I worked the hunt yesterday morning, but didn’t take any pictures since I figured very few readers would want to see them. This weekend mottled ducks were legal to take. They weren’t last weekend, and four $500 fines were given out to hunters that didn’t know any better. In flight, mottled ducks look very similar to mallards, and inexperienced hunters just shoot rather than letting the birds go. Mottled ducks are a resident species that are in decline, so that’s the reason their hunt season is shortened.
All mottled ducks taken on the refuge during their season are under a study. With the hunter’s permission, we take one wing and the gizzard of each mottled duck that is shot. The wing is used for aging purposes, and the gizzard is studied to see if any lead is detectable. Many birds consume little rocks to aid the gizzard in digestion. The gizzard and stones grind up what they eat. Being dabbling ducks, mottled ducks often ingest lead shot which can effect their survival rate. That is the reason for the study to test lead levels to see if that is one of the reasons for their decline.
I haven’t been involved in anything like this before, and have so far declined to take the gizzard out of the birds. I’ve simply done the paper work for each collection. In order to get the gizzard, you have to cut the lower belly of the bird, and reach in with your hand to extract it. I found the odor that comes from these birds when you cut them open almost overwhelming. I can’t describe the smell, but it took almost 24 hours for me to get the smell out of my nostrils. Those are the pictures that I thought not too many people would be interested in.
Today my plan was to stay home and do things like laundry and rig cleaning. I got the laundry done, but then my tendency to procrastinate about house work kicked in, and I decided to do some shopping in Baytown instead. I’ll get to why I went to Baytown in a bit.
On the way back, I stopped at the relatively new Anahuac NWR visitors center that is located only two miles off of I-10. That’s where the headquarters for the Chenier Plain National Wildlife Refuge Complex is located as well as the visitors center. Anahuac is just one of the refuges in the complex.
There’s a half mile round trip trail and boardwalk through a cypress swamp behind the visitors center. It was a warm sunny day, so I took the trail down to an overlook of Anahuac Lake.
It’s a very nice walk through the cypress. Cypress are the only cone bearing trees that lose their needles (leaves) each fall. What’s left are their cones. There was a lovely fragrance of pine all along the trail.
I was not alone on the trail. Appropriately, there were plenty of turtles out sunning themselves as I walked along Turtle Bayou, and several little lizards on the boardwalk.
I’m back in the land of Spanish moss as well.
Over the last several years, I’ve often wished I had some sort of a blender. More recently, I’ve wanted to make some fruit smoothies. It’s hard to do that without a blender. So today I decided it was time to get one. It sure beats vacuuming.
What I ended up with is the “Magic Bullet”. Supposedly, I will be able to make wonderful creations in 10 seconds or less. We’ll see how that comes out. Of course, I have to first wash everything in warm soapy water before using. I’m thinking there are some fruit smoothies and chocolate malts in my near future. I guess I’ll have to stay home tomorrow and do some vacuuming…
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy