matter as long as the gift is the good.

So that brings me back to the wedding invitation. Argh. I delayed chosing one of the gifts on the registry until a week before the ceremony. Nothing felt right on the lists. I happened to notice on all of the announcements & accompanying papers they had put a symbol. I quickly shot off an email asking about it and found out they had created a symbol out of their initials. Instantly I could visualize it in stained glass. My friend had asked me to make her something out of stained glass show her how it was done. Although we never actually did that, now was my chance to create a piece for her. It was perfect! A day later their gift was complete.


New Lifers!

Whoo!! Hooo!!! Over the past couple days I've been able to add THREE new birds to my life list! Although I didn't get good pictures of any of them, I got really good views of all of them.
So, what birds did I see?

1. Carolina Chickadee: Last weekend we visited family in southern MO. While on a walk these sweet little Chickadees were chattering and darting around trees on either side of the road. They're so fun! While we were there we saw several other fun birds. Here's one of the Scissor-Tailed Flycatchers we saw. Earlier in the summer we spotted a family of these down the road. I suspect this is one of the youngsters from that family.

2. Common Nighthawk: I know these are common, but I've been unable to catch a glimpse of them so far....until today! There is a park near my house were I go walking almost daily. Today I changed up the route a bit and caught a sight of a Nighthawk perched on a branch up in a Sycamore tree. That made my day.

3. Chimney Swift: Since the previously mentioned walk around the park was cut short a bit due to weather, my mom and I took a jaunt around the neighborhood. There is small open field at the end of one of the streets. Over the field there were 20+ Swifts swooping around in the sky. We stopped and watched them until they passed on to a new area. We were just starting to head back home when mom spotted 3 Nighthawks flying above us headed across the field.



Minnesota Vacation

My mother has always been interested in wildlife. I remember her pointing out various trees, birds, and plants while walking with her on the farm where she grew up. Had she grown up in a different decade I believe she would have pursued a career involving wildlife conservation. Instead she studied business, specifically book-keeping, accounting, and taxes. Since she has retired, her interest in wildlife has rekindled. Her interest in birds has been infectious and for the past few months the two of us have been traveling around the parks of Kansas City trying to spot various birds. I feel like we've been fairly successful. I'm enjoying it so much I am now hooked.

A few weeks ago it came time for the annual family vacation to Minnesota. Armed with our binoculars and field guides, my mom and I viewed our vacation as an extended bird outing with occasional breaks for other activities such as fishing, sailing, and card games. Since we stay on a lake with both timber and grasslands nearby, we were pretty excited about the birding opportunities.

The first few days were pretty exciting. Occasionally while fishing on the dock in front of our cabin we caught the sight of a Bald Eagle perching in the large cottonwood trees farther down along the shore. It was quite an
impressive sight! I also had no idea there could be so many sweet little nuthatches about! They were a joy to watch as they darted around/up/down the trees. Along with the nuthatches, there was a constant parade of woodpeckers...Downy, Hairy, Red-bellied, Northern Flicker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. The property owner told us there was a Pileated that came by occasionally, but unfortunately we did not catch a glimpse of it. Boo!

Mom and I made several excursions to state parks and conservation areas around Detroit Lakes. One of the places we visited was Hamden Slough. We saw several birds while we there, but my favorite were the Cedar Waxwings. There must have been a large flock feasting on some nearby berries. As soon as I turned onto the road leading up to the visitor's center, the birds seemed to play leap-frog back and forth across the road in front and over my car. A few even came and fluttered near my open window as though they were trying to peer inside at me. I couldn't help but smile.

Altogether our vacation to Minnesota did not disappoint. We added several birds to our "seen" list. I look forward to next year!


I guess you've got to begin somewhere...

Who: Susan aka "Squeeze."

What: Birding, Baking, Cycling, Stained Glass...and any other activity that I enjoy

Why: My intention is to start chronicling these activities here for the world to see. In this case, the world will probably only include myself, my family, and friends.