Caddo Maples

November 20, 2016 at 12:03 pm (Autumn, Bird photography, Birds - Oklahoma, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Photography, Wichita Mountains NWR, Wildlife)

Caddo Maples, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Okla.

Caddo Maples, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Okla.

Walking through a forested canyon in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge near Lawton, Okla., I felt like I was back in the Chisos Mountains of Big Bend National Park in Texas. Big Bend was the first park I worked at when the Great Recession ended my art business, and it changed my life.


Not only is it my favorite park, it gave me the opportunity to be a park ranger for a few years. Smokey Bear hat and all. After that, I worked one summer at Mesa Verde, another summer at Dinosaur National Monument (both in Colorado), a year at Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, and a year for U.S. Fish & Wildlife at Okefenokee NWR.


The area I was in yesterday was in the wilderness portion of the refuge that was only accessible by the public on a special tour. Helen Riley, Friends of the Wichitas volunteer, gave her usual excellent tour (my third with her). The above image in particular reminds me of the hikes I did in the Chisos, through Boot Canyon, when the oaks and maples were turning color.


Caddo maples aren’t very common here, but they are among the most colorful of Oklahoma’s fall trees. This year’s color has been muted by an exceptionally warm autumn, but a recent cold snap helped the colors along.


Most were gold and yellow, but this one was a lovely orange.


I didn’t realize Helen was waiting for me while I spent some time with this tree.


I’m on her “lolly-gagger” list, since I generally fall behind everyone else because I’m taking pictures of this thing or that.


Well, we made it back to the bus in plenty of time, thanks to the fast walking pace she set. (Phew!)


Many trees perished in the big fires of 2011, during the height of the drought here.


I have never seen or heard so many red-headed woodpeckers as I did here. I don’t know why the acorn woodpecker hasn’t moved in – it seems like perfect habitat.

Red-headed woodpecker

Red-headed woodpecker


Red-headed woodpecker in flight

Red-headed woodpecker in flight

Juvenile red-headed woodpecker

Juvenile red-headed woodpecker

There were also several eastern bluebirds.

Male eastern bluebird

Male eastern bluebird

It was such a treat to be out in that special area on a gorgeous crisp day.


Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

Feel free to reblog or share


Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

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Contact:  cindy at

1 Comment

  1. Patti said,

    Cindy your photos inspire me to visit!

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