On the afternoon of September 17, I left St. Cloud for Aberdeen, SD where I wold be teaching a work related class for a couple of days.
Just as the sun was entering that lovely period of golden light before sunset, I spotted a sign that said Waubay National Wildlife Refuge. According to the refuge website, Artist George Catlin described this area as a
“‘blue and boundless ocean of prairie.”
During my visit this boundless ocean was a tapestry of of tawny golds, subtle greens, watery blues, and splashes of crimson.
This refuge is an area that was shaped by passage of glaciers more than 10,000 years ago. The movement of glaciers left numerous depressions – now known as potholes, glacial potholes, kettles, or kettle lakes – which collect water and support wildlife. Sadly many of these features have been converted to agricultural and other uses.
The diversity of this area is amplified by the fact that it home to both eastern and western bird species and includes the southern portion of breeding territory for some northern species such as red-necked grebes and LeConte’s sparrows and is at the northern edge of red-bellied woodpeckers, northern cardinals and yellow-billed cuckoos.
Of course, I made a quick U-turn and headed to see what there might be to see.
I happily wandered until the light began to fade and I was treated to an amazing sunset.