East and West views from the top of the Gateway Arch.
When driving to it, the top of the Arch was shrouded in clouds. After climbing to the top in the trams the cloud cover broke and these pics were taken.
Altitude 630 ft
Summer, Fall, now Winter to see the life cycle of change that Nature gives to a special Wildlife Refuge at this latitude.
We missed all the water fowl that migrated further South only days before. Every body of water has been sheathed in the Winter barrier.
No water means no life for the aquatic feathered , and no time is wasted in traveling to better places.
Dissapointed ? No never ! The Planet always provides wonders, We just had to look in the sky. Migrating Snow Geese provided the wonder by flying in large formations calling the calls in a language only the Snow Geese speak.
Harriers and Short Eared Owls provided the acrobatic thrills as they hunted the fields for their next meal. Making flight look simple, a talent I wish I possessed.
A hop, skip and a few steps put us in a great position to view another wonder. A nest of a Bald Eagle. Always unmistakable the mansions in the forest. A good place to raise a family, and keep your innocent away from those that would harm them.
Empty now, but it is the time that love is in the air, literally . After mates decide who they want and the dance of ages begins. In a short time the family will be on their home making sure their special ones survive until they are ready to leave. Almost all species do it.... Parenting.
But the thing I found most interesting on a warm winter day is how freezing and then melting ice makes holes in the mud. Leaving only the holes as the water escapes. I know I am a dork, but if only I could give you what I feel when the wonder takes hold of my soul .
(See older post for more about Clarence Cannon NWR )
The Cora Island unit is the most Eastern unit of the Big Muddy National Wildlife Refuge. Located up the Missouri river from where it flows into the Mississippi river.
Inside the Mississippi flyway, a host to thousands of birds during migration time. Regardless if they are headed South to avoid the cold of Winter, or North to ensure the survival of their species, they pull over here at an all inclusive rest area.
Catherine was able to attend the Wildlife Rescue Center's open house this past weekend.
Executive Director Kim Rutledge was able to give Catherine an update and the first look at Lil ' Fox since she grabbed the poor flea and parasite ridden 4 paw cutie from the weeds along Hwy 21. See earlier blog post "Lil' Fox"
I will sum it up in one sentence. She is doing great !!
Anticipated release in about two months. She has some growing to do !
There was a battle raging over the skies of the Missouri river. A dogfight in the skies. Two masters of the air twisting and turning to see who could edge out an advantage to become the victor !
The Big Muddy National Wildlife Refuge is 11 units stretched accross the State of Missouri. What makes them unique is that they feature North America's longest river the Missouri. Managed in different ways by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and named after the long used nickname of the river," The Big Muddy."
On a gorgeous summer day my favorite South African and American in training traveled to the Overton North unit of the Big Muddy NWR to see what we could be thrilled by.
Walking along a levee, a couple of stone throws from the river we were enjoying the heat of the summer and happy with the breezes and low relative humidity Missouri and its' rivers are infamously not known to produce. Great flying weather !
This is when it happened ! While I was looking in the opposite direction, the future American let out an excited "Oh ! Oh!" and pointed skyward.
Flying from the direction of the river, two seasoned, hardcore veterans of the the air, a mature Red-Tailed Hawk clutching something in its' talons being sharply pursued by a mature Bald Eagle located just off the Hawks' 4 o'clock.
The Hawk banked hard to the left with the pursing Eagle matching its maneuver. The Hawk released its' grip and a single bird, a prize of the hawks hunting, dropped into the sky. As fast as it was dropped the Eagle grabbed it in the free fall.
The Hawk not taking kindly to being so tested, became the pursuer. Staying off to the Eagles 9 o'clock,the skilled flyer jinked several times in the direction of the Eagle. The Eagle banked into the direction of the Hawk, enforcing its' "Air Superiority" over the the smaller bird of prey.
The Eagle executed a perfect landing in a tall cottonwood tree. The Hawk not giving up yet, flew several quick figure eights in front of the tree evaluating if the tactical advantage had turned in favor of this russet colored fighter. It had not, and the brave Hawk, who in his daring challenged his pursuer, retired from the battlefield.