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Borrego Springs, CA

Friday, November 8, 2013

Not a very pink day

After picking up the bird survey information that was stored at the RV pads on the refuge, I drove into the East Unit of the refuge to find the area that had a report of numerous roseate spoonbills.

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Donna, one of the other volunteers, asked if she could go along to see them.  I said, “Hop in!”  The area we were going to is closed to the public, and is about five miles back into the marsh.  There has been plenty of rain this year so the marsh is very wet with quite a few areas where the water covers the gravel road.

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As we neared a curve in the road, a family of river otters dashed across.  I came to a stop, and had a joyful time watching them go back and forth across the road.  I knew if I got too close, they would high tail it into the water.  I had to take this shot through the filthy windshield.  I don’t often see the otters on the refuge, so this was quite a thrill.

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As I inched forward and got out of the truck, they sure enough all dove into the water.  They splashed around for a minute or so before disappearing into the tall marsh grasses.  What a hoot!

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As we made our way closer to the intracoastal canal, we saw a dozen or so spoonbills here and there, but certainly not the numbers that were reported by staff yesterday.  That’s the trouble with birds.  They’ve got wings, and use them.

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All was not lost, though, as we saw thousands of American coots, and hundreds of other ducks taking advantage of the wetlands.  Close to the gravel road was also a nice flock of least sandpipers.  They are very small shorebirds.  I don’t believe the area we ended up in is open to hunting, and the birds seem to know it.  The number of waterfowl taken in the hunt here is merely a drop in the bucket compared to the number of wintering birds this refuge supports.

I would have spent more time driving around, but Donna needed to get back.  I don’t drive these back roads on hunt days, but I think I’ll be checking them out again on Monday.  You just never know what you’re going to see.

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When I made the decision to stay at the site in Winnie as opposed to the RV pads on the refuge, I figured I probably wouldn’t be seeing any of the cattle drives this year.  Today proved me wrong.  As I made my way back to the rig along FM 1985, I had to inch along behind this drive for about three miles.  Three miles per hour is about how fast these cattle walk along, so you can figure out how long those three miles took me.  I didn’t mind too much though.  Going that slow means that the deposited cow pies don’t splat all over your truck. Disappointed smile

It was a good morning on the refuge, and the encounter with the otters made my day.  In the afternoon, I welcomed my new neighbors as they set up next to me.  Tomorrow I’m working the hunt again.  I guess I’d better get to bed pretty soon.

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                                                                            THE END!!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

35 comments:

  1. I love watching river otters at play. They are just so frisky and playful. Nice large ending for todays post.

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  2. Wow! I have never seen more than one otter at a time. That is a lot of cattle butts:)

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  3. sounds like you had a wonderful day. otters are so cute and so playful.the spoonbills wings are pink rest of them is white, is this
    due to diet like a flamingo or is this their natural coloring?

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  4. That is a great "The End" picture! :-)

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  5. Love the otters. You are back in your element there at Anahauc

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  6. Love seeing those playful otters! You sure have to be quick to capture them in photos! Looks like you had a great day to me.

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  7. Great otter picture !
    Cattle drives right down the middle of the road...nothing like Texas :)

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  8. I love to watch otters. It's better to get a picture through a dirty window than not to get the picture at all.

    Too bad about the spoonbills. I don't think I would be able to work the hunt. Not for me.

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  9. I'll say it was a great day! Love the otters.....I have never seen any in the wild. Otters, spoonbills, sandpipers, ducks and a cattle drive make for a lot of excitement!

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  10. Sounds like a pretty good day.
    Your cattle drive pictures bring back memories of Malheur. In eastern OR, we were told they expect you to work your way through the cattle instead of driving behind them or waiting for the drive to pass you. If you don't move on through, you're considered something of a greenhorn, I guess.
    It's faster to move on through, but can be kind of nerve-wracking. The adults know how to get out of the way on the side of the road, but the little ones are likely to go anywhere looking for mom.

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  11. I am not sure if I have ever seen otters out of the water. Cool picture.

    Looks like a huge cattle drive, but I am afraid Paul would have lost his religion if we had to follow them for three miles.

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  12. The otters are so cute and playful. The spoonbill is an interesting looking bird. Looks like it would be hard for them to eat. Enjoy the weekend.

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  13. It was great to see the picture of the otters. You do have some wonder experiences.

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  14. I don't think I've ever seen a river otter--cool photos!

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  15. Not sure which I would have loved more the otters or the spoonbills. Window or not, those are great pictures of one of my very favorite water creatures. LOVE those otters. You do have some fine experiences!

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  16. How rude of the spoonbills to fly off. Didn't they know you were coming? ;-)

    Great "The End" picture!

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  17. Once we had to follow (not closely, either!) a Montana cattle drive in our motor home with its "grass skirt." From there we set up camp with no hookups, and guess what dried all over the skirt? It took Jimmy months to wash the manure off that skirt!

    Love the photos!

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  18. Wow, that's a happening place! I'd love to see it someday.

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  19. love otters! I squeal like a three year old when I see one out in the wild… I was walking along somewhere … a couple had an otter on a leash with a red bandana… hilarious cute little toot but to see them in their own habitat… wow

    don't like the crab … hope you change that picture soon … the picture is large and it scares me… yes, it scares me.

    HAaaa I love opening Sandie's blog with the girls right in my face… just kills me. Put a big ol nose picture of Emma for yer cover picture OR an otter… ooooo

    That's a lot of cows on the road … you had to just .. well? they ought to have a cattle crossing sign like a RR sign so you could detour… HAHaaa three miles of cow tails… that's funny

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    1. My guess is that the otter on a leash was probably not an otter but was a ferret. They are from the same 'family' but otters are not known to make good pets whereas ferrets do.

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  20. Wow. I've never seen a wild otter and had no idea that they were in that area. What a treat!

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  21. Beautiful photos of wildlife and birds. And, I love the cattle drive - a good, old-fashioned process we don't see very often these days.

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  22. Never seen river otter out of the waters.how cool. It's kind of nerat being behind a "cattle drive"m they move ever so slowly. Glad you had a great day!

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  23. How fun that you got to see the river otters out of the water! My kind of day, how can you possibly call that work, right? I always seem to get to the comments party late but I just had to let you know I loved this post.

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  24. I love the shots of the Otters, I love them. That would have also made my day.

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  25. Fun to see the Otters and the cattle too! That is some kinda traffic jam! Snowed here last night and today:(

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  26. Your first photo shows how marsh grasses can keep the water clear by filtering out stuff. Nice blog and photos as usual.

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  27. Not a very "pink" day, but a very rewarding one in many other ways! I love when those Roseate Spoonbills do fly , you can really see the pink in their wings then! It's neat to have water birds, otters and a cattle drive all within a few miles. That's what we love about Texas...every kind of terrain, climate and critter in one big state!

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  28. OMG - I love today's photos! You're so fortunate to see all these creatures, big and small. Thanks for taking me along! :)

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  29. That was a lot of "The End" shots with all that cattle. Glad you were able to dodge the cow pies... :cD

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  30. Cowboys and otters - does it get any better?

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  31. Love the otters and the cattle drive. I just missed it the day I visited you.

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