Borrego Springs, CA

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Leaving already??

Some folks have commented that it seems like I just got to Malheur NWR.  In a way that’s true.  When I leave here next Friday, I’ll only have spent four weeks here.  I usually spend three months at a time at one our refuges.  Turns out that this time I was just filling in for someone who had to leave early, so it was only a one month assignment.  I don’t feel like I’ve had a chance to truly see everything I wanted in the area, but considering I’m stuck inside the Visitor’s Center for all my work days, I’m ready to move on.  I don’t mind working the Visitor’s Center, I just don’t care to do it every day.  This is a great refuge, but it didn’t turn out to be the assignment that I thought it was going to be, and if I’m fair about it, it’s probably because I was filling in for someone.

Others have asked where I’m going next.  Well, I’ll be making my way to Anahuac NWR which is near Houston, TX.  I can’t believe I’m volunteering there for the fourth time; my usual limit is two times (because there are so many places to see in this country).  However, Anahuac has been gracious enough to allow me to store my rig there while I go on my almost three week cruise in November that culminates in Galveston.  I also really like what I get to do there, and Stephanie, the volunteer coordinator, is super to work for. 

The big question is how will I get to Texas from Oregon.  I’m a very planful person, and this question is weighing heavy on my mind.  The problem is getting the leveling jacks repaired.  I’m awaiting an email from the manufacturer to find out the nearest repair facility.  That will determine my direction of travel.  With only six days to go before departure, I usually have my route pretty well mapped out.  Not so, this time.  I have about a month to get to Anahuac, so I’m really not stressing out about it, yet.  :) 
_MG_5388As Joanne, another volunteer, and I headed out early this morning for the farmer’s market in Burn, I noticed a golden eagle on a fence post as I was zipping down the highway.  I planted my foot firmly on the brake pedal and did a U-turn to go back and see if I could get a picture.  Of course, just as I slowly approached the fence post, it decided to not pose for me.  There was also a raven on a neighboring post, and they both headed for the hills together!  Kind of an odd couple, as the raven was not trying to harass the eagle.  Dang!  I sure would have enjoyed getting a good close up of the eagle.  :(

I scored big time at the farmer’s market, and carried back about twenty pounds of fresh produce to the car for myself and Sue.  Sue is another volunteer, but she always has to work on Saturdays, so I shop (and haggle) for the both of us.  :)  She is a vegetarian, and is always excited to see what goodies I’ve been able to find for her and her husband.  You sure can’t beat the fresh veggies I’ve been able to get every Saturday!  This week’s haul included tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, squash, pears, plums, apples, carrots, cabbage, and broccoli florets.  Mmm!
_MG_5404 _MG_5406
Late this afternoon, Emma and I hopped in the car and took a drive down the Northern half of the auto tour route to see what we could see.  There was one lone Western meadowlark still singing his heart out.  :)
_MG_5414Two feet away was a song sparrow enjoying the concert.  :)
_MG_5391As we turned down a side spur, I spotted two families of sandhill cranes feeding in one of the fields.  Each pair had one juvenile with them. (the juveniles don’t have the red on their foreheads yet)
_MG_5392They all suddenly looked to the right, and the second bird from the left began to call out.
_MG_5397I thought they were just communicating with another bunch of cranes further down the field.
_MG_5399 _MG_5398
But what I didn’t discover until I got home and was editing the pictures, is that there was a coyote watching them looking for his supper!  The young of the year are able to fly now, so it was probably wishful thinking on the part of the coyote.  It’s survival of the fittest out in the wild, so you just never know…

Speaking of coyotes, Emma is now pacing the rig with her hair up as we are being serenaded by some very close coyotes.  They have been leaving “calling cards” around the rig for Emma in the middle of the night.  Isn’t it nice to have friends come calling??  :)

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


  1. Poor Emma. I can only imagine how stressful it must be for her, but then she probably unerstands much more than we do.

  2. We have of coyotes here in north San Diego, too. I don't take Katie out without a leash, and I'm always thinking about what I'll do if they approach. I guess we've moved into their area, so...I can't complain, but I AM careful.
    I love the cranes! You must have a good eye to always see these great photo ops.

  3. I love the songs of the coyotes when we're camped in the desert in AZ. But the girls do not go out without a leash because they wouldn't stand a chance. Scooter is always on alert when she hears them but Skittlez could care less. Love the pictures. I have yet to figure out how to have the patience to get great pictures of birds and animals.

  4. I'l bet Emma has an instinct that would tell her a coyote is a predator and to stay clear of it. But you can't be to safe. I have watched Rigg's chase a copperhead into it's hole, I was was sure glad it decided to flee than to make a stand. Rigg's was absolutely fearless so he must not know that danger exists with snakes. Hope you get the call for your jacks so you can make your travel plans. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna.

  5. Poor Emma. As always your pictures are great!

  6. Our dogs use to always howl along with them. Of course, theirs is more of a yip, but the dogs thought they were answering them. I envy your life so much. When I get through with taking care of my brother, who knows where the road will lead next, but I hope it is to see some of our beautiful wild life. Thanks for sharing so much with us...

  7. Those Sandhill Cranes look goofy when not standing in water...I do love the howl of the Coyotes when we are in the desert areas...it is so forlorn, but soothing at the same time...
    I'm one who likes to plan ahead, too. Dennis is one who likes to fly by the seat of his pants...Maybe that's why we get along...a little of both!! Hope you hear from your jack people soon, so you can relax and get to planning.

  8. For all of the 22 years we have been here we have had a pack of coyotes sing in the ravine just below our house. We have always had cats and dogs. In the last year and a half we have lost both. We think the cat was a coyote dinner.

    This year we have not heard them at all. It it because they have nothing to hunt here?

    I don't want to get another pet.

    I loved my dogs but it was I who always had to do all of the pet care.

    I like cats, but I don't want to have a litter pan in our future rig!

  9. They say to carry pepper spray or even mace when you are in feral dog or coyote country. You won't keep them away forever, but it may give you and Emma a nano-second to retreat. You can buy protection sprays at bike shops or outdoor stores.