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Borrego Springs, CA

Thursday, November 17, 2011

An unwelcome assignment

I got a call from Stephanie, the volunteer coordinator, last night asking if I was up to helping them out at headquarters this afternoon.  As understanding as she has been, I couldn’t say no.  So, I spent about five hours sitting at a desk answering all the incoming calls to the refuge.  That was about the limit for my back.  Doing office work ranks at the very bottom of what I like to do as a volunteer.  I learned very early in my retirement volunteering career that I’ll never knowingly sign up for office work.  It’s just not my cup of tea.

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The new headquarters, located on Lake Anahuac, is gorgeous.  I posted some pictures from the pond located behind the building a couple of weeks ago. 

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I took a break midway through my stint, and decided to walk the trail down to the lake.

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Wasn’t sure I’d be able to do the whole thing, but it turned out my back cooperated.  There is a wonderful boardwalk that goes down to the lake edge.

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The boardwalk meanders through a cypress swamp.  It is very peaceful, and today there weren’t the hordes of mosquitoes attacking that there were a couple of weeks ago when I tried to take this walk.  I could see that I would want to take this enjoyable walk again.

_MG_4011I thought I was going to get a good shot of a pileated woodpecker, but the darn branch got in the way of his head.   By the time I inched forward to avoid the branch, the bird had taken flight.  Shucks!  You can see that the cypress are draped with Spanish moss.  What a delightful 1/2 mile round trip walk this is.

I survived my time in the office, but I’d much prefer to be picking up litter along the refuge roads and spend my time outdoors.  I’ll be doing that some time before my stint in the VIS on Sunday.

On a totally different topic, have any of you heard of star parties?  I think it’s where an astronomical club camps out to watch the heavens, but I’m not sure.  Has anyone done this?

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

26 comments:

  1. Its good to hear you starting to be yourself. I am so glad you are feeling better. Too bad about the pileated, they are hard to get a good shot of. Better luck next time.

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  2. I'm like you, I would rather be outside than in an office. I love the pic of the pileated woodpecker...nice capture!

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  3. As the woodpecker went . . . so go many of my bird photos. At least you got to see him, and so did we. You're in a marvelous place and, as you say, they have been very understanding of your situation, so a few hours of office work is a small price to pay. I'm glad to hear your back is doing better every day.

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  4. I've not only heard of star parties but I've been to them. They are lots of fun, and usually the entire family is welcome. Several state parks in our area offer them, and they are also offered at Portland's Science Museum (OMSI). Go for it!

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  5. I managed to get a pretty good pic of that pileated woodpecker at Sam Houston State Park in Louisiana a couple years ago...They are awesome!

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  6. Bonnie and Mike (MD)November 17, 2011 at 7:34 PM

    Our local nature center in a county park here in Maryland has a star party once a month. The local astronomy club brings scopes and its members serve as guides for those who attend - it is especially popular with scout groups.

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  7. Did a couple of star parties at the Ranch 2 months ago. Mainly looking for satellites that were passing overhead. Interesting.

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  8. Sitting is hard on the back that's for sure. Walking is much better. Glad you got to do some of the latter. Looks like a lovely walk.

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  9. Star party? No, but Craig and I have spent many summer nights enjoying the stars together.

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  10. I saw the Pileated Woodpecker kids when they first fledged, way back in the summer. Glad to see they are still around. Does the cypress swamp have water now?

    And yes, star parties are exactly what you said. I went to one in the Santa Fe area once.

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  11. Oh yes, I forgot to tell you that I had another really onerous day of work. I had to pick up some paper towels and cups and deliver them, then sweep off the viewing deck before having to go over to Butte Sink Farm, a normally closed place and enjoy looking at ducks and getting pictures of the Sutter Buttes. You would definitely love this place. But you do have to work 3 - 4 hours a day in the Visitor Center - at least once or twice a week.

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  12. And I would prefer the office work. That's one of the reasons I enjoy your blog so much is because it shows me the outdoors in a way that I could never appreciate it.

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  13. Glad your back is improving. Hope you don't get stuck in the office too often.

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  14. We attended a Star Party at the McDonald Observatory at Fort Davis in Texas years ago. I like things like that because they are educational and you come away with new knowledge in your head. If you attend one be sure to dress very warmly because you will be outside under clear and probably cold skys. When we lived in the old farm house years ago we had a few Star Parties for our aging relatives. A nice campfire with a telescope set up and I was able to take folks on a tour of the night sky showing them all the constellations, etc.

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  15. I never heard of star parties, but at one campground here in Florida we saw a group of star gazers. Maybe that's what they were.

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  16. Glad you're about to be out and about. Whenever my back is acting up, I find it actually helps to walk a little every day. Warms and limbers up those muscles back there, I guess.

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  17. I am always impressed with the boardwalks built in many NWRs. Makes it so nice walking in places that one would not normally be able.

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  18. I'm with you, just get me outside and I'm a happy camper.

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  19. I'm thinking an occasional day at the desk beats paying for hook-ups and the mid-shift walk was probably gret for your back.

    I don't know if you follow them but Ayo and Yair, two full timers who blog at http://ourtakeonfreedom.wordpress.com/, run an on the road astronomy project. Maybe they have info on star parties!

    http://astroontheroad.wordpress.com/

    Cyndi & Stumpy @ RVly Ever After

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  20. I thought star parties were a Hollywood thing!

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  21. Oh Judy, your photos make me want to pack up and run away in my RV again! (#1 because I'm a gypsy .... #2 to avoid knee surgery) but know I have to stay the course so to speak. I can almost "feel" the place you are volunteering at through those pictures!

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  22. We went to a star party when we were up at Glacier National park... A fun thing to do! I would not like a inside job either.
    Have fun & Travel safe
    Donna

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  23. I'm with Sandie; I'm an indoor person who loves the way you introduce us to the outdoors. Thanks.

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  24. George Stoltz said

    Back pain has a way of making us pay more attention to what we do physically -- especially to help reduce pain. I find that walking 3 miles really helps.

    This spring we were in an RV park where a Pileated Woodpecker was infatuated with his image in an RV window that was more of a mirror than a window. It was too funny.

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  25. Those woodpeckers are elusive when it comes to camera's. I can never seem to get a good picture.

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