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A visit to the ancient mountains…

I recently profiled the Wichita Mountains here, but I’m not sure one can get too much of a good thing.  OK. I can think of a couple of things that can be carried to excess, but not enjoying Oklahoma’s diverse natural world, nor 12-year old Dalmore.  Carolyn and I took a short visit to the Wichitas this week.  They are still lush and green, although the wildflowers are a little past their prime. There is still time to get out and see the old mountains in their spring greenery before the summer heat scorches the prairie landscape.

Naturally we saw the signature animals– bison, Texas Longhorns, whitetails and wild turkeys.  But we also got out of the car and saw some of the critters you won’t see from a vehicle.  Carolyn kept a bird list and we saw 33 species, not a whole lot for the Wichitas, but we were not out to compile a big list, but rather to just enjoy whatever the Wichitas served up to us and get a little exercise.  Notable birds were a Peregrine Falcon, Black-capped Vireos, Painted Buntings (numerous), a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, a Catbird (rare for the Wichitas), bobwhites, Cave Swallows (rare, but easily found) and a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.

Photos by L. Dillon.  Click to enlarge.

Much to Carolyn’s disappointment I did not find any rattlers to photograph.  Saw only one Mountain Boomer (Collared Lizard), a demure little female and got some nice close-up shots of her.  Squadrons of dragonflies buzzed around the wet areas and tarantulas crawled on the trails and across the roads.  We observed several giant millipedes about the size of my middle finger.  Brown and segmented,  they marched across the trail from Quanah Parker dam to Little Baldy.

I’m a firm believer that a picture is worth a thousand words, so I’ll shut down the keyboard and just direct you to my ‘Wichitas” set on flickr.  Photos are arranged so the newest show first.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/reddirtpics/sets/72157628241538375/.  Don’t forget to check out Oklahoma Nature Pics at http://www.flickr.com/groups/1941297@N20/pool/  .  Please share your Oklahoma nature photos with us.

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