A Haven In Peril

It was only in May of this year that I made the acquaintance of Cross Creek Regional Park in Fountain, a small town about 10 miles south of our home in Colorado Springs. The park’s main feature is a reservoir with surrounding wetlands, but it also borders on prairie. In an area where this combination of habitats is getting increasingly scarce, it acts as a magnet not only for waterfowl and shorebirds, but also for grassland birds, and a variety of additional species.

The views are lovely. Looking west, water dominates the foreground, a row of multi-hued houses reminiscent of some coastal fishing town line the middle, and the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains rules the background, with Pikes Peak presiding over its neighbors. In the east, open meadows still fill the spaces between private lots.

To enlarge a photo, click on it. To read its caption, hover the cursor over it.

Even though a well-trodden trail circles the pond, a soccer field and playground occupy one boundary, and houses encroach on the park from multiple directions, it has been the site of many wildlife encounters for me, with feathered friends first and foremost, but not exclusively. As the sky brightens into day, or darkens into night, the dawn and dusk avian chorus swells, in which my favorite Western Meadowlarks not infrequently play the first violin.

There are rumors that major changes are ahead for this vibrant oasis, and while the declared goal is to enlarge the existing body of water to enhance recreation, it is not clear how this will affect the adjacent wetlands, which might be wiped out, at least in the short run. More trails will attract more people, with more dogs, that far too often run off leash and harass wild critters. If boats were allowed on the lake, it would completely change the character of this location. Where would all the animals go that call the pond, the reeds and the sedges, the nearby trees and bushes, the adjacent fields home? I am fearful that we will lose another wildlife refuge to so-called progress and unchecked population growth. I hope my fears will be proven wrong, but a part of me already mourns the possible modifications looming in the future.

54 thoughts on “A Haven In Peril

  1. Wieder eine sehr schöne Fotoserie die du hier zeigst. Gerne sehe ich mir die Bilder aus deiner Heimat an. Sie zeigen häufig Vogelarten die ich von hier nicht kenne. Dann wundere ich mich wieder, dass es dort Vögel gibt, die ich auch hier beobachten kann

    Liked by 2 people

  2. One can only hope deep investigations have been done to explore the effect changing the lake size would have on the existing wetlands and environment, including native flora and fauna.

    This looks very much like our Jawbone coastal reserve and arboretum which has houses surrounding the lake system, but there is a strong local group who maintains the environment in conjunction with the local council and Parks Association. Dogs must be on a leash (as far as I know) and various parts are fenced off to allow the saltmarsh and native flora to thrive without any human footprint.

    One can only hope for the best in this kind of situation.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I am trying to hope for the best, Vicki, but am skeptical. Our society is on a trajectory away from nature, and people who do not experience it, have no reason to protect it. I hope I am wrong, and I hope that the kids growing up now will develop an appreciation, and a sense of responsibility for, the natural world.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dankeschön, liebe Brigitte. Es freut mich, daß Dir einige Arten bekannt sind. Da meine Liebe für Vögel erst in Amerika begonnen hat, muß ich noch viel über diejenigen in Europa lernen. Bei jedem Besuch etwas mehr, doch leider geht das nur sehr langsam voran.
      Euch noch eine schöne Woche in Bremen.


  3. Years ago I saw an exhibit of photos by Robert Adams. Most I think were from unpopulated parts of the American West. He took the pictures in the 1950s to 1980s or so, I think. Anyway, one of his points was that it’s really difficult to find an area untouched by Man, even if it’s “merely” a candy wrapper in the middle of the desert. Our species’ hands are everywhere. And it sounds as if those hands will make the marshland disappear from the place you write about.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m sorry to hear about the changes that are likely to come to that marsh. Even if the public gets a say in the development plans, most people prefer amenities like baseball fields, bicycle paths, swimming pools, and the like, to land left in a natural or even semi-natural state. And cynical me will add that in some cases it’s not only dogs that should be kept on a leash in parks and preserves, but the dogs’ owners.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am afraid you are correct, Steve. Many people don’t see the value of “unused” land or water. But part of me still thinks that they might change their attitude if they realized the abundance of animal and plant life present in plain sight. We are strange creatures in that we tend to only notice what we know about. But once those eyes have been opened, we see marvels everywhere.


  5. Liebe Tanja, ich liebe deine Ausflüge und die schönen Vogelbilder. Immer wieder eine Freude, mal die amerikanische Flora und Fauna kennenzulernen (manche gibts hier ja auch), und die sind alle so hübsch. Was macht denn bitte schön der Arkansastyrann 😉 Ich wags mir ja gar nicht vorzustellen, haha! – Ach Mensch, ich hoffe mit dir, daß das Gelände erhalten bleibt. Gibts dort keine Umweltschutzgruppen, die sich für das Gebiet einsetzen? Das wäre tatsächlich ein Alptraum, wenn das wegfallen würde. Der Mensch breitet sich immer mehr aus, die Tiere haben das Nachsehen bzw. bald keinen Lebensraum mehr. Hoffentlich findet sich eine Lösung, daß der See soweit geschützt bleibt!!! Die Vögel sind allerliebst. Ich bin ganz begeistert ♥ Liebe Grüße, Almuth

    Liked by 1 person

    • Deine Begeisterung beglückt mich sehr, liebe Almuth. Und was den Arkansastyrannen angeht, gehört er zu der Familie der Tyrannen. Ich habe gerade gelernt, daß das die größte Vogelfamilie mit über 400 Arten ist, von daher ist es schwer, etwas Allgemeines über deren Verhalten zu sagen. Der Arkansas Tyrann ist allerdings ziemlich, wie soll ich sagen-selbstbewußt. 😊
      Ich versuche, noch mehr Informationen über die Pläne für diesen Park herauszufinden, und hoffe noch ist nicht aller Tage Abend!
      Dir noch eine schöne Woche.
      Herzliche Grüße,

      Liked by 1 person

      • Echt, von denen habe ich ja noch nie gehört?!! Man lernt nie aus. Da muß ich mal suchen. Ich glaube nicht, daß sie hier vorkommen. Die Bezeichnung Tyrannen würde auch auf so manch andere selbstbewußte Art passen 🙂 Liebe Grüße und dir auch eine gute Zeit mit viel Vogelbesuch, Almuth

        Liked by 1 person

  6. A beautiful gem of a place. Your photos are gorgeous Tanja. Human expansion is so harsh on wildlife, many don’t even think about it. And many don’t care, or maybe don’t know to care. In Maryland here, we are possibly losing Eastern Neck NWR due to lack of funds, which is another problem. ENeckNWR hosts a huge population of Tundra Swans during the winter. Where will they go when they begin to feel threatened by the humans? I know they will find another place to spend their winters. But it’ll cost them in numbers to find the place they can be safe again. So sad on human interference any way it happens. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so right, Donna. I really think that the main problem results from the fact that people don’t know to care, because they live so far removed from nature, and don’t even know what might be lost when certain nature preserves get developed. I think we need to get more people to get out into nature, so they see what is at stake.

      Liked by 1 person

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