After making the decision Monday night not to do the duck banding exercise scheduled for Tuesday, it was cancelled because of the threat of an ice storm. It turned out the ice missed Winnie, but not by much. The banding was on again for this morning, but once again I decided to give it a pass. Three brave volunteer souls decided to go, and left a little after five this morning. I chose not to go because of the low temperatures, and I knew I’d feel like I was freezing to death.
I spoke with a couple of them when they finally got home twelve hours later, and was glad I made the decision I did. They only captured 21 ducks, and it was a very chilly experience. I have also decided to forego tomorrow’s expedition for the same reasons.
Instead, I decided to do the weekly waterbird survey on the refuge. At least I’d be in a heated truck to do that. I was able to get a few pictures of a couple of the shorebirds that are here right now. Like its name implies, the least sandpiper is a little dude only six inches long.
The least sandpiper looks tiny next to these dowitchers.
Fellow volunteer, Lynn, came along with me to do the recording as I counted off the birds. It takes us just about all day to do the surveys since you know we have to stop along the way to look at what ever we see like otters, and coyotes, and a discussion of whether or not these are long billed or short billed dowitchers. For this survey, I don’t particularly care. The most reliable way to tell these two species apart is by their call, and they weren’t talking today.
It’s very interesting to me to watch the variance in the numbers and species of waterfowl that I count week by week. I had not one goose on today’s count while just a couple of weeks ago I had thousands. Today, the most populous duck seemed to be the gadwall. I’m not counting ducks by the hundreds or thousands any longer, but there are still lots of them here scattered around. Regardless of what the present weather is like, they seem to know it’s time to move on. The urge to mate is calling them north. I can’t imagine that they are getting very far with the continuing storms, but Mother Nature is sounding a powerful call.
In the meantime, I’ve been checking on a couple of refuges in Arizona for possibilities for next winter. I’m not sure what will happen there. When I got back home late this afternoon, the rig was filled with the aroma of homemade chicken noodle soup emanating from the crock pot. It was the perfect dinner for a cold dreary day, and since I don’t know how to make chicken noodle soup for one, I’ll be enjoying it on four more days in the future.
As I write this post tonight, there is a cold rain once again outside. Sometimes it seems like this crappola weather is never going to end. I’m not sure what I’m going to do tomorrow. I guess I’ll just have to see what the day brings my way.
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy