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Borrego Springs, CA

Friday, November 1, 2013

Getting back in the groove

We had well over 3” of rain yesterday, and Emma and I were trapped in the rig for the day.  The sun was shining this morning, so I was itching to get out on the refuge.  In order to do that, I had to find myself a refuge vehicle to drive.  So, I found a Chevy truck that the interns had used this summer.  Like many interns, they had pretty much trashed it, but it didn’t take me too long to clean out all their garbage that they left, and I was soon on the road.

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                                               Pied-billed grebe… can you dig those lobed toes?

Since I haven’t been here in two years, I decided the first order of business was to reacquaint myself with any changes that had gone on since my last stint here.  The auto tour route around Shoveler Pond has been paved, but the new Visitor’s Information Station (VIS) still hasn’t been completed.  It’s been five years since hurricane Ike wiped out the old one, but there have been lots of problems and delays with getting the new one built.  It may even open this December.

IMG_4682Neotropic cormorant. IMG_4685

After taking care of some paper work with Stephanie, I headed out around the pond to see what I could find.  One of the reasons Stephanie is happy to have me here is that she says I’m low maintenance.  I saved her quite a bit of time today by finding my own vehicle, and getting it checked out.  One of her coworkers left Fish and Wildlife for a different job, so due to the sequestration business, she now has to do both jobs.  If I can take a little stress off of her, I’m happy to do that.

IMG_4730 IMG_4731Roseate spoonbill.

One of my treats on my trip around Shoveler Pond was to see this roseate spoonbill.  I just love their specialized bill for straining little shrimp and the like out of the marsh waters.

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I was a little surprised to find this juvenile yellow-crowned night heron willing to pose for me.  I’ve seen lots of black-crowned night herons at Anahuac, but this is the first yellow-crowned I’ve seen in my six different assignments here.  Very nice.  I’ll be starting my official bird surveys in about two weeks, so I need to get out and about to sharpen up my skills.  I know some of you readers have been in bird picture withdrawal, so that’s another reason I was out clicking away today.  Winking smile

The only problem I had today was that the seat on this truck has kind of sunk down, and can’t be raised up.  It’s no secret that volunteers are generally assigned those vehicles that can perhaps be best described as senior vehicle fleet members… aka: close to being worn out.  With a sagging seat, I’m the proverbial little old granny Q-tip behind the wheel staring through the middle of the steering wheel.  Can you picture that?  Well I’ve come up with a solution.  When I got home, I dug out one of those square Personal Floatation Devices that people sit on in canoes.  I usually use it at picnic tables so I don’t feel like a little kid sitting there.  Between the 2” boost up, and lowering the steering wheel, I feel like I own this new ride!  Open-mouthed smile

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Can’t leave you tonight without a pic of this so typical resident of Anahuac NWR.  I guess I’m back to the land of alligators, fire ants, and Blue Bell Ice Cream!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

33 comments:

  1. Good to see a gator on your post again!

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  2. I first saw the Roseate Spoonbill at Goose Island State Park in Fulton Tx...they are now one of my favorite water birds...ugly as Hell, but pretty and colorful...

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  3. Looks like you are back in your element. Great pictures to start out with.

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  4. Love the spoonbill pics. The flotation device is a great idea for a cushion for the truck.

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  5. It's great to see things going your way. Like you never left Anahuac. Awesome pictures as usual.

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  6. Those PFD's will save you a trip to Manhattan for a copy of their phone book. Glad to see your back in your element and looking forward to the pictures that will ensue.

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  7. I can just see you looking through the steering wheel:)

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  8. I admire you Emma and all that you do. I am enjoying the birds here at Lake Kissimmee State Park and maybe one of these days I will take as good of pictures as you do. Have a good winter!
    Maureen

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  9. How is it that we start are driving career's propped up on a pillow to be tall enough to drive. And later in life....it's back with the pillow again. LOL Glad to see you back to bird duty... I've missed your daily infusion of critters!

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  10. The grebe's reflection in the water makes a terrific photo. So how is a VIS different from a VC? I've always loved working on my own, so do my best to become "low maintenance" quickly. Any employee or volunteer is much more valuable if they don't need hand holding all the time. Good for you!

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  11. Love the pictures already. Can't wait to see what other birds you snap.

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  12. So excited to see bird pictures again. Thank goodness I've had Barbara's so really no withdrawal. Off and running - best way to be.

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  13. Bill & I often discuss the advantages (and disadvantages) of returning to a refuge for a 2nd (or more) season. Sounds like you're experiencing all the advantages this time... good for you!

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  14. Gators and Blue Bell - great! Fire Ants - not so much.

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  15. I looked and looked for spoonbills while we were in Texas--but no luck. Great bird shots--you sound so happy to be back!

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  16. Well you are definitely at it already. That's a fabulous pictureof the pied billed grebe, I've never seen those feet and the feather spread of the cormorant. You surely do take fine bird pictures Ms.Birdlady.

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  17. Oh my, Leonard's idea of heaven - Blue Bell Ice Cream. The other day here near Little Rock I saw soaring overhead what I first thought might be Snow Geese, but no formation. Then I remembered - Judy told me they were Pelicans. Thanks Judy! You taught me well.

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  18. Oh boy! Blue Bell! That will make the winter go by nicely :)

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  19. That cormorant has a very interesting tail. Pretty cool.
    Very clever with the floating device.
    We may have to take a trip over to Anahuac NWR. Looks so lovely.

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  20. Great photos. Can live without the alligators and fire ants...but Blue Bell Ice Cream? Now you're living!

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  21. Glad you got a new ride and had a sunny day to enjoy the area.

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  22. Great pictures as usual. #3 inches of rain, you may need that personal flotation cushion for something else. Keep it close.

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  23. got quite a chuckle out of the QTip analogy. . . and I concur with the land of alligators, fire ants, and Blue Bell. . .gotta love it!

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  24. I am going to love this new place! You have fabulous birds there, love the photos! Funny truck driving images. :)

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  25. Do the gators like Blue Bell ice cream, too? Maybe you should share...

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  26. Your descriptions and photos are so wonderful. I used to spend a lot of time at Anahuac birding back before they had volunteers, and any facilities. Thanks for your work!

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  27. Pretty birds, I know lots of people really have to look for the Rosate Spoonbills. You are surround by beautiful birds but that alligator..uffda:(

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  28. Oh goodie, I WAS in bird picture withdrawal, but now I'm not. That grebe has chicken feet! Spoonbills are one of my favorites. Thanx for posting.

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  29. We welcome the return of gator photos

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  30. Nice post.Thank you for sharing this in Your blog.

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