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Just 300 cranes remain in naturally migrating flock -12/5/2014, 10:08 AM

Whooping cranes visit Cedar Bluff -12/5/2014, 10:07 AM

Hunters enter guilty pleas -11/21/2014, 9:50 AM

Pheasant numbers higher -11/7/2014, 9:53 AM

If the pheasant numbers are better, why aren't we seeing more? -11/7/2014, 9:53 AM

KDWP&T set to woo out-of-state hunters -11/7/2014, 9:53 AM

Federal charges filed against 8 in 2013 Graham County dove hunt -11/7/2014, 9:53 AM

Politics trumps science -10/17/2014, 11:50 AM

Diminutive burrowing owl briefly stands guard -10/17/2014, 11:50 AM

Rescuing the injured -10/10/2014, 10:00 AM

Manager takes to the sky -9/19/2014, 2:30 PM

Of dragonflies, new bad habits -9/12/2014, 9:51 AM

A real rarity -9/5/2014, 9:56 AM

Peak camping season ends with a bang -9/5/2014, 9:46 AM

Mourning the loss of the last passenger pigeon -- too many already -9/5/2014, 9:46 AM

Bird a top choice for hunters -8/29/2014, 9:22 AM

Doves all around -8/29/2014, 9:22 AM

FWS details ESA listing for bat -8/22/2014, 12:15 PM

Tales from the land of Don't -8/8/2014, 6:07 PM

'Kansas Fishes' hot off the press -8/8/2014, 6:07 PM

Pheasant tour off target -8/1/2014, 8:17 AM

Pheasant harvest falls again -7/24/2014, 11:02 AM

Biologist calls idea 'ludicrous' -7/18/2014, 2:13 PM

Appeals court exonerates Texas water board -7/11/2014, 12:01 PM

Survey finds more prairie chickens -7/11/2014, 11:52 AM

Hunting outlook up; duck numbers sharply higher -7/11/2014, 11:52 AM

New round of federal lawsuits at loggerheads with one another -6/20/2014, 11:34 AM

KDWP&T OKs regional ban on prairie chicken hunting -6/20/2014, 11:34 AM

KNRC not ready to give up -6/20/2014, 11:34 AM

Serenading a historic landmark -5/30/2014, 11:03 AM

KNRC set to ask for more money -5/30/2014, 11:03 AM

Kansas seceding on wildlife -5/9/2014, 8:31 AM

Kansas courts back federal endangered species law -5/9/2014, 8:30 AM

Review nearing completion -4/25/2014, 11:07 AM

Bat species should be studied, biologist says -4/25/2014, 11:07 AM

Bats an economic benefit for farmers -4/24/2014, 11:08 AM

Walleye smaller, still productive -4/18/2014, 11:00 AM

In the baking aisle, shoppers agree environment is critical -4/18/2014, 11:00 AM

Lawsuits lining up on listing -4/11/2014, 11:00 AM

Webster too low for irrigation -4/10/2014, 11:00 AM

-4/4/2014, 4:55 PM

-4/4/2014, 4:55 PM

FWS lists prairie chicken as threatened -3/28/2014, 9:47 AM

Whooping cranes reach Kansas; winter numbers up slightly -3/28/2014, 8:35 AM

Ferret numbers still tumbling -3/28/2014, 8:35 AM

Oklahoma, oil group suing FWS -3/20/2014, 9:59 AM

Divining rod for discs -3/20/2014, 9:59 AM

Despite valiant effort, no success in finding snowy owl -3/14/2014, 9:27 AM

Capturing the moment -3/14/2014, 9:27 AM

Kansas: Not so flat after all -3/7/2014, 3:49 PM

Rod, reel a good fit -2/28/2014, 7:53 AM

Spring just a snowstorm or so away -2/28/2014, 7:53 AM

At 90: Best deer ever -2/21/2014, 10:33 AM

Tests confirm 5 new CWD cases -2/14/2014, 10:13 AM

Senate votes to invoke 'sovereignty' over state's prairie chickens -2/14/2014, 10:13 AM

KNRC to deliver report, asking for more money from member counties -2/7/2014, 10:50 AM

Group flunks states, federal agencies dealing with prairie dogs -2/7/2014, 12:12 PM

Brownback ready to sue feds -2/7/2014, 10:50 AM

Big oil companies bankrolling conservation plan -2/6/2014, 10:50 AM

Audubon blasts 'sovereign' bill -1/31/2014, 9:49 AM

Feds again asking for listing comments -1/31/2014, 9:48 AM

Utilities enrolling in program -1/31/2014, 9:48 AM

Listing controversy continues -1/17/2014, 10:30 AM

Friends on the water -12/20/2013, 9:54 AM

Federal wildlife agency lays out rules for oil, gas protection -12/20/2013, 9:54 AM

