Borrego Springs, CA

Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday Meanderings

My friends and fellow volunteers, Fonda and Denny, had a very long day trip planned for today so I told them I would be more than happy to babysit their 11year old miniature poodle, Brandy.  It really didn’t involve much work on my part.  I just took Brandy out to do his business several times throughout the day.  Being just a wee little thing, and being up in years, that only entailed going for very short walks.  He barked the whole way each time, as little dogs do.  I must say it was a real treat not to have a dog whose mission was to pull my arm out of it’s socket in pursuit of the numerous squirrels!  (Are you listening Emma?)


After running a few errands in town, I decided to go have a look at Shepard State Park which is in the town of Gautier, MS.  So, it’s only a couple of miles from the refuge.  After talking to them at the entrance station, and telling them that I was a volunteer on the refuge, they waived the daily entrance fee for me since I was just doing a drive through to see what the park had to offer.  This sign really hit a chord with me as I drove the few roads.


They have about 20 miles of hiking trails in the park through the piney woods.  I also wanted to check out the campsites for future reference.  Unlike up north with 14 day camping limits, this state park has a 90 day limit before you have to change campsites.  There are only 28 sites, and they are spaced so you have plenty of privacy.  There is a dump station, but sites offer only electric and water.  The monthly rate for seniors is $270 including electricity.  It’s a very quiet safe park, and I’d consider staying there some time in the future. 


Just a couple of minutes ago, as I was writing this post, I heard a scuffling outside in the woods.  Aha!  Here are the culprits!  It’s not a good photo, but certainly proof that there are at least two marauding raccoons!  I have been taking down two of my three feeders each night at sunset the last few nights.  I’ve left out the Niger seed feeder, as that hasn’t been bothered.  Those little bandits!  They’ve bent the post on one of the refuge feeders, and hauled off that feeder to places unknown.  I’m in charge of keeping those feeders supplied, and was shocked yesterday to see the one post bent halfway to the ground and the feeder missing in action.  Between the squirrels and the raccoons, I’ve got my hands full.

57 MS Sandhill Crane NWR15

As soon as I put my feeders back out each morning, the American goldfinches fly right in. 


A few Eastern towhees have also discovered the free lunch at the Hard Rock Bird CafĂ©, but they’re hard to get a good picture of as they scratch for food amongst the grasses and pine needles on the forest floor.


On our hike around the Dees nature trail today, I decided to take a picture of one of the signs. (click to enlarge)  Headquarters is located in the bottom left, and you can see the bayou to the left where the RV pads are located.  That’s where I’ll launch my inflatable to try to paddle up to Grasshopper Point.

IMG_9488 IMG_9487

I’m waiting for the winds to calm and the temps to rise a bit, after the latest cold front, to give this a try.  Emma, with her wild ways and dislike of water, will NOT accompany me on those paddles.  Thumbs down


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


  1. Those finches have the most beautiful wings. Why are they called "gold"finches? Neat sign. A beautiful thought to learn from nature. If only we would take more time to listen.

  2. Love that sign! Raccoons can be quite aggravating. They are one animal I try to avoid but it is not always easy. We haven't had any this year but we normally have several who do damage. I fear for my dogs when the raccoons come around. Great bird photos, as always.

  3. I love that sign!!!
    I am anxiously awaiting the return of the goldfinches here. Still have Spotted Towhees hanging around and several Dark-eyed Juncos but they will be gone soon.
    The only trouble I have with raccoons is with my pond, it's the black bear wrecks my feeders and their hooks.

  4. I've had no end of troubles with squirrels invading bird feeders, but I don't think the raccoons ever got into the act. I don't think there is a way to keep them out if they are really determined. I finally gave up when I found a squirrel hanging to my hummingbird feeder and trying to get the nectar!

  5. Raccoons are opportunists. They can't read the little "birds only" sign.

    Good thng they are not bears.

  6. love the thought from the sign ~ while trying to do just that today we had to overhear Spanish being yelled for a photo and a French? couple having an argument...

    I hope Emma was listening!

    those raccoons certainly look like they could bend over a pole! they must hit every bird feeder within a 10 mile radius every night!

  7. It's great that the birds figured out the dining schedule! I love racoons but they sure can be a pain in the bum!

  8. What great pictures of the beautiful American goldfinches. Love the message of the "Go Forth..." sign.

  9. Squirrels, Racoons & bird feeders just don't mix. Back home in Bayfield it is the numerous Squirrels that I have the biggerst problem with at our many bird feeders. In fact I imagine I will be starting my annual battle with them in another month or so. They always seem to outsmart me by coming up with clever ways of foiling my best anti-squirrel methods. And I should add that no Squirrels or Humans have been injured in these various ways to outsmart the little furry rascals.

  10. The past few mornings we have awakened to birds chirping at the sunrise..finally! ..and the purple finches are here...but no Robins yet!

  11. Great post & pics -- love the sign...makes me want to know more about birds & take a walk in the woods:)

  12. That sign says it all. I need to post it in my brain and heed its message.

  13. Perfect sign. Too bad raccoons can't read.

  14. Loved the sign in first picture, and all the bird pics too.

  15. Raccoons are strong little devils. They picked up a full propane tank in our back yard and tossed it aside.

    Once the weather warms enjoy your trip up the river.