Roadside finds

Wending our way through the small towns and narrow roads of the central Plains States south, we came across some notable discoveries — things we would never see on busy interstate highways.

A female Prairie Chicken, foraging right alongside the road and unperturbed by our car backing up to get a better view of her.
We almost drove right by this little piece of prairie as we took a sharp curve on a road out of Red Cloud, Nebraska. Her family home is nicely preserved in town.
At a park in Red Cloud, we found a pair of Cooper’s Hawks perched in the trees near the bathroom. One of them was munching on a recent kill.
McAllister Park in Lubbock, Texas looks arid and deserted of life, but turns out to be a birding hotspot in the middle of busy freeway traffic! Black-tailed Jackrabbits were abundant, and boldly hopping around out in the open, so I guess there were no Great Horned Owls around.
Also found at McAllister Park were several pairs of Burrowing Owls, perched on the edge of burrows originally constructed by the Prairie Dogs there.
Right at the edge of the road leading up to Carlsbad Caverns were a pair of young male Bighorn Sheep munching on what looked pretty inedible. The Chihuahuan Desert here in southern New Mexico is really bleak looking, without a shred of green visible except for the Juniper needles. How these animals survive here in this hot, arid place is truly amazing.

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