Borrego Springs, CA

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Starting the bird surveys

I decided to start my bird surveys at Doeskin Ranch this morning.  Settlers first came here in the 1850's to establish ranches.  Doeskin Ranch was one of the first acquisitions when Balcones Canyonlands NWR was established in 1992. 

The trails at Doeskin lead down from the parking lot.  There have been quite a few changes since last year.  There is an added paved parking area with  a paved switch back trail that is handicapped accessible down to the new bathrooms.  While not all trails are accessible, folks in wheelchairs can get a good feel for the various habitats of the ranch.

I didn't do all the trails today, but I did check out the Creek Trail, the Prairie and Pond Trail, and a portion of the Ridgeline Trail.  I started with the Ridgeline Trail....

but found I was not prepared to do the whole trail.  When I was here last year, the area was suffering from a very severe drought.  At that time, it was easy to walk across the Doeskin Branch on exposed rocks.  As you can see, the stepping stones are now submerged and I didn't have proper footwear to cross. Bird migration hasn't really begun yet, so I'm sure I didn't miss much by not proceeding.

I backtracked and headed out on the Creek Trail in reverse.  This trail weaves in and out between the grassland and along the branch.

I was amazed at the abundance of water coursing down the branch.  Last year, there was barely a trickle.  It was a great day to enjoy the sounds of the rushing creek.  Bird life was very sparse.  Because it's still February, that's pretty much what I had expected.

I took advantage of the strategically placed benches to enjoy the solitude and appreciate how important this life giving supply of water must have been to early settlers.  Before the advent of the white man, Comanche warriors and families roamed this area.  What a welcome respite this creek must have afforded.  I didn't record many birds today, but my spirit was rejuvenated on today's hike.  This is why I do what I do.

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

No comments:

Post a Comment