The wind had quit by the time I got up this morning to temps in the high 20’s. Brrr! I kept the water faucet dripping overnight, so my water didn’t freeze, but it sure was chilly when I took Emma for her first outs. It wasn’t long before I was on my way to do my bird surveys.
As I approached one of my survey areas, there was a sudden ‘snow’ squall of geese. Snow geese, that is. They were just outside my count area, but I stopped the truck to enjoy the sights and sounds.
The sky was filled with them! I finished three of my survey areas, and the geese were still hanging around as I exited that area. I hurried back to the VIS to pick up fellow volunteer Terry. She has been wanting to see the geese, and every time she goes looking, they are somewhere else. Darn birds, they do have wings.
She hopped in the truck, and we headed back to find them in one of the areas that are closed to the public. I had previous permission to take other volunteers into this closed area with me. That would prove important a little while later. Also keep in mind that each of these shots just shows a very small portion of the huge flock of snow geese. Do you see all those goose heads still in the marsh that didn’t take off?
My first fiddlesticks moment of the day came right here when I got the truck stuck in the mud trying to back out of a pull off space to see the geese. I think I might have used a phrase a little stronger than ‘Oh Fiddlesticks’ when that happened. No volunteer wants to get stuck and have to call for help to get pulled out. Especially at this time of the year when most staff are using up their last vacation days and no one is around to help. Other volunteers would certainly come to my rescue, but then they, rightly, never let you forget about it either.
Luckily, I had a shovel in the back of the truck and Terry dug up some dry gravel while I put the truck into what I thought was four wheel drive. This is an old truck and it’s gear stops are worn down and hard to read. We were successful, and saved further embarrassment.
As I drove Terry back to the VIS, a vehicle flagged us down and a man asked if I was Judy. I said yes, and he then explained that he was from the CBS Sunday Morning News crew, and had been told by Terry’s husband, Bob, that I knew where the geese were. If any of you watch CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood, you know that each weekly program has a wonderful wildlife video for the five minutes or so at the end. Well, that’s what they were here to record, and they wanted me to guide them to the geese!
On the spot, I told them that I would have to take Terry back to the VIS and would then come back for them as they would have to be in my vehicle. They were good with that. As I neared the VIS, the truck began acting up and became un-drivable. Ach! I also got that feeling in the pit of my stomach that maybe I’d better check with someone about doing this. As I voiced this feeling to Terry, she said, “It’s always best to CYA” (cover your a$$). After all, it would be going into a closed, protected area, and I sure wouldn’t want to get ‘canned’ for taking the public into a closed area. That could certainly happen if the footage ended up on national TV. I ended up calling the refuge complex manager, and he said CBS would have to have a special use permit in order to be allowed into a closed area with me.
After borrowing Terry and Bob’s vehicle, I returned to the CBS guys and explained about the permit. I told them that a call to the complex manager would probably be all that was needed, but they declined doing that and got footage on the public access roads instead.
So I’ll be watching the CBS Sunday Morning program in the near future to see if Anahuac is featured. But, ‘Oh Fiddlesticks’, I sure would have liked to have shown them our geese and watch and see how these segments are made.
By the way, Bob fiddled with that four wheel drive shifter thing, and eventually got it back to a point where I could safely drive the truck again. All seems well with it, and after finishing the last three of my survey areas, I headed for home.
I’m keeping my eye on you!
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy