My journey back to Colorado, across the Great Plains of North America, was mostly uneventful. Except for strong northwest winds across the High Plains, the weather cooperated and the usual mix of raptors and grassland songbirds made their appearance. A common snipe did zigzag across the highway west of Salina, a lone trumpeter swan claimed a small farm pond east of Russell and, to my amusement, a pair of adult bald eagles sat in the middle of a Kansas crop field, far from any large lake or river.
But the highlight of my excursion came west of Russell, Kansas, where snow covered much of the landscape. Coming over a rise, I saw what appeared to be a snow covered field; seconds later, to my surprise and pleasure, the snow exploded into the air, breaking into a thousand or more pieces. A massive flock of snow geese circled into the bright blue sky, beginning the next segment of their journey to the Arctic.
They were my first snows of the season and are always an inspiring sight. Traveling at 70 mph, I put down my window to enjoy their calls but the intense northwest wind drowned out any noise from the swirling flock. While I was escaping to spring-like warmth along the Colorado Front Range, they were heading into the teeth of the latest Canadian Clipper; one has to admire their fortitude.