Weather.com says an arctic cold front moves in the next time I have some days off (M/T). Nighttime temps will be in the low 20s. Any migrating birds who are still lingering here will surely be gone by then. This week is still beautiful: classic late fall in Wyoming, with vivid blue skies and orange leaves still clinging to cottonwood branches, so Tango and I decide to take an afternoon outing to a nearby reservoir

I pack up a salad, book, dog food, and coffee, then we head out in the van.  In only a few miles I am outside of town, passing corn stubble in the fields and a small herd of deer who are always in the area.  At the reservoir, I head west along the water, drive into a campsite,  and set up my chair on the beach.

van in tree, ruddy ducks

Van is under trees, look for white spot, right of center, Ruddy Ducks float in water

Birds! The air is filled with circling gulls making their delightful racket. In the shallow lagoon, I see the elegant Western Grebes, heads up high while they swim through the calm water. Tango and I walk along the shoreline for better photos, and just around the bend we see a flock of Ruddy Ducks in the water.  They are  dressed in their winter plumage and curled up into little floating fur balls, but their white butts and chin markings give them away. In the distance, through all the seagull madness, I see a few White Pelicans, silent and motionless in the water as if guarding the whole bunch of October rowdies.

western grebe

HRH, the most elegant Western Grebe

western grebe 3

Grebes and gulls

ruddy ducks

Ruddy ducks


White pelican on guard

The light fades slowly towards the west and I want to camp here. Everything is perfect and winter is approaching all too soon. Maybe the birds will take off south right in front of me in the morning. The van is still set up for sleeping inside, complete with my cold weather sleeping bags, a small propane stove, and instant coffee. I still have a small batch of firewood stashed as well. Hmmmm. I am so tempted, but end up coming home where tasks await tonight and work responsibilities arrive in the morning.  I hope that if anyone is keeping track of my impulsive nature, they give me a point or two in the “impulse controlled” column!

That is not to say, however, that I won’t sneak back out this evening and head back in before work tomorrow.

Interesting photos others took:

Ruddy Duck

Ruddy Duck (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Little Grebes swim together.

Little Grebes swim together. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Western grebe range map

Western grebe range map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Western Grebes Courtship Dance

2 thoughts on “Autumn Afternoon Adventure

  1. I also love the Grebes. We get the beautiful and elegant Western/Clarks (I still can’t tell the difference) and the cute little pied-billed, eared and horned (smaller than the Western, but I have a lot of learning before I can differentiate amongst them) here in Elkhorn Slough (just off Monterey Bay, CA). Most were gone for the summer, but they have been returning the past month or so – yea!

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