I’m back. Well, most of me is back. The mosquitoes took their chunk and then some. You know that friend who can attract every blood-sucking insect in a field? Well, that’s me.
So, as I mentioned, before… the World Bird Sanctuary in Valley Park, Missouri is home to a number of rescue birds. They would not (for various reasons) be able to survive in the wild. This is just a selection of the birds.
A pair of pelicans.
You (I) can’t tell from the picture, but there is something wrong with the feet. Apparently, the bird doesn’t have the strength required to hunt. I was only about five feet away from this one when I took the picture.
Song bird waiting to be banded and weighed. This one doesn’t live in a cage.
This funny looking bird lives in the gift shop. Visitors are allowed to pet her. Gently.
Small Limestone Cave. It’s only about twenty feet deep, but the shade is nice. I get that deja vu feeling that I’ve been here before. (Which I might have, when I was a kid.)
Bridge in Arrow Rock, Missouri
There is still a certain degree of flooding along the Mississippi River.
Mississipi River. Still as beautiful as ever, and slightly larger than usual. This one’s a navigable river. (Due to flooding, the caves in this park are closed.)
I went for a walk in the woods (Fontenelle Forest, to be precise) and a quick visit to the connected raptor rescue, where they rehabilitate birds of prey. (Just birds of prey. Not ducks. Not woodpeckers. Birds of Prey) They also house a number of birds which would not be able to survive in the wild for various reasons. The short-term residents are kept separately, since they’re not supposed to be socialized to love humans, but the long-term birds are out for the public (provided that they aren’t fostering orphan birds, of course).
Now, to be clear… this is one of those places where an annual membership would be much cheaper for regular visits (uhm, actually if two adults in your family go more than twice in a year) and also there are some benefits (such as after hours access) that would be well worth having, if I lived closer.
A hawk. Unreleaseable due to partial amputation of her wing.
Unmatched pair of owls.
There are even indoor trees! This one is more naturalistic than some bookstore trees I’ve been acquainted with.
The raptor area and some of the trails are wheelchair accessible, as is the main building. (boardwalk-style trails, if that makes a difference to anyone.)
So, that means it’s time for some more rest-area art.
If you’re wondering why this rest area art is so superlatively better than some of the things I’ve posted before, well… that’s because this is Nebraska rest area art. This one happens to be near the Platte River, and is therefore… uhm… well, it’s supposed to be a Sandhill Crane. Or possibly Two Sandhill cranes. Not really sure.
It isn’t, by the way, anywhere near the Sandhills, or, for that matter, any place I would actually associate with Sandhill Cranes.
Today was about getting out and getting some sun, so off to Omaha, I go!
Yup. That’s Omaha. You can tell by the poured concrete parking garage behind the bull rushes. And actually, this is in downtown Omaha. I suspect there’s a reason for all this nature-y excitement. Probably has something to do with drainage, or flood control.
Omaha is a nice balance between urban and rural life. You don’t get bored, but you also don’t have to spend all your time staring at concrete.
Yes, that water has been dyed. Just a little. It’s only obvious when it goes over the rocks, or… well, there is a fountain. And it looks kool-aid blue against the white rocks.
And, yes, that’s a gondola. Or two, if you’re willing to define the word loosely. (You may note that one of those things looks slightly more Italian than the other.) $3 a person, or $20 to charter the whole thing. Not a bad price, really.
Mmmm… Italian. And there goes my mind, wandering back to food, as usual.