Sunday, March 28, 2010

Wray, Colorado and the Prairie Chicken Jamboree

The past couple of days of birding have been less fruitful than earlier in the week, the weather has hindered us, more snow, high winds and cold, but we've still gotten some great birds including a Three-toed Woodpecker, Barrows Goldeneye duck and Evening Grosbeak, all life birds for me.  Last night we stayed with friends of Chris's in Boulder, a pleasant change from a run of nights at a series of Comfort Inns and ate a wonderful dinner with fine wines. I had a dish called duck 3 ways, sausage, breast and confit of the leg, really scrumptious over a bed of white beans and greens.  It seemed fitting as I've been thinking the ducks on this trip have been one of the best parts of the birding.

Tonight we're in an extremely funky motel in Wray, Colorado, out on the prairie just a few miles from Nebraska.  This evening we were held captive by the folks from the Wray Chamber of Commerce for about 4 hours.  First we met up at the Wray museum, filled with arrowheads and info on archeological digs in this area.  Once the group of 25 or so folks assembled we filed onto a bus and were then toured around the town of Wray, population 2,200.  Our leaders were the head of the Chamber and the director of the museum.  They entertained us with stories and the history of Wray as we were driven past the fish hatchery, high school, recreation center, hospital, nursing home, wind turbine, and lovers lane from which I took the following photo looking out over this small but apparently well-funded burg.

We then drove to Laird, the next town up the road, to a building that was formely the school house, that after the top 2 floors were blown off in a tornado, was remodeled into a one story community center.  There we were joined by various dignitaries from the Wray Chamber of Commerce and given a presentation by a woman who had written her masters paper, circa 1963, on the music of the plains indians.  A crew of ladies and gents from the community center took our orders for how we wanted our steaks cooked but by the time the presentation was finished, they all came out medium well.  Baked potato, green beans, tossed salad and a roll rounded out the supper and was polished off with a choice of desserts, I picked cherry pie.  All things considered the meal was decent.

After supper a fresh faced young officer of the Colorado Department of Wildlife gave us a presentation on the Greater Prairie Chickens and what we should expect on our tour starting at 5:20 tomorrow morning.   I'll finally get a chance to put on the long johns and down coat I brought and break out the hand warmers.  It should be quite a show as we sit in our blind and observe as hopefully 2 dozen Greater Prairie Chickens strut across their lek in the early morning light.

1 comment:

pamtimmons said...

I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying your version of this slow-birding escapade. Watch ducks~ hunger to eat ducks... it's only natural. Too funny. Cheers!