Thursday, August 22, 2013

More Transformations Than One of Those TLC Shows

You know those TLC or HGTV television shows when they show the before and after photos? On "Love and Or List It," an interior designer comes in and transforms someone's home from old and tired to snazzy and modern. (How do I sign up for that to happen to me? Not that I want to list my house, but I could sure use an interior designer to update some things around here.)

Or on "What Not To Wear," Stacy and Clinton toss the "subject's" old clothes and give them a thousand bucks to spend on new clothes. (I don't want to get rid of some of my favorite around-the-house clothes, so I think I'll leave the new duds to the television "victims," thank you very much.)

But transformations are interesting to watch. And we've had a front-row seat as summer's rains have transformed our drought-stricken countryside, including the Rattlesnake Creek pasture. (Click on the link to see the dramatic photos showing a dry creek in 2012 and beautiful, flowing water in 2013!)

Our neighbor, Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, has had a similar "makeover." In April, Randy & I did a little sightseeing in our own backyard and visited Quivira one afternoon.

While we were there in April, I walked down to a burned tree stump in the marshlands in front of the observation tower and took this photo:
Last week, we went for a quick return visit. As you can see, the water level is now creeping toward that burned tree stump. I didn't get closer because I didn't want to get my feet wet and the mosquitoes were on full attack mode.
Here's the wider view of the same location. (The tree stump is just a spec just below center in the photo.) It's the only photo I took there because of said mosquitoes. I could tell you that the little specs flying around in the photo are mosquitoes. They felt as big as those birds, let me tell you.
Granted, the first photo was taken in April after a spring with a number of late freezes. Grasses were definitely behind the curve in greening up for spring. But it does show how much additional water is in the marshes after an unseasonably wet July and early August.

More water means more birds are stopping by the refuge.
 Some of our feathered friends were taking a dip in a flooded roadway.
It didn't exactly sound like the ocean, but there were crashing waves as water flowed through a spillway at the Little Salt Marsh.
Last summer, the marshlands near the roads were high and dry.
This is a photo comparison by staff at Quivira, posted to their Facebook page. The one on the left was the Big Salt Marsh on August 3, 2012. The one of the right is from August 6, 2013. We didn't drive up to the Big Salt Marsh, so I am using their comparison photos.
The transformation didn't happen in the space of an hour-long TV show. (Of course, neither do the actual transformations of homes or people's wardrobe). But it is a blessing to see the big changes in water levels ...
... and in the smallest blooms the plentiful rain has left behind. 
  1. A thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.
  2. A metamorphosis during the life cycle of an animal.
conversion - metamorphosis - change - alternation
Yep, I think that definition fits.


  1. Fantastic photos, and fantastic subject!

    1. Thanks, Jane! I sure looks prettier at Quivira now than it did the past two summers!

  2. Just like the tv shows - I like the after better! :) Those white birds are very pretty.

    1. I don't know what they are. I got out of the pickup so I could get a little closer.