Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Great Salt Plains Afternoon

Jerusalem Artichoke growing thick along the lake shore.

Much of the lake is very shallow, making a perfect haven for waterfowl.
Without spending four hours in the car and driving 200 miles round-trip, there’s so little to do in NW Oklahoma that we find ourselves bored, stale, and imprisoned by our property markers. A couple days ago we just had to break loose for awhile and get out of town. We’ve been to the Great Salt Plains Lake many times with family, picnicking, camping, but even a well-worn path becomes a break from the norm after awhile, and it’s only an hour away.

This cicada had already shed, leaving its exterior hanging in a tree.

We were there at exactly the worst time for expecting to take any wildlife pictures, six hours after morning twilight and 6 hours before evening twilight, the times when wildlife is most active. Yet, just seeing and walking through natural surroundings for a couple hours gave us much needed balm for our nerves and dispositions.

The tasselled heads of grass swaying in the breeze.

The lake is right on a major North American migratory route for many bird and waterfowl species, so much of the lake is shut down for large segments of the year to protect the travel-weary birds. We were a bit early for seeing many birds, but apparently right on time for peak grasshopper and cicada activity. The air was filled with the sharp, shrill chirping of millions of male cicadas to the point of being the dominant sound. There were so many grasshoppers that we were continually being struck by the unskilled flying bugs. We saw only three other people during our stay, making our time along the shore restful and uninterrupted.

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