Thursday, November 4, 2010

Birds and Chocolate

Oct 30 dawned a clear day with crisp fall temps. Karen and I left Wichita well before sunrise and headed northwest to Quivira National Wildlife refuge in eastern Stafford County. Quivira and it's neighbor Cheyenne Bottoms further north are important for migrating water birds on their long journeys throughout the Western Hemisphere.

Sunrise over Little Salt Marsh
We arrived at the Little Salt Marsh area just before sunrise and went to the observation platform there. We were told by a couple of other visitors that we had missed an adult and juvenile Whooping Crane by just less than 10 min. The sun came up with it's brilliant yellow hues and I caught it just above the horizon.

Pelicans flying over Little Salt Marsh
Karen was watching the birds with binoculars while I was snapping photos as best I could. I don't have a long zoom suitable for wildlife, so most of my photos were more wide angle shots. I did capture a photo of pelicans flying over the platform.

Next, we walked the short Birdhouse Boulevard nature trail near the visitor center before driving north for a quick view of more birds in flight at the observation pullout for the Big Salt Marsh. We didn't have time to take the drive around the Big Salt Marsh on this trip.

Quivira is open daily from dawn to dusk. See the US Fish and Wildlife page at the following address:

Also, visit my photo gallery of Quivira at the following address:

Larry Hornbaker's Quivira Gallery

After leaving Quivira, we took a short drive to Stafford to attend the 2nd Annual Chocolate Sampler Affair, sponsored by the Stafford Chamber of Commerce, Stafford Main Street Association and held on the grounds of the Henderson Inn and Retreat Center at 201 N Green Street.

Chocolate Treats
Karen and I met my sister and her husband there and we found the chocolate sampling tent, with many goodies to try, including chocolate chili. We also saw exhibitors from the area including Stafford and Barton counties.

We observed a bon bon cooking demonstration, participated in a cake walk and watched a pie eating contest. This event also features the nearby Wetlands and Wildlife Scenic Byway through the Quivira and Cheyenne Bottoms areas.

See more about the Chocolate Affair at the following web address:

Chocolate Affair

Also visit the web site of the Henderson House Inn and Retreat center, a member of the Kansas Bed and Breakfast Association:

Henderson House

My photo gallery of the Chocolate Affair can be found at the following address:

Larry Hornbaker's Chocolate Affair Gallery

Jigsaw Puzzles at Curtis Cafe
Leaving the chocolate festival around noon, our group headed to downtown Stafford for a meal at the Curtis Cafe, which is known for the hundreds of assembled jigsaw puzzles on the walls. We had a good meal here before heading back home.

What a great day to be out Exploring Kansas!