A beckoning -12/13/2013, 9:08 AM

Listing more likely as FWS adds rules -12/13/2013, 8:59 AM

It's happening right before our eyes! -11/29/2013, 10:28 AM

Governor's Ringneck Classic draws a crowd -11/22/2013, 9:29 AM

Drought saps pheasant numbers -11/8/2013, 6:50 PM

Sporting clays sure to be hot at hunt -11/8/2013, 6:50 PM

Counties set to talk chickens -11/1/2013, 12:08 PM

Dangerous delight -10/18/2013, 9:44 AM

Coping with (more) bad habits -10/11/2013, 12:01 PM

Celebrating fossil discoveries -10/11/2013, 11:51 AM

Making a wish come true -9/27/2013, 11:39 AM

Prairie chicken numbers tumble -9/27/2013, 11:39 AM

Counties meet FWS, present plans -9/20/2013, 12:25 PM

Oakley man in pursuit of grouse -9/13/2013, 11:23 AM

Counties hoping to halt listing -9/6/2013, 11:54 AM

Going outdoors -8/23/2013, 10:15 AM

Wetlands no longer bone dry -8/16/2013, 11:46 AM

Duck numbers remain strong -7/26/2013, 11:48 AM

Updated survey, conservation plan upcoming -7/26/2013, 11:39 AM

Pheasant outlook not so bright -7/19/2013, 11:48 AM

High heat, strong winds finally show a beneficial side -7/12/2013, 12:05 PM

FWS delay reopens comment period -7/12/2013, 12:05 PM

Study refutes wind tower effect on greater prairie chickens -7/12/2013, 12:05 PM

Flowering cacti drought's treat -6/21/2013, 11:58 AM

Building a bridge over a key spring -6/14/2013, 9:57 AM

Country matters: Lemon painted-cup taking over -6/7/2013, 8:52 AM

Wind dampens great camping -5/31/2013, 12:22 PM

Wildlife benefits can boost CRP offers -5/24/2013, 11:42 AM

Camping season begins -5/24/2013, 11:42 AM

Field day focuses on wildlife needs -5/17/2013, 11:52 AM

FWS making big changes for LEPC rule -5/10/2013, 2:14 PM

Pheasants Forever biologists planning workshops on CRP enrollment -5/10/2013, 2:14 PM

Conservation plan nearly complete -5/3/2013, 10:31 AM

Final prairie chicken meeting upcoming -4/26/2013, 8:31 AM

Wildlife highlights Trego forestry day -4/26/2013, 8:31 AM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
It's been a tough year for wildflowers

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It's been a tough year for wildflowers

Published on -9/16/2011, 8:42 AM

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It's been a tough year, weather-wise.

There's the heat, the lack of rain and the depressing news of more heat and a lack of rain to continue.

And now we know La Nina has returned, the "little girl," that brings a cooling phase to the Pacific Ocean.

Markedly different than an El Nino, the warming of the ocean, La Nina is responsible for the drought and heat that has besieged the Southern Plains -- Texas, Oklahoma and parts of Kansas.

The drought, of course, has been bad for crops, livestock -- even cities that were in the path of the weather phenomenon.

It's also been a tough year for all things wild.

Pheasants had to contend with shorter wheat, cut or abandoned earlier, making a mess of nesting.

Heck, even prairie dogs headed south -- deep into their burrows -- for the winter, taking an almost unheard-of hibernation.

But an even more subtle change could be seen as well in the wildflowers that burst to life in the spring and summer, bringing the landscape to life as bees buzz to and fro and insects gather the lifeblood of nectar.

This year, the wildflowers bloomed and then promptly died.

If you weren't there, you missed it.

They are irrepressible, however, and even the smallest of showers can bring them back to life.

Photographing wildflowers was all but impossible until late August, and then only slightly.

The flowering of northwest Kansas did not burst on the scene, but rather crept in, softly sending up shoots on a whisper of moisture.

They are not the boastful colors of spring, but rather the more subtle hint of life.

Be that as it may, they are beautiful, in so many ways.

They are a welcome respite from the otherwise brown countryside that is August and September in the shortgrass prairie.

They are enough to brighten the otherwise drab earth tones we've endured this year.

* A second page of northwest Kansas flowers will be published in two weeks. I've tried my best to identify the flowers, using www.kswildflower.org.

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