Borrego Springs, CA

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Iceman cometh

Thanks to the El Nino, this has been the coldest winter that Texas has experienced in several decades.  Lucky me!!  Freezing precipitation is on the way tomorrow.  I'd like to get upset about that, but then all I have to do is think of my family in Minnesota and around Chicago, and I just smile.  :)  Think of those poor folks in Washington DC and the Northeast!  That puts things into perspective, so I can deal with a little more rain/snow/sleet.  I keep looking forward to the possibility of a fantastic blue bonnet bloom in about two months.  After all, that's one of the reasons I originally came to the Texas Hill Country for the spring.

This morning, I headed down to the office for my first official day of work at Balcones.  Rob Iske, the volunteer coordinator, found me some inside work to occupy my time for the morning and part of the afternoon.  After coming back to the rig for lunch and to take Emma out, I walked back off of the hill to the office this afternoon.  I would be picking up a refuge vehicle for my use.  With so many volunteers this winter, my only option was a 15  passenger van.  Talk about overkill for what I'll be doing!  Tomorrow, I'll load it up with all my birding equipment so I'll be prepared in case I run into something interesting in my work-time journeys.  That means my binoculars, camera (with two lenses), mono pod, spotting scope, tripod, bird ID book (Sibley's), and a couple of diamond willow walking sticks.  The extra stick or two will be in case one of the other volunteers wants to accompany me on one of my bird hikes through the hills.  I'll also add refuge pamphlets to restock kiosks throughout the refuge, and maybe some trail maintenance tools.  I'm happy to be back at work (?).

Peggy, Caroline, and I were fed up with office/inside work by 2:00 this afternoon, so we headed outside.  The sun was shining, and even though it was only in the forties, we enjoyed cleaning up the gardens surrounding the headquarters building.  We had a good time trimming off all of last years dead growth from the flowering native plantings while carrying on jovial conversation.  None of us get to really see the fruits of our labor since most of the plantings don't flower until summer or fall.  These plantings attract a wide variety of  butterflies, in season, but it was good to get out and do something physical.

When I got back to the rig, Emma and I went on a nice walk in the hills, and then I refilled the bird feeders that I have set out.  The large flocks of chipping sparrows are emptying them daily.  I also put out a Niger seed feeder today, since I spotted a lesser goldfinch in the ash junipers this afternoon.  Goldfinches and pine siskins really like the Niger seed sock feeder.  I'd like to get a nice picture of the lesser goldfinch to share with you.  It may take a few days, but the cold and snowy forecast for the next few days may improve my chances.

Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later,  Judy

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