Ten Miles from Bliss
Bliss, in this case, is a very small town on the Snake River plain. Hillsides covered in sagebrush and cheatgrass, broken up by irrigated stretches growing mostly corn and alfalfa. But large wind farm is a new development, and extends off into the smokey haze farther than you can see.The towers are big. In the foreground, you can see full-size telephone poles for scale. The Malad River lies at the bottom of the canyon in the middle distances. WC is ambivalent about wind-generated power. It has a vastly lower CO2 impact than fossil fuels, but the visual impact is real and when the wind farms are located in birds’ migratory flight ways, the results can be gruesome.
But the heart of the Snake River plain is the Snake River and its water. Much of its water is used for irrigation. But at Hagerman, east of Bliss, there are a series of fish hatcheries that incidentally provide terrific habitat for birds, including this small colony of Great Egrets in mid-desert.
Hagerman also has the inevitable American Coots (Ivory-billed Mudsuckers, in Mrs. WC’s unkind phrase).
Stranger still to see an American White Pelican in the middle of the Snake River plain, but it is where they come to breed.
And wherever there is flowing water, you are likely to find Great Blue Herons.
Although it is disconcerting to see them in a tree.
Ten miles from Bliss, indeed.