I headed out this morning to do the weekly waterbird surveys. For a change, the skies were bright and sunny, and the very high winds of yesterday had abated. I picked up Lynn at the volunteer village, and we got started on the surveys. It turns out that of the seven sites I survey, I have to look directly east at four of the sites.
Normally this isn’t a problem, but couple a sunny day with day-light savings time, and that means I was staring directly into the sun with the scope. The result is that all the birds look black, and it’s a challenge to identify them. Since, as volunteers, this was the only thing on our schedules for the day, we decided to change plans.
We surveyed the three sites where we didn’t have to look to the east, and then slowly made our way down to Frozen Point on Galveston Bay to take a leisurely lunch. Because of the beautiful weather, we were able to literally dine on the tail gate of the truck and watch the bird life go by. I’ve got to tell you that this volunteering stuff is tough all right.
We had nice bunches of black-necked stilts in several of the sites today. I just get a real kick out of seeing these ‘tuxedo’ birds. They have such long pinkish legs. Many of them will soon be nesting here on the refuge.
A lone female Canvasback on Shoveler Pond
After that lunch, the sun had gone past midway so we could get back and do two of the east facing sites. There were two more on the agenda, but alas, we were stymied again. The guys were doing water salinity testing in the Alice Jackson White area, so we had to wait. It’s a one lane gravel road through this back area of the refuge, and you really don’t want to meet another vehicle going the opposite direction on it. If you try to pull over you’ll end up stuck in the wet marsh.
So Lynn and I headed down to the boat launch area on the bay to kill about 45 minutes. We looked for periwinkle snails along the bay’s shore, but it’s probably too early in the year for them to be out and about. Like I said, it’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it. Eventually we finished the surveys, and another great day on the refuge was done.
Tomorrow, I think I’ll go in to headquarters and ask Stephanie about getting the grass mowed here at the Winnie site. It really is getting too long. Emma may be a wild child, but she is rather picky about where she does her business, and long grass just isn’t to her liking. It also gives me a pain in the neck to try to wade through that stuff looking for her deposits. It isn’t pretty trying to get those bombs picked up that are so entangled!
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy