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Borrego Springs, CA

Friday, April 4, 2014

No cow news tonight ;)

Horror of horrors, I had to set my alarm last night so I could get up at six in the morning.  Ugh!  It’s still pitch black outside at that time!  I was tasked with opening the new VIS by eight, and since it’s 20 miles from where I’m at in Winnie I needed time to get ready and get there.   Emma was a little stunned to be outside so early too, and she wasn’t out there long.  Thunder, lightening, and some rain commenced, so she was back inside shaking her paws off while I got ready to go.

Stephanie had asked if I’d rather open the VIS for the morning or teach 100 first graders that were coming for a visit.  I chose the VIS.  If it were 100 7-12th graders, I would have chosen that, but six year olds?  NosireeBob!  (I will be teaching about 400 5th graders about bird banding in a week or so, but they’re a bit bigger.)

Anyway, it all turned out for naught as Steph called me as I approached the refuge to tell me that the school had cancelled.  I decided to go ahead and open the VIS anyway since the regular Friday volunteers would be a little late in arriving.  This was my first time in several years opening this VIS, and as expected the computer that runs the cash register program gave me a few fits.  I eventually got it up and running just as Colin and Denise came in to take over.

IMG_6481Since I was already on the refuge, I decided to drive around to see what I could see before going back home.  This young white-tailed hawk posed for a few minutes.  I’m thinking it just finished its breakfast because if you look very closely, there is still fresh blood on its talons and beak.

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It moved on pretty quickly though.  We were all hoping that the front that moved through with strong northerly winds at dawn might cause a bird fall out on the refuge.  The winds have been strong from the south in recent days, and an ideal aid to those neo-tropical migrants that are making their way across the Gulf of Mexico.  Some fly over the water for 24 hours or more before reaching the Texas coast.  If a strong front from the north arrives as they near the coast, it knocks them down exhausted out of the skies.  That’s what a fall out is.

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Conditions weren’t exactly right I guess, and no fall out materialized.  That doesn’t mean that migrants aren’t trickling in anyway.  I found my first whimbrel of the year out at Frozen Point.  The Eastern kingbirds and swallow-tailed kites have also arrived.

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I stopped at Jackson’s Woodlot on the way back from the bay just to see if anything was happening.  There were lots of yellow-rumped warblers ticking about.  This woodlot can be a wonderful place if there’s a fall out.  With so much of the refuge being a marsh, the little warblers land in the nearest trees available after their journey across the water.

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An Eastern phoebe also stopped by, but not much else was around.  This woodlot is kind of a spring time barometer.  If it’s loaded with birds, than other places will be too. 

IMG_6530I had a brief look at a crested caracara on the way home, but it too took flight.  I suppose that’s what birds do best… use their wings!  With that said, I’m out of here for tonight.

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Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

16 comments:

  1. Will the 7th graders have a "hands-on" lesson in banding birds? Truth is, I like about any age kids, but the little ones are much harder to keep their attention for very long. I'd love to attend one of your group lessons... there's so much to learn!

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  2. 6 am is mighty early this time of year. That's still dark o'clock. Hope that bird fall out happens.

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  3. always so, so interesting. . .I wonder if I'll ever know even half as many birds as you. . .I still hafta look everything up. . .love the pics!

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  4. Following your beautiful post and also Gay's lead me to High Island and the rookeries in the area. My husband and I had the best day today viewing the Egrets, Spoonbills and Cormorants!! I was so excited I could hardly take a photo, but take some I eventually did!! Lots! We visited Smith Oaks and the Boy Scout area and were delighted to meet some of the Houston Audubon Society folks. I saw two new birds today, the Louisiana Waterthrush and the Neotropical Cormorant. I thank you again for leading me to these beautiful places. We would like to make stopping here an annual event!

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  5. Do you have a nearby bird fallout shelter? ;c)

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  6. I don't blame Emma for not wanting to get out there to get er done. Good luck with the 7th graders.

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  7. I really enjoy the bird pictures today, especially the white-tailed hawk.

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  8. Wish I could join the banding class....what fun that would be!
    Beautiful bird pictures! The hawk is amazing!

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  9. I would choose opening the VC before teaching kids too. Wise decision and great photos.

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  10. Honestly, Paul taught 5th grade for awhile. Those kids are a great age. If you get a chance, do take the opportunity to lead that group. They are very interactive. I think you would enjoy some of their conversations...hehe

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  11. Fascinating blog, as always. Incredible pictures of the hawk...
    Jan

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  12. Our granddaughter taught first and second graders in the same classroom--I'd say she had her hands full--I think you opted for the better age group!

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  13. It's always amazing to see the great closeup photos you take of all the birds. It's even more amazing to see that you know the names of all of them.

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  14. Will the migrations have finished by the time you leave?

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  15. Love hearing about your days and the photos are like dessert!

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  16. Nice Post.Thanks for Sharing this in your Blog

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