The weather the last three days has been rather icky, so I’ve pretty much been rig bound. I’ll be leading a tour for 29 visiting seniors on Monday, so this morning I headed into headquarters to get some things ready. That didn’t take much time, so I went along for a bit with a Texas forest specialist as he helped us identify different tree species along the trail outside the Visitors Center at headquarters. The plan is to put up identification signs with info on the different species. Even though I only had 15 minutes, it was very educational. This guy really knew his trees!
I had to dash off for my last physical therapy appointment for my shoulder. Thankfully, my shoulder is as good as new without surgery, and I am ecstatic. Why the horrible pain rather suddenly went away, I’ll never know. At this point, I don’t care why, I’m just glad it did. The therapist gave me one of those rubbery/stretchy type things to take with me so I can continue the exercises on my own. I’m still doing some of those hip exercises every evening, so now I’ll just add my shoulders to the routine.
Afterwards, I headed to the refuge to take a drive around Shoveler Pond to see what was around in preparation for Monday’s tour. The usual suspects were there … coots, moorhens, blue-winged teals, and egrets. One pair of Canvasback ducks was paddling away, and that was notable. They’re not terribly common here.
It was overcast, cold (in the 30’s), and windy. I thought about just going home, but decided to press on and pick up litter on some of the other refuge roads. Despite the weather, I still need to get in my 24 hours each week. I’m sure glad I did, as there was a real treat in store for me.
Sitting on a post along the road to Frozen Point was a short-eared owl. What a hoot! These owls usually are most active at dusk and dawn, and otherwise are quite elusive. With the coming rain and dark skies, it certainly simulated dusk.
Did you know that the ears in owls are asymmetrical? That means the ear opening on one side of their head is higher than the opening on the other side. This lopsidedness along with the concave feathered facial disks directs all sounds to the ears, and allows them to hunt solely by sound. Pretty amazing to me.
This owl breeds here and makes its nest in the marsh, not in a tree. The number of eggs it lays is also dependent on the abundance of prey. The more mice and other rodents, birds, and bugs around, the more eggs they lay. I really like the coloring of their feathers. Even the backs of their heads are beautiful. And get a load of those talons! They don’t ever need a pedicure.
Later, I made plans with another volunteer to have her accompany me on my bird survey on Sunday. The weather is supposed to improve by then so we should have good viewing conditions. It will also be nice to have someone do the recording as I count all those ducks and shorebirds.
Well, it’s about time to watch the opening ceremonies for the Winter Olympics, so I’ll close for tonight.
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy